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Lion Links: 11/15/17



A busy Tuesday has us going all over the place through the soccer ranks, from youth to professional to TV and beyond. So nothing fancy today, let’s get right to it!

Youth Shines in Last USMNT Match of 2017

The U.S. Men’s National Team played in its final match of the 2017 season, a 1-1 draw against No. 3 Portugal. Interim Head Coach Dave Sarachan went with a youth-driven lineup featuring first-timers Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams.

McKennie, 19, from Schalke FC (Bundesliga), had a fantastic debut as he scored once — and nearly made it a brace — and was all over the field. Most impressive were his box-to-box efforts and his overall complete show of his game.

World Cup Misses Engage in Conversations for 2018 Event

NIT? Europa? HeBelieves Cup? Not that I’m a fan of any of these names, but it looks like the head of social media steam — along with the fact that giant after giant keeps falling — has these teams debating a second-rate international event in 2018.

With the likes of the USA, Italy, Ghana, Netherlands, Cameroon, Chile, Greece, China, and Ivory Coast not making it to Russia, U.S. Soccer and Soccer United Marketing (SUM) have begun early conversations to host such an event.

Not only do I love this because we would get to see these teams, but it’s a wildly huge advantage to still get our young national team players some experience against some of the best countries in the world in the absence of a World Cup. My fingers are definitely crossed.

Atlanta United and Memphis Join the USL Ranks

Atlanta United has officially ended its two-year partnership with the Charleston Battery and will own and operate its own USL team in 2018. The team will train out of the club’s Marietta headquarters, but no name has been given as of yet. They will play their home matches out of Coolray Field in Gwinnett County.

The USL also announced today that it has approved the franchise rights to an ownership group in Memphis. While no name of the group or club was decided, it is largely speculated that the Memphis Redbirds ownership group is at the forefront for this opportunity, which will join the league in 2019.

MLS Outlines its Top 10 Stories with No Sight of MNUTD

MLS came out Tuesday with its top 10 stories of 2017, and there’s a gaping hole roughly the size of Minnesota. That’s right, MLS’s 22nd team doesn’t find itself a place inside the story lines, but its expansion counterpart — Atlanta United — does. We often thought the league’s new darling has been ATL, but Minnesota United — a club that has brought in two of the largest league sponsors by name, in Allianz and Target — should be getting more love here.

If anything, most of these story lines don’t even happen in MLS or on the field, which does just feel like a miss all around for this article.

MLS Expansion Draft for LAFC Set; Other Off-Season Details

Set your clocks for Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. as LAFC starts to build out its roster with current MLS Players.

In case you’re not familiar with the guidelines, here you go:

“All 22 existing MLS clubs will be able to protect 11 players prior to the Expansion Draft; Generation adidas players and off-budget Homegrown Players are automatically exempt from selection and do not need to be protected. Only a single player can be drafted from any one club.

The complete list of players eligible for selection in the Expansion Draft will be released on Dec. 10 by 5:30 pm ET.”

Be on the lookout from us on players we feel should be protected in the coming weeks.

And in case you feel the need to keep watch over the rest of the off-season:

Orlando Professional Teams Visit Orlando Health

Orlando City and Pride players visited Orlando Health Tuesday to check out the new South Seminole Outpatient Rehabilitation Center. While I’m sure it’s very nice, I’m going to hope these are the only types of visits of this kind.

Nike Friendlies Kick Off This December

The official dates of the Nike Friendlies and U.S. Soccer Academy Showcase in Bradenton, FL have been released. If you want to catch up on some of the upcoming talent coming through the system, this is your chance.

The friendlies consist of men’s and women's U-17 teams competing in a round robin event. The U.S., Brazil, and England feature on both sides with the Netherlands and Finland rounding out, respectively, the men’s and women's fields.

Fox Sports Involved in FIFA Bribes?

Not much has come on this story as of yet, but Fox Sports is being implicated in FIFA bribing scandals, among a handful of other networks.

Buddy Dyer In for Orlando Hosting the World Cup

Looks like Orlando City and the Central Florida Sports Commission have the backing of the city’s government. While this should be expected, you’d be surprised how often there can be disconnects between the two. So it’s good to see everyone on board with what will be a tough fight amongst the remaining 32 cities.

Free Kicks

  • Florida Tropics SC player Lucas Montelares makes the MASL Team of the Week.

Have a great rest of the week, and to leave you with a bit of humor I give you this:

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/30/24

Orlando City draws on the road, Duncan McGuire called up, Grace Chanda will reportedly sign with the Orlando Pride, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

For those of you who watched Orlando City’s game Wednesday night, I hope the universe repays you with good fortune in some way today. The week rolls on though, as we get ready for more Orlando soccer this weekend, along with international friendlies around the world to enjoy. For now though, let’s get to the links!

Orlando City Draws Against the Chicago Fire

The Lions went on the road and had to settle for a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire. Neither goal was anything to write home about in a match that was highlighted by sloppy play and yet another controversial refereeing decision the Lions had to deal with. A draw on the road while on short rest generally isn’t the worst result in the world, but it was a poor performance from the Lions. They’ll aim to get back in the winning column this Saturday when they travel to play the New York Red Bulls.

Duncan McGuire Called Up For Training Camp

Orlando City forward Duncan McGuire was one of 25 players called up for the United States Men’s Olympic Soccer Team’s training camp ahead of a friendly with Japan on June 11. McGuire has earned his spot on the team during a solid second season with the Lions that has included five goals. Columbus Crew goalkeeper Patrick Schulte, Koln forward Damion Downs, and LA Galaxy defender Jalen Neal are a few of the other notable players called up. Nashville SC center back Walker Zimmerman is the only player over 23 that was called up for this camp.

Grace Chanda Will Reportedly Join the Pride

An agreement was reportedly reached between the Orlando Pride and Zambian attacker Grace Chanda for her to join the club on a deal through 2025, with an option for 2026 as well. It would be a free transfer, but she would not join the Pride until after the Olympics. Chanda was named to the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations Best XI and was also on the shortlist for the 2022 Best CAF Women’s Player of the Year Award. The 26-year-old did not play in last year’s World Cup due to an illness, but has come off the bench in Madrid CFF’s past two games. The Pride are having a historic year and Chanda should help them push for a title if she does end up joining her international teammate, Barbra Banda.

Getting to Know Emily Sams

Pride defender Emily Sams is the latest player to field questions as part of the club’s video series for fans to learn more about the players. Sams spoke about the disappointment in how the team’s season ended last year after missing out on the playoffs on a goal differential tiebreaker. She also talked about the team’s aspiration to not only make the playoffs but contend for a title this year. It’s her second season with the Pride and she’s been a key reason why Orlando has done so well so far. Sams discussed what the team’s atmosphere is like, as well as how she likes to spend time outdoors exploring Orlando’s many lakes when not on the field.

Free Kicks

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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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/29/24

Orlando City faces the Chicago Fire tonight, Kaká to be honored, Pride linked to Grace Chanda, and more.



Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. It’s match day for Orlando City as the Lions travel to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Fire. Orlando City looks to get back to its winning ways in the midweek matchup and we will have all the coverage you need during the match on our Twitter account, and after the match right here at The Mane Land.

We would also like to wish Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines a very happy birthday! Frankly, it’s the least we can do given everything he has done so far this NWSL season. For now, let’s get to the links.

Lions Prepare for the Fire

Orlando City faces the Chicago Fire tonight at 8:30 p.m. at Soldier Field. The Lions will look to extend a three-match winning streak over the Fire. Facundo Torres has been particularly effective against Chicago, so hopefully he can start scoring some more goals as well. We will have our match preview a little later today.

Kaká to Become First Member of Legends Terrace at Inter&Co Stadium

Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are creating a “Legends Terrace” at Inter&Co Stadium to permanently honor those who have made a lasting impact with either club. Unsurprisingly, the first inductee will be the one and only Kaká. The ceremony will take place following the July 6 match against D.C. United. There will also be a concert featuring Latin performer Jota Quest in the Publix Mane Street Plaza outside the stadium prior to the match.

Orlando Pride Linked With Grace Chanda

Do you like Barbra Banda and what she has done since joining the Pride? Do you find yourself wondering, “got anymore of those Zambian strikers?” Well, it just so happens that the Orlando Pride are reportedly interested in signing Zambian forward Grace Chanda. According to the report, the San Diego Wave, Racing Louisville, and the Pride are all interested in signing Chanda. Given the Pride are serious about contending for a title this season, adding another quality attacker is a good move. Let’s hope the rumor is true.

Pride’s Summer Cup Schedule Adjusted

The Olympics won’t be the only women’s soccer competition this summer, as the inaugural NWSL x LIGA MX Femenil Summer Cup will start on July 19. We have learned that the Orlando Pride match against C.F. Monterrey at Inter&Co Stadium has been moved up from Sunday, July 28 to Saturday, July 27. The move does not affect Orlando City’s schedule, as the Lions play a rare Friday match that week. You can check out more information on the competition here.

Free Kicks

  • I know that there are those who are upset with the Leagues Cup as it definitely impacted the U.S. Open Cup this year. However, if you do decide to go to a match, at least part of the ticket price will go to a good cause.
  • Congratulations to Felipe. That is a lot of matches and we appreciate him being with our beloved Orlando City.
  • Congratulations also go out to Orlando City academy player Camilio Guerrero for earning a call-up to a U.S. U-14 national talent identification camp.
  • USMNT winger Tim Weah is making money moves in the Big Apple.

That will do it for today. We will see you on the other side of the match tonight. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/28/24

Yutaro Tsukada earns recognition, Americans in midweek action, European coaching updates, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you all had a restful holiday weekend, and if you didn’t, then I hope you’re well on the way to recovery. We’ve got an exciting schedule this week, with two Orlando City games before an Orlando City B game on Sunday. It’s also OCB forward Yeiler Valencia’s birthday today, so let’s wish him well and jump into today’s links!

Yutaro Tsukada Earns MLS NEXT Pro Honors

OCB winger Yutaro Tsukada was named MLS NEXT Pro Player of Matchweek 11 for his performance in the team’s 5-0 home win against Huntsville City FC. The 22-year-old provided the assist on OCB’s first goal after using some nice skill on the ball to shake his defender. Tsukada then scored a goal of his own off of a free kick in the second half. The rookie has been electric for the Young Lions this season, recording four goals and four assists so far. Hopefully he can keep the momentum rolling when OCB faces Inter Miami II this Sunday.

Major League Soccer Stock Watch

Every week gives us a better idea of each MLS team’s capabilities, so let’s check in on how things are looking following the latest matchday. LAFC is on a great trajectory, as it’s won three consecutive league games and five straight in all competitions. Elsewhere in the Western Conference, Real Salt Lake scored three goals in the final 30 minutes of play to stretch its unbeaten streak to 11 games, and Cristian Arango didn’t have to do all of the heavy lifting. At the other end of things, the New England Revolution have lost three straight games, and six of their last seven. Likewise, the shine looks to have worn off from St. Louis City’s expansion season, as the team has also lost three straight games and simply doesn’t look the same as last year.

Americans in Midweek Action

With most of the European club seasons having concluded, there aren’t as many United States Men’s National Team players in action during the working week, but there are still some important games to make note of. Chief among those is Venezia’s game against Cremonese on Thursday. Tanner Tessmann, Gianluca Busio and Venezia will take on Cremonese over two legs, with the winner gaining promotion to Serie A. Left back Jonathan Gomez may take the field tomorrow morning in Real Sociedad’s friendly against Tokyo Verde as well.

In a pair of friendlies on Friday, Mexico plays Bolivia and Uruguay takes on Costa Rica. With the USMNT set to face both Bolivia and Uruguay in group play of this summer’s Copa America, the two matches present a good chance to better gauge the Yanks’ opponents.

European Coaching Updates

Several notable European club teams have coaching vacancies to fill this summer, and there are some updates on a few of those positions. Chelsea has reportedly made an approach for Leicester City’s Enzo Maresca, and has requested permission to talk to the manager who guided the Foxes back to the Premier League in his first year with the club. Meanwhile, despite interest from Manchester United, Kieran McKenna is reportedly set to stay at Ipswich Town, and has had talks about extending his contract. Finally, Aston Villa has extended Unai Emery’s contract, with his new deal keeping him at the club until 2029.

Transfer Rumor Roundup

Transfer season is kicking into gear, and we have several rumors to sift through this morning. Up first, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich are reportedly all in hot pursuit of Stade Rennais winger Desire Doue. Casemiro reportedly has a deal lined up with a team in the Saudi Pro League, and may have played his last game for Manchester United. Newly promoted Southampton is reportedly interested in signing Adam Lallana as a free agent. Finally, Paris Saint-Germain is said to have entered the race to sign Bruno Guimaraes, and will face stiff competition from Manchester City and Arsenal.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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