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Lion Links: 5/2/18

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We have got a lot of news for you today, so I’ll say a quick hello and hope you’re all gearing up for a great weekend of Cinco De Mayo and Orlando City going for win No. 6 in a row. Also, congrats to my modern GOAT, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Real Madrid for making it to their third Champions League final in a row — and fourth in five years — after yesterday’s victory in one of the best matches of the tournament against Bayern Munich.

We’ve got news on the Pride match later today, City focusing on language, transfer rumors, and so much more. So get to reading! Or read slowly and ignore work, really your choice. But let’s not forget to wish Orlando City Assistant Coach Miles Joseph a happy birthday as well!

Is Orlando a Legitimate Eastern Conference Threat?

MLS Soccer gave their take on Orlando City being a contender for their big question of the week:

Bobby Warshaw ends up on the fence knowing it’s early and the mitigating factors to this five-game win streak — the longest of any team this season. Which I think is the right take. City has had an easy run lately against lower teams and — other than the San Jose match — hasn't looked in control in most, but rather coming back in matches to grind out points (not bad to do but you can’t live on that).

The next month will give some clearer answers on where City stands as they face teams like Atlanta United, NYCFC, and Toronto. All the while trying to get Jonathan Spector and Uri Rosell into the mix after both have missed considerable time.

Morgan and Harris Questionable for Today’s Match; Ashlyn Not Suspended

The Orlando Pride travel to Chicago today to face off against the second-place Red Stars tonight at 7:30 p.m. However, they could be without two of their best players as Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris are questionable as of this morning. Morgan has a hyperextended left knee and Harris has a hyperextended left elbow, according to the latest NWSL injury report.

While both are losses, the Pride can hope to replace Morgan much easier with the depth across the front three. Sydney Leroux could be pushed to the central forward role with Rachel Hill most likely starting on the right side.

Harris would be replaced by Haley Kopmeyer who started for the Seattle Reign last season. She is no Aubrey Bledsoe, however, who has been nominated for NWSL Save of the Week every week this season, including winning for the second week in row.

One bit of good news is that Ashlyn, if healthy, will be available for selection. After her incident with Seattle Reign forward Jodie Taylor was reviewed by the league, it has been found that there will be no action taken. It was admittedly a rough challenge and could have gone in either direction. Personally I think the Pride got lucky.

Stay tuned to Twitter to get up to date information on both players.

Orlando City’s Off-the-Field Communication Work a Focus

Go read this article. It is a very good perspective in the area of psychology that is often ignored (by fans/media). Orlando City and its mental coach and Video Analyst Guillermo Sánchez have focused on communication to help build synergy is a vast multicultural element.

“When you have a team of a lot of cultures — I think we have around 12 … if you count coaching staff and staff, we have a lot more than that — it’s important for them to get to know each other so any type of communication can flow better,” said Sánchez, Orlando City’s mental coach and video analyst.

One can hope that all this focus is a contributing factor to the recent wining streak and one that will continue to help the team come together over the course of the season as City has some many new players learning English like Josué Colmán and Lamine Sané.

Ali Krieger Enjoying Her TV Work

If you’re not at the stadium watching, you should have seen Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger spending time with the local TV coverage breaking down some soccer.

“Right now, it’s a bit of a hobby, obviously my first focus is this team and getting in the playoffs and winning this season,” Krieger said. “When I do have time, I really enjoy going in and to hang out and chat and getting my little 10 minutes and still be a part of the game and doing anything for this wonderful club.”

I watched her work with BeIn Sports during USMNT World Cup Qualifying and very much enjoyed her a part of the crew. While it’s a hobby today, strong female voices in the media are always needed and hopefully this turns into a great post-playing career opportunity for her.

Tally Hall Finding a New Purpose in Orlando

Former Orlando City goalkeeper Tally Hall has been seen around the stadium as of late. If you've noticed him, you’d see he’s in a different type of uniform. A great story for a great guy finding his way after professional soccer.

Where Five Yanks Abroad Could be Heading This Summer

FourFourTwo USA recently looked at five hot names in the U.S. National Team pool that could be on the move from their current clubs:

  • Christian Pulisic – Borussia Dortmund BVB
  • Bobby Wood – Hamburg SC
  • Emerson Hyndman – Bournemouth
  • Geoff Cameron – Stoke City
  • Tyler Adams – New York Red Bulls

These names breed interest on both sides of the pond as we may see the likes of Wood and Cameron back home while Adams should be going the opposite direction. Overall I think Wood moving to the Netherlands (think Jozy Altidore’s best European season) or MLS would be the right move. He needs some confidence after a rough year and either location would be great for him.

I think Adams and Pulisic are in different situations than Wood, albeit similar between themselves. These young rising stars need to be on the pitch. I have no issue if Adams stays for another year of seasoning in the MLS where he can get continual time. Although I will say if a team like Schalke could pair him with a U.S. national like Weston McKennie, that would be fun.

Pulisic is the name to watch this summer but he needs the same thing. Moving to a Liverpool where you’re battling the likes of Sadio Mané, Mo Salah, and Roberto Firmino for playing time isn't going to help. More time on the field at his age is the right move and one more year at Dortmund might not be too bad.

Free Kicks:


That was a lot for you! So hopefully we were able to keep you away from work for as long as you needed. Go Pride tonight and City on Sunday. And don’t forget to have a margarita or two on Saturday. Cheers!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/29/24

Lions reportedly won’t play in U.S. Open Cup, Cavalry FC reflects on its defeat, gauging the USWNT’s panic meter, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Leap Day, Mane Landers! It’s the rarest day of the year, as we all lean into our procrastination a bit and collectively tell March that we’ll get to it tomorrow. It’s been a pretty busy week for me, but knowing the MLS season is in full swing has helped fuel me a bit. Let’s dive into today’s links!

Orlando City Reportedly Won’t Play in 2024 U.S. Open Cup

The latest reports involving Major League Soccer’s participation in this year’s U.S. Open Cup indicate that Orlando City, along with a majority of MLS teams, won’t be playing their first teams in the tournament. According to ESPN‘s Jeff Carlisle, the Houston Dynamo and the seven best teams from last season that aren’t taking part in the Concacaf Champions Cup will have their first teams take part. The format will reportedly be announced soon and we’ll see if Orlando City B and other MLS NEXT Pro teams will be in the tournament.

It will be pretty disappointing if Orlando’s first team doesn’t end up playing. Even though the Lions suffered an early exit last year, they won in 2022 and Head Coach Oscar Pareja has a penchant for excelling in the U.S. Open Cup.

Cavalry FC Reflects on Loss to Orlando City

Although Cavalry FC lost in both legs against Orlando City in its first Concacaf Champions Cup campaign, the Canadian club can hold its head high. Cavalry Head Coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. spoke on the team’s tactics in the second leg in Orlando to overcome the hefty aggregate deficit.

“Strategically, we wanted to frustrate them in the first half with an extra defender, and often at times we were in a back five,” Wheeldon said. “And second half, we wanted to unleash with more attackers and have a go, because it was 0-0. We thought … one, we wanted to make history with our first goal, and two, we wanted to get a result here.”

That first goal did come with Myer Bevan making some history for his team to take back to Canada. All in all, Cavalry did pretty well as the underdog and it’s unfortunate it didn’t get a true home game in Calgary. Cavalry’s defense is the real deal and I doubt this is the last time it makes an appearance in the Champions Cup.

Assessing the Fallout From the USWNT’s Defeat

The United States Women’s National Team suffered a shocking defeat to Mexico earlier this week that’s brought on varying levels of panic. The clock is ticking before the Olympics and the USWNT struggled to bounce back after trailing in the first half and had difficulties on both sides of the ball. While the issues at center back will likely be solved once Naomi Girma and Tierna Davidson play, the midfield has plenty of question marks and a weird balance of youth and experience. It’s an awkward stage for the USWNT, as Emma Hayes doesn’t arrive until May and won’t have much time to get the team ready for Paris. Of course, the USWNT could still win this tournament and the return of Mallory Swanson may heal most wounds this summer, leaving this loss as just a minor blemish when the year is up. Only time will tell and the USWNT has plenty of opportunity to right the ship.

FA Cup Quarterfinals Are Set

It was a pretty wild day in the FA Cup, with some of England’s top teams fighting their way into the quarterfinals. Chelsea needed a late winner from Conor Gallagher to beat Leeds United 3-2 at Stamford Bridge. Manchester United’s match against Nottingham Forest also had a dramatic finish, as United’s Casemiro scored the game’s only goal in the 89th minute. Wolverhampton ousted Brighton thanks to an early goal, and Liverpool got the job done against Southampton.

In the quarterfinals, Newcastle will travel to take on Manchester City, Wolverhampton will host the second division’s Conventry City, Chelsea will take on Leicester City, and Manchester United will face off against Liverpool. All four matches will take place on March 16.

Free Kicks

  • After getting married, Orlando Pride defender Emily Madril will have a new name on the back of her jersey this season.
  • Former Pride midfielder Becky Edwards is an assistant coach at the University of Tennessee and shared details about her time as both a player and coach with the U.S. U-20 team.
  • Enjoy this captured moment of Orlando midfielder Wilder Cartagena being awesome.
  • LAFC forward Mateusz Bogusz’s strike against the Seattle Sounders won the first MLS Goal of the Matchday of the season, claiming 35.4% of the vote.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a pretty great Leap Day and that the rest of the week goes smoothly.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/28/24

Orlando City moves on in Champions Cup, Orlando Pride unveil new kits, USMNT to play Brazil in Orlando, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope you all enjoyed watching Orlando City’s win Tuesday night in the Concacaf Champions Cup. I’ve been staying busy at Under Armour, while wrapping up covering high school basketball playoff action with the state championship this weekend. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Defeats Cavalry FC in Concacaf Champions Cup

The Lions took care of business on Tuesday, defeating Cavalry FC 3-1 at Inter&Co Stadium to advance 6-1 on aggregate and reach the round of 16 in the Concacaf Champions Cup. Forward Luis Muriel got his first start as a Lion, and there was plenty of rotation from the lineup Head Coach Oscar Pareja used against CF Montreal this past weekend. It was Orlando’s first home win in the continental tournament and the Lions will face Tigres in the next round in a rematch of their series in last year’s Concacaf Champions League. The first match will be in Orlando on Tuesday, with the second leg taking place in Mexico on March 12.

Orlando Pride Unveil New Phoenix and Citrus Kits

The Orlando Pride unveiled two new kits on Tuesday as part of the NWSL’s league-wide kit reset ahead of the upcoming season. The first kit is called the Phoenix kit, which features the Pride’s two recognizable colors, purple and blue. The Phoenix kit also features a two-toned purple gradient that goes from the top right to bottom left on the jersey.

The secondary Citrus Kit is an all new color scheme that pays tribute to Florida’s citrus industry. The Citrus Kit features a new orange and iced-out green color scheme with oranges and leaves, while the letters and numbers have the same green coloring. The socks have “Pride” handwritten on the back, while a stylized “OP” is on the lower end of the jersey.

Both kits will be unveiled during the kit party at the Orlando Regional History Center later today. Fans can purchase replicas of the two new jerseys at ShopOrlandoPride.com, in the Den at Inter&Co Stadium, and on NWSLShop.com.

Philadelphia Union Advance Past Deportivo Saprissa

The Philadelphia Union survived a wild match against Deportivo Saprissa at Subaru Park, securing a 3-3 draw to advance to the next round on aggregate. There were four goals in the first 30 minutes of the match, and Mariano Torres gave Saprissa a needed third goal in the second half to send the game to extra time. Despite playing a man down after defender Jack Elliot was sent off, the Union’s Mikael Uhre scored in extra time and the defense held on to advance. There is more Concacaf Champions League action tonight, as FC Cincinnati takes on Cavalier SC, already up 2-0 on aggregate, while Nashville SC faces Moca FC with a 3-0 aggregate lead. The New England Revolution will host Independiente tomorrow.

USMNT to Play Brazil at Camping World Stadium

The United States Men’s National Team will play Brazil in the second edition of the Continental Clasico on June 12 at Camping World Stadium. Both teams will use this match to test themselves in preparation for the Copa America this summer. This will be the first meeting between these two sides since 2018, when the USMNT lost 2-0 to Brazil in a friendly at MetLife Stadium. In the first edition of the Continental Clasico last April, the USMNT played Mexico in a thrilling 1-1 draw. The USMNT has only beaten Brazil once in 19 matches, but its record in Orlando has been stellar, with a 7-2-0 record in recent years. The 2024 Copa America will kick off on June 20.

Free Kicks

  • The latest MLS power rankings have been released after opening week. Orlando City dropped three places to eighth after a scoreless draw against CF Montreal this past weekend.
  • The Orlando Pride’s Rafaelle started and scored a goal in Brazil’s win against Panama in the Concacaf W Gold Cup. Pride forward Adriana came off the bench for Brazil as well.
  • USMNT captain Tyler Adams is back at training with AFC Bournemouth. Adams has been sidelined since last September with a hamstring injury.

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/27/24

Dagur Dan Thorhallsson named to Team of the Matchday, Orlando City hosts Cavalry FC tonight, USWNT loses to Mexico, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Orlando City might not have gotten the result we were hoping for to start MLS play, but it’s a long season and it isn’t easy to play on two fronts when coming back from a long layoff. The Lions will get a chance to get back to winning ways tonight when they face Cavalry FC in Concacaf Champions Cup play. As usual, we have a lot to talk about, so let’s get after it.

Dagur Dan Named to MLS Team of the Matchday

Dagur Dan Thorhallsson has been recognized for his efforts in Orlando City’s opening game against CF Montreal with a place in the MLS Team of the Matchday. He got the start at right back and came on strong in the second half, completing three key passes and 88% of his passes on the night. He also completed a cross, a long ball, and took a team-high four shots, although he only put one on target. Sean Rollins gave him a grade of 6 out of 10 on the night, making him one of the highest-rated Lions not named Pedro Gallese.

Orlando City Chases History

Orlando City already made history last week when the team earned its first ever Concacaf Champions Cup victory with a 3-0 win over Cavalry FC. Tonight, the Lions are looking to make a little more history by earning the club’s first home victory in the competition, as well as advancing to the next round for the first time. OCSC put itself in a good position to do exactly that, as a win, draw, or a loss by two goals or fewer will be enough to see the good guys through to the next round. Orlando defender Kyle Smith shared his thoughts on tonight’s match.

The Calgary Herald provided an interesting look at tonight’s game from the view of the visitors as well. After falling at Starlight Stadium, the Canadian club heads to a tough environment in Orlando as the underdog.

USWNT Falls to Mexico

The United States Women’s National Team lost its final game of the Concacaf W Gold Cup group stage, falling 2-0 to Mexico. Lizbeth Ovalle gave Mexico the lead in the first half and Mayra Pelayo put the nail in the coffin with another goal in stoppage time. It was the USWNT’s first time losing at home against a Concacaf team in 23 years, and first time being beaten by Mexico since 2010. It was a rough game for the USWNT, as it struggled on both sides of the ball. As a result of this loss, the U.S. finish second in its group and will play in the quarterfinals this weekend.

Americans in Midweek Action

There are a number of United States Men’s National Team players taking part in games during the working week, so make sure you don’t miss any of the action. Tomorrow sees Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessmann, and Venezia host Cittadella in Serie B action, while Giovanni Reyna, Matt Turner, and Nottingham Forest host Manchester United in the FA Cup. Things finish up on Friday, with Christian Pulisic, Yunus Musah, and AC Milan facing Lazio in Serie A, and Folarin Balogun and Monaco facing off against Paris Saint-Germain.

Free Kicks

  • Forward Luis Muriel is available for selection tonight and could make his Orlando City debut.
  • Orlando Pride forward Mariana Larroquette started and had an assist in Argentina’s 3-0 win over the Dominican Republic.

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

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