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Lion Links: 2/15/18

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So you’ve survived Valentine’s Day and the candy coma that accompanied it? Good, because it’s Thursday and we’ve got plenty to talk about, as usual, as we hurtle toward the weekend and Orlando City’s preseason date with Real Salt Lake.

We’re just 16 days away from the Lions’ 2018 MLS opener, and there are just a few remaining preseason scrimmages for Jason Kreis to figure out where all the pieces fit best heading into the season. And not everyone is even in camp yet!

Lions Best Philadelphia

Orlando City played four different sessions against the Philadelphia Union in yesterday’s scrimmage and although the club does not consider these legitimate preseason games due to various reasons — odd timing structures, players subbing off and back on, etc. — we as fans do not have much else to judge the team on in these early days before the season. So, to that end, we’ll continue to bring you the final goal total and who scored them out of context, since we’re not permitted to watch these training scrimmages. Yesterday, the Lions scored three times and the Union only once. Maybe it wasn’t a legit game, but to me Orlando City won the scrimmage on aggregate, 3-1.

As usual, Orlando City says there’s no official score from today’s scrimmage but the Lions won 3-1 in our book by virtue of scoring three times and conceding once. Yoshi (pen.), RJ Allen, and Chris Mueller scored.

— The Mane Land (@TheManeLand) February 14, 2018

As mentioned in the tweet, your goal scorers were Yoshimar Yotun (from the spot), RJ Allen, and Chris Mueller, who is having himself one whale of a preseason. Cory Burke scored for Philly.

Getting back to Mueller for a minute, it seems he might be a long-lost clone of the gaffer.

Kreis was asked if @cmueller1662 reminded him of a younger version of himself. Kreis smiled, saying, “Yeah. Yeah he does. I couldn’t be happier with what he’s all about. I knew from the moment I spoke to him at the combine, he reminded me of me.”

— Austin David (@AustinDavid22) February 14, 2018

This is how I like to imagine Kreis greets Mueller every time he comes off the field after scoring a goal.

Laryea Wants More Minutes

Richie Laryea is more than just the star of #RichieCam, my favorite new show of 2018. He’s also a soft-spoken Canadian soccer player with a hunger for more minutes after finishing the 2017 season as a regular contributor off the bench for Jason Kreis. Those minutes will be more difficult to come by with all the additions to the Lions this off-season but that doesn’t mean he’s not going for it, as he told ProSoccerUSA’s Jordan Culver.

“Orlando City B helped me last season to get minutes,” he said. “It’s not around this year so I’m looking mainly to get my minutes with the first team and have a real breakthrough season and show everyone what I can do.”

He also discussed Cyle Larin’s exit from the team and, of course, RichieCam.

Pride’s Offense Gets Even Better

The Orlando Pride entered yesterday with such goal-scoring threats as Alex Morgan, Marta, Sydney Leroux, Rachel Hill, and (the currently injured) Camila. But that offense got even better when the club added Australia National Team No. 10 Emily van Egmond. The attacking midfielder will certainly mitigate Camila’s absence to start the season and will provide yet another creative attacking threat to Tom Sermanni’s side. It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch the Pride in 2018, folks.

By the way, van Egmond along with Pride teammate Alanna Kennedy, made Australia’s Algarve Cup roster, along with former Pride players Lisa De Vanna, Steph Catley, and Laura Alleway.

Morgan, Harris Named to USWNT’s Preliminary SheBelieves Roster

To no one’s surprise, Orlando Pride stars Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris have been named to Jill Ellis’ preliminary roster for the 2018 SheBelieves Cup. Ellis has named 26 players to the preliminary roster for the four-nation friendly tournament, which will conclude in our very own Orlando City Stadium on March 7. The tourney kicks off on March 1 in Columbus and the roster will be down to 23 by then.

We can probably assume Morgan will get some minutes but with three matches to play in just a week, will Harris get a run-out? Alyssa Naeher has gotten the bulk of the work since Hope Solo was dismissed from the team but Jane Campbell is pushing for minutes as well.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City released its first video in a three-part series called “The Road to March 3rd.” The seven(ish)-minute video is worth a look.
  • According to ESPN FC, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is preparing for life after Manchester United by house hunting in Los Angeles. That seems like an oddly long commute to his future job in Orlando, in my opinion.
  • Those born on this date include Galileo (1564), piano company founder Henry Steinway (born Heinrich Steinweg in 1797), Susan B. Anthony (1820), polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874), original Batman series actor Cesar Romero (1907), Harvey Korman (1927), former Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson (1949), singer Melissa Manchester (1951), Jane Seymour (1951), The Simpsons and Futurama creator Matt Groening (1954), Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee (1957), football’s Darrell Green (1960), Chris Farley (1964), basketball’s Mark Price (1964), and hockey’s Jaromir Jagr (1972).

That’s all my time for this morning. Happy Lenten season for those of you who celebrate Lent (and good luck with those sacrifices and/or spiritual disciplines).

In honor of birthday boy Galileo, I leave you with this lyrical meme.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/27/24

Orlando City loses to the Crew, Pride and OCB win, Southampton seals return to Premier League, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Happy Memorial Day, Mane Landers! I hope you all had a good holiday weekend. I worked at Under Armour all weekend while wrapping up my high school sports coverage for the spring season. It was a mixed weekend for our teams. Orlando City lost, but both the Pride and OCB won their matches. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Lions Lose at Home to Columbus Crew

Orlando City lost 2-0 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium and saw its three-match unbeaten streak end. The match’s first goal was controversial as the referee, Jair Marrufo, initially awarded the Lions a penalty late in the first half but went to the monitor and reviewed a play at the other end of the pitch. He instead awarded Columbus a penalty kick. Diego Rossi scored from the spot to put the Crew ahead 1-0 before halftime. Columbus extended its winning streak to three matches. Orlando has struggled at home, going just 1-3-4 so far this season. The Lions have not scored a goal at home since April 27. Despite the loss, the Lions still remain in 10th in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Next up for Orlando is a pair of road matches this week, starting Wednesday at the Chicago Fire, followed by a Saturday night matchup against the New York Red Bulls. 

Pride Win at Home Over Portland Thorns

The Orlando Pride won their record-setting eighth straight match with a 2-1 victory at Inter&Co Stadium against the Portland Thorns Friday. Barbra Banda scored two goals in the first half to give the Pride a 2-0 lead going into halftime. Portland pulled one back, but the Pride held on for the victory and claimed three points. Orlando remains undefeated in league play after 11 matches, and the Pride stay atop the NWSL table with 27 points. The Pride are off this week but will return to action on the road next Friday, June 7, against the San Diego Wave.

OCB Win at Home against Huntsville City FC

On Sunday, Orlando City B bounced back with a season-high five goals in a 5-0 win over Hunstville City FC at Osceola County Stadium. Jhon Solis, Yutaro Tsukada, and Shak Mohammed put OCB ahead 3-0, while Yeiler Valencia scored his first two OCB goals to seal the win for the Young Lions. OCB is now in sixth in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Meanwhile, Huntsville City FC remains winless through 10 matches and stays at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. OCB’s next match will be on the road Sunday at Inter Miami CF II. 

Southampton Clinches Promotion to Premier League

Southampton booked its return to the Premier League with a 1-0 over Leeds United in the EFL Championship playoff final at Wembley Sunday. Adam Armstrong scored the lone goal in this match as the Saints returned to the top flight after being relegated the previous season. Southampton joins Leicester City and Ipswich Town, securing promotion to the Premier League. Despite finishing third in the table, Leeds’ playoff woes continue as this is the sixth time it missed out on securing promotion and finished its season with only one win out of its last six matches. 

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: 5/24/24

Orlando City prepares for the Crew, Barbra Banda an NWSL MVP favorite, Orlando Pride announce sleeve sponsor, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

Happy Friday! The gauntlet of Orlando soccer home games starts tonight when the Orlando Pride take on the Portland Thorns in a clash of win streaks. I’m working for most of the weekend, but am looking forward to watching some soccer and playing my way through the Ace Attorney games during my spare time. For now though, let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world.

Orlando City Gets Ready to Host the Crew

Orlando City is on a three-game unbeaten run and will take on the Columbus Crew Saturday night in an Eastern Conference showdown. The last time these two sides met was in the 2023 Eastern Conference semifinals with the Crew winning in extra time to eliminate the Lions. It’s the third consecutive road game for the Crew after winning 3-1 against both CF Montreal and the Chicago Fire. Saturday’s match is also the Crew’s last match before the Concacaf Champions Cup final on June 1. Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja spoke on how the Lions will be up to the task regardless of which players take the field for Columbus. Pareja also spoke about how Duncan McGuire is working his way back from the injury he suffered last week.

Barbra Banda Named MVP Frontrunner

ESPN updated its rankings of players in contention to be named NWSL MVP this season and Orlando Pride forward Barbra Banda tops the list. The Zambian forward hasn’t been with the Pride for long, but she has scored six goals in six games to help the Pride win seven straight games. Opposing defenses haven’t figured out a way to stop her, and it’s fair to think of her as an MVP favorite alongside fellow attackers in the league like Sophia Smith and Temwa Chawinga. Pride defender Emily Sams also earned herself a spot on the list, ranking 11th. It’s nice to see her get some deserved recognition for her role in the Pride’s stellar defense this year.

Orlando Pride Announce Sleeve Sponsor

A partnership was announced between the Orlando Pride and Heart of Florida United Way, a charity that’s supported families in Central Florida for the past 85 years. As part of the partnership, Heart of Florida United Way will become the first sleeve sponsor for the Pride and its logo will be on the right sleeve of both of the Pride’s jerseys this year. A new ticket program is also being created for 50 tickets to be donated to a local charity for each Pride home game.

Orlando City Unveils Watch Party Schedule

The schedule for this Orlando City season’s watch parties is out, along with the lineup of this year’s included pubs. Each pub will have MLS Season Pass access for fans to watch Orlando’s games this year and there will be chances to win tickets and autographed items at the watch parties as well. There are three new pubs added to the lineup this year, including The Castle Irish Pub at College Park, Paddywagon Irish Pub in Dr. Phillips, and Winter Garden’s Hagan O’Reilly’s. The first watch party will be at The Hammered Lamb in Ivanhoe Village on June 1 when the Lions face off against the New York Red Bulls.

Free Kicks

  • Pride midfielder Evelina Duljan was called up to join Sweden’s U-23 team for the upcoming Four Nations Tournament.
  • NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman became the first woman to be named Sports Business Journal‘s Sports Executive of the Year.

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/23/24

Orlando Pride prepare for the Portland Thorns, Pride Brazilian trio called up, Atalanta wins Europa League, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope this Thursday finds you well as we all get ready for a busy next few days of Orlando soccer to enjoy. It’s been a fairly busy couple of days for me, and I plan on knocking out a few errands before enjoying the upcoming matches. Until then, let’s enjoy today’s links!

Pride Prepare to Host the Portland Thorns

The Orlando Pride have a huge home game against the Portland Thorns tomorrow night. It will be a clash of win streaks, as the Pride have won their past seven games and the Thorns have won their last six. Pride Head Coach Seb Hines is well aware that Portland is a formidable foe with talented players such as Sophia Smith, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Sam Coffey. He spoke on how tomorrow will be a challenge, as well as how playing at home will give the Pride a boost during the game.

Pride Trio Called Up by Brazil

The Pride’s Marta, Rafaelle, and Adriana were all called up for Brazil’s pair of friendlies against Jamaica in Brazil on June 1 and June 4.

These matches will help Brazil prepare for a tough group in the Olympics against Spain, Japan, and Nigeria. Angelina, who featured for Brazil during the SheBelieves Cup, was not called up due to an injury sustained while with the Pride. Although these games will take place during an international break, the Pride do have a road game against the San Diego Wave on June 7, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Hines gives them some rest for that match.

Assessing Emma Hayes’ Time With Chelsea

It felt like forever ago that it was announced Chelsea’s Emma Hayes would leave the club to replace Vlatko Andonovski and coach the USWNT. A great article by ESPN broke down what USWNT fans can learn from her time with Chelsea, including how she’s dealt with the adversity she’s faced both on and off the field. Her impending exit put a spotlight on Chelsea’s season, and she still managed to secure the league title despite the pressure. Chelsea also announced that five members of the coaching staff will leave the club to join Hayes at the USWNT. It’s a new era for the USWNT, and Hayes brings plenty of experience and leadership to the position.

Atalanta Crushes Leverkusen to Win Europa League

Italian club Atalanta lifted the Europa League trophy after a 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in Dublin. The day belonged to Nigerian winger Ademola Lookman, who scored a hat trick that included this stunner that doubled Atalanta’s lead in the first half.

It’s Atalanta’s second trophy in club history, and first in 61 years. It’s also the first trophy for manager Gian Piero Gasperini after coaching in Italy for 30 years. This result snapped Leverkusen’s remarkable unbeaten streak at 51 games, and ended the club’s bid at a treble. Bayer Leverkusen will aim to bounce back Saturday when it plays FC Kaiserslautern in the German Cup final.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City President of Business Operations Jarrod Dillon has issued a challenge to Orlando City fans for the upcoming trio of Orlando soccer home games, so it may be worth your while to get tickets for the Lions, Pride, and OCB this weekend.
  • Pride forward Amanda Allen placed 16th in ESPN‘s rankings of the 17 teenagers currently playing in the National Women’s Soccer League (the author deemed it unfair to assess Milly Clegg without seeing her on the field more). Allen mostly just hasn’t had much playing time, but that could change over the summer.
  • Former Pride player Camille Ashton (known as Cami Levin when she played in the Pride midfield in 2016 and 2017) has resigned as the general manager of the Kansas City Current.

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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