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Lion Links

Lion Links: 10/18/17



Holy cow, it’s Thursday already. It feels like the week is flying by, but not to fear, because we’ve still got some fresh Lion Links ready to go for you today. But before we begin, we want to wish a special happy birthday to our favorite keeper from Cocoa, Ashlyn Harris! The Orlando Pride goalkeeper turns 32 today, and everyone here at The Mane Land sends only the warmest birthday wishes.

Remembering Kaká

That headline sounds a lot more morbid than intended but I feel like rolling with it. Bleacher Report put out an excellent piece reminding the world about Kaká, and how he was once the most dominant name in soccer around the world. Before Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the maestro in Milan dominated the game. This article gives you a great idea of how polarizing a player Kaká was while he was in the prime of his career with Milan, Madrid, and Brazil. MLS even put out this video documenting how big of an impact Kaká has had on the sport.

OCB…What is Going On?

So, as we reported in Lion Links yesterday, there were reports coming in that stated OCB would be out of the USL next year, and would likely cease operations. Other teams also rumored to be on the way out were Sounders 2, Whitecaps 2, and Bethlehem Steel. At this point we really don’t know what is going on, but we have gotten this report from Alicia DelGallo:

And then there was also this update from Bethlehem Steel:

So basically, there is a lot of information out there, and a lot of misinformation as well. But for now, until the club offers a comment, we will remain silent, while also be anxious, fearful, and hopeful, all at the same time.

OCB Announces Roster Cuts

We have even more OCB news for you today, and it’s stuff that is leaving us still pretty alarmed. Orlando City B has announced the release or expiration of 11 players from contracts including the likes of Austin Martz and former OCSC SuperDraft pick Danny Deakin, as well as Canadian National Team midfielder Jordan Schweitzer. OCB also noted that some contracts expired, including former first teamer Lewis Neal. This doesn’t leave many players for Orlando City B — just four 19-year-olds — which makes the news we reported previously even more disheartening. We don’t know where the future is right now for Anthony Pulis’ OCB side, so we will just have to wait and see.

Interesting Names in the Running for U.S. Soccer President

After the U.S. Men’s National Team crashed and burned out of World Cup qualifying last week, fans everywhere were hoping that heads would roll. So far we have seen a resignation from Bruce Arena. But the name everyone wants to see gone next is U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati. Gulati has said in interviews and conference calls that he has no plans to leave his post, but hasn’t commented with great certainty whether or not he will run for re-election in February. He’s merely said he’s seeking nomination support. Grant Wahl wrote yesterday that Landon Donovan is considering a run, meanwhile Bleacher Report wrote that NBC Sports anchor Kyle Martino will not put his hat in the race, due to his current job, his family, and that the position of U.S. Soccer Federation president is not a paid position. More in-depth analysis from Wahl can be found below:

Personally, I am a big fan of Martino, so it saddens me that he doesn’t think he can run, but he has a family to feed, so I at least I understand his reasoning.

Miami FC Co-Owner Still Talking About Promotion and Relegation in U.S. Soccer

Riccardo Silva is the co-owner of Miami FC, and quite possibly the biggest proponent for promotion and relegation being added to the U.S. Soccer system. As you may have heard back in June, Silva’s company offered Major League Soccer $4 billion in exchange for 10 years of global media rights with the deal being contingent on Pro/Rel being instituted in the United States. MLS turned down the offer — and had to, per their current contracts — and Silva has continued to have his opinions be known. As seen in his recent interview with ESPN’s Gabriele Marcotti. On why promotion and relegation needed to be included in the deal, Silva said:

“The most successful soccer leagues are based on competition. And that's what's probably missing in There is no motivation for teams to invest in quality because you can't move from the third division to the second or from the second to the first. We believe the increase in quality can be achieved from the bottom up, with teams investing in quality and we believe right now it's not really happening.”

Free Kicks

  • Steve Davis from FourFourTwo writes that MLS and U.S. Soccer are different, and you can’t blame MLS for the fact that the USMNT laid an egg. Have to agree with you on that one, Steve.
  • Former U.S. Soccer legend Claudio Reyna lashed out at U.S. Soccer following the World Cup qualifying debacle. He called U.S. Soccer “obnoxious” and “arrogant.” This is also really hard to argue with.
  • In “that’s really a thing?” news, PRO referees have announced their nominations for Referee and Assistant Referee of the Year. Personally, can’t say we think anyone is really too deserving, because PRO referees have been pretty bad throughout the course of MLS, but maybe Mark Geiger? He’s kinda okay.
  • In interesting roster news, it’s being reported Bill Hamid is leaving D.C. United. No news yet on where he plans to go. Where do you want to see Hamid end up?
  • Also, the Champions League was back this week! In case you missed all the results from yesterday, here ya go!

That’s all for me today, folks! Don’t worry or stress too much about the OCB stories right now, as all of us here at The Mane Land are worried and stressing enough for the entire city of Orlando. Fingers crossed the kids still get to play, that’s all I have left to say on the matter. Depressing news aside, I’ll leave you with a bad joke to get you through the rest of the day.

If you like inclusion of bad dad jokes, I’ll toss one in at the end of all my Lion Links going forward, just let me know in the comments!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/16/24

Nico Lodeiro earns recognition, Marta up for Goal of the Week, MLS stock watch, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you had a good weekend and got your taxes filed correctly and on time. It was a good weekend for Orlando soccer, as the Orlando Pride, Orlando City B, and Orlando City went undefeated and picked up seven of the nine points on offer. As always, we have a lot to talk through today. Before we get into today’s links, let’s all wish Luis Muriel a happy birthday!

Nico Lodeiro Makes Team of the Matchday Bench

Midfielder Nico Lodeiro has earned recognition for his part in Orlando City’s 3-2 win over D.C. United, making the bench of the latest edition MLS Team of the Matchday. The Uruguayan entered the fray in the 72nd minute and helped OCSC come back and take all three points. He took the corner kick that David Brekalo equalized from, (even though he was not initially credited with the assist) and provided an outstanding through ball for Duncan McGuire’s game-winner. Sean Rollins graded him a 6.5/10 and named him Man of the Match in his player grades as well. Here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Marta’s Goal Nominated

Marta’s game-winning strike during Friday’s contest against Utah Royals FC has been nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week. On the road and in the game as a substitute, it didn’t take long for the Brazilian to make her mark on the match. She was barely on the field for five minutes when she met a ball that was rolling across the box with a first-time strike that she powered in off the back post. It proved to be the game’s only goal and was enough to give the Pride their first win of the season. Make sure you vote for her to win this week’s honor!

MLS Stock Watch

The fortunes of Major League Soccer teams are in constant flux, and it’s always nice to keep track of how your enemies are doing. Former Lion Sacha Kljestan weighed in on which clubs’ stock went up and which went down after the weekend’s games. We start on a good note, as a resilient performance from Orlando City saw the good guys pick up their second win of the season. The LA Galaxy hammered the Vancouver Whitecaps by a score of 3-1, and proved that their place atop the Western Conference standings is no fluke. On the other side of the coin, Toronto FC has given up 10 goals in its last three matches, and Jon Herdman needs to find a way to keep things from getting worse until the Reds’ group of injured players can return to the field.

Americans in Midweek Action

There are two big matches featuring American players this week, so get them marked down on your calendar and don’t miss any of the action. Thursday sees Christian Pulisic, Yunus Musah, and AC Milan travel to the Italian capital to try to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit to Roma in the Europa League quarterfinals. Musah started Sunday’s match against Sassuolo and Pulisic subbed on in the second half as Milan clawed its way back to a 3-3 draw. Friday then has Juventus and Weston McKennie traveling to Cagliari for a Serie A tilt. Juve is currently third in the league and needs to keep picking up results to secure a UEFA Champions League place for next season.

UEFA Champions League Preview

Speaking of the Champions League, the quarterfinals wrap up today and tomorrow and there are a number of storylines to keep an eye on. Luis Enrique is strong in his belief that Paris Saint-Germain can overcome a 3-2 loss in the first leg to advance past Barcelona. Xavi has promised that Barca will look to attack rather than sitting and protecting its lead. Elsewhere, Bayern Munich will be without the suspended Alphonso Davies and likely Kingsley Coman due to injury, and their replacements will be hard pressed to contain Ben White and Bukayo Saka. Finally, Edin Terzic’s substitutions gave Borussia Dortmund a spark in the team’s 2-1 loss to Atletico Madrid in the first leg, which means the coach may have a selection headache on his hands as he tries to lead his side to a comeback.

Free Kicks

That’ll do it for me this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/15/24

Lions beat D.C. United, Pride pick up road win over Utah Royals, Barbra Banda arrives in Orlando, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. Orlando City and the Pride both won over the weekend, and there has been plenty of action in European soccer. Over the past week, I’ve been busy covering high school sports like lacrosse and softball. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Top D.C. United

Orlando City overturned a late 2-1 deficit to win 3-2 against D.C. United at Audi Field over the weekend. David Brekalo scored the equalizer in the second half to tie the match at 2-2. Duncan McGuire came off the bench in the second half and scored in stoppage time, as the Lions beat D.C. United for the first time since Oct. 2, 2021. The Lions were 0-3-1 against D.C. United over the last two seasons prior to Saturday’s win. Orlando has now picked up points in each of the last three matches. Orlando City will be on the road again this weekend when it takes on CF Montreal on Saturday.

Orlando Pride Defeat Utah Royals; Help Arrives

The Orlando Pride got their first win of the 2024 NWSL last Friday with a 1-0 against the Utah Royals. Marta came off the bench in the second half and scored the lone goal to seal the win for Orlando. The Pride drew each of their first three matches to start the season against Racing Louisville, Angel City FC, and the Chicago Red Stars. Friday’s result means the Pride have six points through four league matches and are fifth in the NWSL table.

Despite needing four matches to pick up their first win of the year, the Pride are ahead of last year’s pace at the same point in the season, and remain undefeated (1-0-3) despite still waiting to play with this off-season’s marquee signing, Zambian international striker Barbra Banda. The new Pride forward arrived on Sunday to a warm welcome at Orlando International Airport.

It will be interesting to see how quickly Seb Hines can get Banda acclimated to the club and the league. Orlando could use Banda’s offensive firepower, as the club has struggled to score goals in the early part of the season. The Pride will be back in action against the San Diego Wave this Friday.

Bayer Leverkusen wins Bundesliga; Manchester City Leads EPL Title Race

Bayer Leverkusen cruised to a 5-0 win against Werder Bremen on Sunday to win its first ever Bundesliga title with five league matches left to spare. Xabi Alonso’s side won the league title by a 16-point margin, ending Bayern Munich’s 11-year run as title holders. Leverkusen is also unbeaten through 43 matches across all competitions. Meanwhile, in England, we have a new Premier League title race leader as Manchester City crushed Luton Town 5-1 on Saturday. On Sunday, Arsenal lost 2-0 to Aston Villa and Liverpool lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace. There are six match days remaining and this race could go down to the wire. Manchester City is at the top of the table with 73 points, while Arsenal and Liverpool remain two points behind in second and third, respectively, with 71 points.

Free Kicks

  • Houston Dash winger Maria Sanchez has reportedly requested a trade four months after signing a record-breaking deal in NWSL history in the off-season to remain with the club.
  • Manchester United edged Chelsea 2-1 to beat the Blues for the first time ever. Making the win even bigger was that it took place in the Women’s FA Cup semifinal. United will play Tottenham in the final at Wembley on May 12.
  • The EFL Championship is three weeks away from its finale, with a few clubs featureing Americans still in the mix for promotion. Josh Sargent’s Norwich City side holds the final playoff spot, while Haji Wright’s Conventry and Duane Holmes’ Preston North End in the hunt for a shot at promotion.
  • The AS Roma versus Udinese match was suspended after defender Evan Ndicka collapsed away from play and had to be stretchered off. The game was tied at 1-1 with about 20 minutes remaining when Ndicka went down. The club shared this update on social media.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Monday, and I’ll see you next time.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/12/24

Orlando Pride play in Utah tonight, Orlando City B earns a point, Europa League quarterfinals begin, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Happy Friday! I hope this week has gone smoothly for you as we gear up for even more Orlando soccer tonight and tomorrow. It should be a nice next few days, even if I’m working for most of it. I don’t have many plans outside of work beyond bonding with my cat and trying a new stuffed bread recipe. Let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world!

Orlando Pride Play the Utah Royals Tonight

The Orlando Pride are on the road tonight for a showdown with the Utah Royals at 9:30 p.m., and you can catch the game on NWSL+ or through Bally Sports if you’re local. Although the Royals are an expansion team this year, the Pride last squared off against the previous Royals back in 2019, with Orlando losing all three games to Utah that season. This season, the Pride are riding a three-game unbeaten streak. However, they are also still on the hunt for their first win after three consecutive draws. While the offense awaits the arrival of Zambian striker Barbra Banda, the Pride have managed to score off of a set piece in each of their three games so far. While a draw on the road wouldn’t be awful by any means, hopefully the Pride can get a solid tally in the win column tonight.

Orlando City B Draws Philadelphia Union II

OCB went on the road to take on Philadelphia Union II and earned a single point after a 1-1 draw and penalty shootout. The two teams traded goals in the first half, but the Young Lions were on the back foot for most of the second half. While Orlando’s offense sputtered, the defense survived chance after chance from Philadelphia to send the game to a shootout. Orlando lost the lengthy shootout, 7-6, claiming just one point, but at least the Young Lions didn’t leave Pennsylvania empty handed. Hopefully OCB can return to its winning ways when it faces off with Crown Legacy FC on April 19.

New York City FC Stadium Plans Finally Approved

Plans to build a soccer-specific stadium in Queens for new grounds for New York City FC were approved by New York City officials. It will be a $780 million stadium expected to open in 2027 and serves as the centerpiece of a redevelopment project in the neighborhood. The 25,000-seat stadium will be right next to Citi Field, which has been one of the many home venues for NYCFC over the years since joining as an expansion side alongside Orlando City in 2015. It’s a bit wild that this stadium is set to open 10 years after Orlando christened its own soccer-specific stadium back in 2017. At least the Lions won’t have to play road games at baseball stadiums for much longer.

Europa League Quarterfinals Kick Off

The Europa League quarterfinals are underway, with the remaining eight teams squaring off in the first legs of their matchups. In England, Atalanta leaned on a brace from Gianluca Scamacca and stellar defense to win 3-0 against Liverpool. Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten streak stretched to 42 games after it beat West Ham United 2-0, thanks to a pair of late goals. The first match between Italian clubs AC Milan and Roma went to the visitors, as Roma scored early on and held on for a 1-0 win at San Siro. The only quarterfinal that wasn’t a shutout took place in Portugal, with Benfica beating Marseille, 2-1. The second legs will all take place at the same time next week, which should make for an exciting Thursday afternoon of soccer.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

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