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Lion Links: 10/26/17

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Welcome back to The Mane Land for another fresh batch of Lion Links. It’s Thursday and here in Florida we’ve finally gotten to feel a once forgotten feeling — cool weather! Oh, and the MLS playoffs have just kicked off, so we have some stuff to talk about! Let’s dive right in.

Larin Says He’s Ready for Europe

There’s been a lot of speculation about Cyle Larin for a long time and every transfer window the big question we get is whether the Canadian international will be leaving the City Beautiful. But that would have cost the club money before the end of this season, as the sale of the club’s first ever draft pick will now be worth more to Orlando City than before, due to league rules. And now, Larin says he’s ready for that move to Europe. Of course, the club still owns his rights and will still need to get an offer management feels is worthy of the Lions’ leading goal scorer.

Also embedded in the article linked above, it seems that despite GM Niki Budalic’s desire to re-sign Dom Dwyer after 2018, the Orlando City striker isn’t feeling too confident about a deal just yet.

“I’d like to be at this club, it’s something we’re trying to figure out, but I can’t say I’m so confident at it right now,” Dwyer said Saturday. “I’ll keep training hard and we’ll finish off strong and we’ll see where it goes from there, but I think this one’s out of my hands a little bit.”

Budalic said the club has spoken with Dwyer’s agent several times since he arrived in Orlando and those conversations will continue.

With the club putting such a big investment in Dwyer this season, it will be surprising if a new deal doesn’t get done sooner or later.

MLS Playoffs Need to Chill

Steve Davis over at FourFourTwo.com wrote that MLS really needs to take a step back if the league wants to get people interested in the playoffs. Sure, supporters of the clubs are interested, but how on earth can the average fan get excited when the playoffs (which started last night), kick off just three days after the final whistle blows on the regular season? I tend to agree with Mr. Davis. I’m not saying that they need two weeks off or anything. I just think giving teams more time to game plan and recharge their batteries will give us a better product, and also give media outlets a chance to better cover the lead-up to the games. But that’s just my two cents.

Marta Keeps Scoring Goals

Though the Orlando Pride season may have ended, Brazilian star Marta is still finding her way onto the score sheet. She managed to score a goal from the spot while on international duty with Brazil the other day against China. It was Marta’s fourth goal of the Yongchuan Four Nations Tournament, which Brazil went on to win with a record of 4-0-1. Not too bad at all. We can’t wait to see Marta back in purple next year.

Bill Hamid on the Move

It was announced just before the end of the regular season, that Bill Hamid would not be returning to D.C. United next year, and would move abroad to take on a new challenge. It seems as though that new challenge has revealed itself, as Hamid has now signed with Danish Superliga team FC Midtjylland. The Wolves, as they are called, are a young club, founded only 18 years ago, but they are also very successful, as they won the Danish Superliga in 2015.

One of the more surprising bits of news here comes from Jeff Kassouf, an editor for FourFourTwo, who said Hamid was let go on a free transfer. This kind of makes you think that if D.C. had known about his desire to play abroad, shouldn’t they have sold him a while ago? In my mind, yes. The answer to that question is absolutely yes. Especially when you consider that Hamid has been one of the best goalkeepers in the league for a few years now.

USMNT Finding its Next Manager in the Premier League?

Yes, you read that right. It is being reported that West Ham manager Slaven Bilic is considering leaving his post in London to take on the task of righting the ship that is the U.S. Men’s National Team. talkSPORT is the one breaking this news, and to be honest, we wouldn’t be surprised if Bilic is looking for a job soon, as West Ham is off to yet another slow start this season. Too soon to tell if any of this is true, or where it goes, but speculation is fun. I wouldn’t expect any major announcements until after the United States’ friendly against Portugal in November.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni continues to adapt as the game changes.
  • Orlando City’s corporate partners are stepping up to provide resources for the Fuerza Puerto Rico Friendly Presented by Audi (those last three words are new).
  • The U-17 World Cup is rolling right along in India, and England knocked off Brazil rather convincingly, 3-1, to reach the final. England reaching the final makes me feel at least a little bit better about the tournament for the United States. If you’re going to lose, you might as well lose to a team that made the final.
  • More on that England youth system: Just take a look at this graphic Squawka put together. We might be on the brink of English football dominance if the Three Lions’ youths can keep these results rolling through the senior level.

  • The Carabao Cup always finds a way to give us interesting news. What’s going on this time? Manchester City and Arsenal could find themselves disqualified over an interesting substitution rule. Check it out here.
  • Serie A games are trying to find new ways to combat anti-Semitism. After an event that happened in the stands of a game between Roma and Lazio, it has been decided that passages from Anne Frank’s Diary will be read before games to promote Holocaust remembrance. Good job, Italy.
  • Ever wonder who the worst player in FIFA 18 is? Well, you can find out all about him and his 46 overall ranking here, but, spoiler alert, he’s actually not a player at all.

That’s all we have time for today. Enjoy that MLS playoff action that we have on the slate for tonight (Atlanta-Columbus, Houston-Sporting KC), and check back with us tomorrow for some more Lion Links! Before I go, here is your dad joke of the day:

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/24/24

Lions and Pride win, Abdi Salim joins Detroit City on loan, USMNT wins Copa America opener, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers! I hope all is well with you down in Florida. I’m just staying busy at Under Armour all weekend, returning to my footwear lead manager role and catching some of the Euro and Copa America matches. Both the Lions and the Pride won over the weekend. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Lions Defeat Chicago Fire at Home

Orlando City snapped its five-match winless streak Saturday, defeating the Chicago Fire 4-2 at Inter&Co Stadium. Facundo Torres scored twice, and Luis Muriel and Ivan Angulo added one each to offset Chicago’s two goals in a much-needed victory. It was only the second home win for the Lions this season. Chicago saw its four-match unbeaten streak end and moved to the bottom of the Eastern Conference with 18 points. Orlando moved up to 10th with 21 points. The Lions will be on the road again Friday to take on New York City FC at Yankee Stadium.

OCSC Center Back Abdi Salim Joins Detroit City on Loan

USL Championship side Detroit City FC has apparently reached a loan agreement with Orlando City to have center back Abdi Salim join the team. The loan was reported Saturday by Nolan Bianchi and, although there has been no official word from Orlando City, Salim played for Detroit City Saturday night in a friendly against Pumas of Liga MX.

Salim was not only in the starting XI on Saturday, but he also scored the lone goal to win the match 1-0. In case you missed it, check out Salim’s header and back flip celebration:

Pride Cruise at Home Against Utah Royals

The Orlando Pride returned to their winning ways Friday with a dominating performance at Inter&Co Stadium in a club-record, 6-0 victory against the Utah Royals. Barbra Banda and Marta each scored twice, while Summer Yates and Ally Watt added goals in a big win for the Pride, extending Orlando’s unbeaten streak to 14 matches. After this weekend’s results, Orlando and the Kansas City Current are tied with 32 points, but Kansas City’s 4-1 beatdown of the Thorns in Portland has the Current in the top spot on goal differential. The Pride will be on the road Sunday to face Angel City FC at BMO Stadium.

USMNT Beats Bolivia in Copa America Opener

The United States Men’s National Team won its Copa America opener 2-0 against Bolivia at AT&T Stadium on Sunday. Christian Pulisic scored for the USMNT and added an assist on Folarin Balogun’s goal late in the first half. For Pulisic, it was his 30th career goal for his country in 69 international appearances. Tyler Adams made his first start for club or country since March 30 and played 45 minutes. Even though the USMNT couldn’t add more goals in the second half, the Americans did enough to take all three points. The USMNT will play Panama Thursday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Euro 2024 Roundup

It was another busy weekend of action in the Euros, as eight matches took place over the weekend. On Friday, Ukraine overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit to beat Slovakia 2-1 to stay alive in the tournament. Austria bounced back with a 3-1 win against Poland. France and the Netherlands split the points in a scoreless draw, which resulted in Poland becoming the first team to be eliminated from Euro 2024. On Saturday, Georgia and the Czech Republic battled to a 1-1 draw. Portugal clinched a spot into the round of 16 with a 3-0 victory over Turkey, and Belgium rebounded with a 2-0 win against Romania. On Sunday, Hungary grabbed a late winning goal to eliminate Scotland 1-0 and still has a chance to move on to the round of 16. Switzerland held a 1-0 lead into stoppage time, but Niclas Fullkrug equalized to snatch a 1-1 draw for Germany at the death, winning Group A. Both teams advanced to the round of 16. Today’s matches will wrap up play in Group B as Albania faces Spain and Croatia takes on Italy.

Free Kicks


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: 6/21/24

Facundo Torres earns praise, Orlando Pride play the Utah Royals tonight, FC Cincinnati linked with Weston McKennie, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Friday! This weekend is what soccer fans dream of, with NWSL, MLS, Copa America, and Euro 2024 matches to enjoy. The Orlando Pride are in action tonight, Orlando City plays Saturday, and the U.S. begins its Copa America campaign on Sunday. But first, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter!

Facundo Torres Makes MLS Team of the Matchday Bench

Orlando forward Facundo Torres earned a spot on the bench of the MLS Team of the Matchday after providing a goal and an assist in Orlando’s 2-2 draw against Charlotte FC. Both contributions were crucial to Orlando getting a point on the road. It was only Torres’ third goal of the season, so hopefully this gets him going. If the Lions are to claw their way up the Eastern Conference table, they’ll need more performances like this from their talisman.

Orlando Pride Host the Utah Royals Tonight

The Orlando Pride will aim to get back in the win column tonight when they take on the Utah Royals at home. The last time these two teams squared off was on April 12, with Orlando winning 1-0 in the first of eight straight victories for the Pride. Another match with the Royals could be just what the doctor ordered for an Orlando side that’s been held to draws in its past two matches. While Utah is having a difficult season and sits last in the league standings, it did get its first road win on Sunday against Bay FC.

FC Cincinnati Reportedly Wants Weston McKennie

American midfielder Weston McKennie could be coming to the U.S., as FC Cincinnati has reportedly made an offer to sign him from Juventus. Cincinnati is willing to spend up to $15 million to bring McKennie on as a Designated Player. The 25-year-old has one year left on his contract with Juventus, but he’s likely leaving the Italian club this summer if reports are to be believed. McKennie was part of FC Dallas’ academy, but never actually played in an MLS game before heading to Europe.

Spain Wins to Advance in Euro 2024

Spain booked its spot in the knockout stage of Euro 2024 after beating Italy 1-0 in a match that didn’t quite live up to its billing. It does set up for an intriguing matchup between Italy and Croatia on Monday, though. England and Denmark traded first-half goals but neither team could find a winner in a 1-1 draw. In the other Group C match, Orlando City defender David Brekalo came on as a late substitute in Slovenia’s 1-1 draw against Serbia.

As for today’s slate of games, Slovakia will face off against Ukraine, Poland plays Austria, and France takes on the Netherlands. We’ll see if Kylian Mbappe will play after breaking his nose in France’s opening match.

Latest FIFA Rankings Unveiled

Despite losing 5-1 to Colombia in a friendly, the U.S. didn’t drop enough points to be unseated from 11th in the latest FIFA rankings. The U.S. remains the highest-ranked Concacaf nation, and Mexico dropped to 15th after losing to both Uruguay and Brazil in friendlies. Argentina is still at the top of the rankings, while Brazil leapfrogged England for fourth place. The rankings usually don’t matter all too much, but they are used to determine pots for the World Cup. With Euro 2024 and Copa America going on, things could shake up a bit for some of the world’s best teams.

Free Kicks

  • Peter Musa was named MLS Player of the Matchday for his hat trick in FC Dallas’ 5-3 win against Minnesota United. It was the Croatian striker’s first hat trick since he joined Dallas this past off-season, and he now has eight goals this season.
  • Now with Cruz Azul, former Atlanta United forward Georgios Giakoumakis took some parting shots at MLS in regards to how losses are OK compared to Liga MX. I find it a pretty oblivious thing to say considering Atlanta fired its head coach a day after losing to Charlotte FC earlier this month.
  • Steve Cooper, who was sacked by Nottingham Forest six months ago, was hired as Leicester City’s new manager.
  • Of the 47 goals scored so far in Euro 2024, five have been own goals and only Germany’s Jamal Musiala has scored more than once. None of the goals have been scored from the penalty spot as well.
  • Burnley is reportedly in talks with Ruud van Nistelrooy to be the club’s next manager after Vincent Kompany’s departure.

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/20/24

Orlando City draws against Charlotte FC, Wilfredo Rivera joins first team, Ally Watt speaks on Black Women’s Player Collective, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City B / Mark Thor

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Last night’s Orlando City match featured plenty of ups and downs, but it was a pretty exciting way to spend a Wednesday night. Hopefully the Cardiac Cats weren’t too hard on your heart. Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride defender Celia!

Orlando City Draws Against Charlotte FC

The Lions went on the road for a match against Charlotte FC and earned a point with a 2-2 draw. Matches between the two teams are usually close affairs and this one was no different, as neither team did enough to claim victory. One one hand, equalizing twice on the road against a stingy defense isn’t the worst outcome for Orlando. On the other hand, Charlotte played most of the match a man down and a win was definitely in the cards for the Lions. Hopefully Orlando can break this five-game winless streak when it hosts the Chicago Fire on Saturday.

Wilfredo Rivera Available for the First Team

Orlando City B midfielder Wilfredo Rivera is with the first team this week after signing a short-term agreement with Orlando City. He was an unused substitute in Wednesday’s match in Charlotte and will be available for selection in Orlando’s match against the Chicago Fire on Saturday. The 20-year-old signed a similar agreement in March of this year, but has yet to make his MLS debut. Rivera came off the bench in OCB’s match against Chattanooga FC on Thursday and scored a brace earlier this month while on international duty with Puerto Rico. The signing was necessary as Ramiro Enrique is on an excused absence for a personal matter.

Ally Watt Discusses Black Women’s Player Collective

Orlando Pride forward Ally Watt talked about her role as the team’s representative for the Black Women’s Player Collective, which is a non-profit organization created by Black players in the NWSL. Watt spoke on how the collective allows her and other players to provide opportunities for young girls that they didn’t have. One such initiative is the creation of mini-pitches to give more safe and equitable spaces for Black girls to play soccer.

Copa America is Upon Us

This year’s Copa America, which will pit the top 16 nations in the Western Hemisphere against each other, kicks off tonight. Here’s a great guide to each team’s notable players and chances to win the tournament. Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was noted as the star to watch on Peru’s squad. He has his work cut out for him though in a group that includes Argentina, Canada, and Ecuador. As for the U.S., Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna are key players for the team’s aspirations at a deep run.

Chuck Booth over at CBS Sports also ranked each team heading into the tournament, placing the U.S. fifth on the list. Argentina tops the rankings, and I was a bit surprised to see Brazil in fourth. Peru is last, but hopefully Gallese and Wilder Cartagena can help prove the doubters wrong.

Germany Advances in Euro 2024

Germany followed up its opening win against Scotland with a 2-0 win over Hungary to become the first team to clinch a spot in the knockout round of Euro 2024. In the other Group A matchup, Switzerland and Scotland battled to a 1-1 draw that included a great goal from Xherdan Shaqiri after a bad giveaway by Scotland.

It looked like Albania was headed towards another frustrating loss after giving up the lead in the second half, but a late strike by Klaus Gjasula salvaged a 2-2 draw against Croatia. Today’s slate of matches features a showdown between Spain and Italy, along with Denmark’s clash with England. We also may get to see Orlando City center back David Brekalo take the field in Slovenia’s match against Serbia.

Free Kicks

  • Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Ryan Gauld won MLS Goal of the Matchday for his strike in stoppage time against the New England Revolution.
  • FC Cincinnati’s Luca Orellano scored one of the best goals of the season with a pinpoint strike from downtown.
  • NJ/NY Gotham FC extended its unbeaten streak to nine games, with rookie Maycee Ball scoring a late winner to beat the San Diego Wave 2-1.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!

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