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Lion Links: 8/3/18



What’s up, Mane Landers? The Tournament of Nations has come to a close and attention now turns to this weekend’s action, with both Orlando City and the Pride playing here in Orlando. Both teams will be looking to get results at Orlando City Stadium as their seasons head into the home stretch. It should be a great next couple of days, so let’s kick them off with some links!

Justin Meram Reportedly Headed Back to Columbus

Reports came out yesterday that Justin Meram will be traded back to the Columbus Crew after just six months with Orlando City. Sam Stejskal of writes that the Crew would send $750,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and a 2019 international slot to Orlando for Meram after already selling him to the Lions earlier this January for $1.05 million in combined allocation money. Essentially, the Lions paid $300,00 for six months of service from Meram. In that time, Meram had only scored one goal apiece in MLS and the U.S. Open Cup, and could not seem to find his form in Orlando. The Lions and the Crew will meet later this season in Orlando City’s last regular season home game, with Meram possibly on the opposing side.

Orlando City Hires Assistant Coach

Sean McAuley has joined Orlando City’s coaching staff after seven seasons as the assistant coach for the Portland Timbers. This isn’t the first meeting between McAuley and Orlando City Head Coach James O’Connor as McAuley actually coached O’Connor when he was a player for Sheffield Wednesday from 2008-2011. Part of the staff that won the Timbers the MLS Cup in 2015, the 47-year-old assistant coach hopes to bring a winning attitude to Orlando when he joins the Lions some time next week.

USWNT Wins 2018 Tournament of Nations

The United States Women’s National Team has won the Tournament of Nations after beating Brazil, 4-1, to edge out Australia by goal differential. Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan finished as the top scorer of the tournament, with four goals in three games. Morgan’s last goal was the last of the competition as she got on the end of a set piece cross by Megan Rapinoe to put the USWNT comfortably up by three goals. There was a little scare late in the game when Morgan had to be taken off the field after what looked like an ankle issue, but it doesn’t seem serious as she was seen celebrating fine after the victory.

For Brazil, Marta and Monica both started while Poliana and Camila came off the bench but the Brazilians were unable to upset the Yanks, with Brazil’s lone goal coming from an own goal by the U.S.

In the earlier game between Australia and Japan, the Matildas scored twice in the second half to win 2-0 and finish second in the tournament. Pride defender Alanna Kennedy scored the first goal for Australia with a perfect free kick that snuck into the bottom left corner of the goal. Sam Kerr scored to secure the win and although they did not win the tournament, the Matildas exit unbeaten with their heads held high.

Niki Budalic Assesses Orlando City Transfer Plans

With the summer transfer window ending on Aug. 8, Orlando City General Manager Niki Budalic fielded questions in regard to the Lions’ transfer plans. So far, the Lions have only added center back Shane O’Neill to the squad while the team has lost 12 of its 13 games. The hiring of James O’Connor came at an inopportune time as he tries to evaluate his players and identify areas that need improvement while the transfer deadline looms. Regardless of the complications from a new coaching hire, Budalic is optimistic that the Lions will straighten things out, even if that means not bolstering the squad and just getting more out of the players already on the team.

United States Men’s National Team Schedules October Friendly

The USMNT’s slate of games this fall just got even more enticing with a friendly scheduled against Colombia on Oct. 11 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. Colombia is the fifth of an expected six opponents that the Yanks will face off against before 2018 ends, joining heavyweight teams like Brazil and England. The last time the U.S. played against Colombia was in the Copa America Centenario in 2016, when the U.S. lost two times against its South American foes.

Free Kicks

  • With a tough stretch of games ahead as the NWSL season’s end nears, Orlando Pride defender Toni Pressley believes the Pride will rise to the pressure and are ready to get back on the field this Sunday against Sky Blue FC.

  • Ex-Orlando City striker Cyle Larin has kicked off his 2018 campaign with Turkish club Besiktas on the right foot, scoring a hat trick in a 6-0 win against a B36 Torshavn of the Faroe Islands. Congratulations to Cyle as he leads his team into the third qualifying round of the Europa League.
  • The Orlando SeaWolves of the Major Arena Soccer League have added a third former Lion to their squad by signing defender Tyler Turner. The 22-year-old joins Lewis Neal and Johnny Mendoza as former Orlando players to become SeaWolves.
  • Speaking of past members of Orlando City on the move, former Orlando Vice President of Soccer Operations Paul McDonough is headed to Miami to help David Beckham with his still unnamed new MLS team. Jumping from Orlando to Atlanta and now to Miami, it is nice to see that one of the league’s top executives is dedicated to making the south a popular place for soccer. Congrats, Paul!
  • James O’Connor’s old team has found a new head coach as Louisville FC has appointed John Hackworth to take over.
  • 17-year-old Alphonso Davies has won MLS Goal of the Week for his strike against Minnesota United in the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-2 victory over the Loons. Davies’ well-placed shot was only overshadowed by his footwork as he sent a defender the wrong way with a beautiful cutback.
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic was rightfully named MLS Player of the Week for his hat trick against Orlando last Sunday night. Although it is a sour feeling losing to Zlatan and the LA Galaxy 4-3, there is a small comfort that comes knowing it took an incredible performance by one of the league’s best players to defeat the Lions.
  • Regarding the other team in Los Angeles, LAFC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye will miss the remainder of the 2018 season.

  • Reports have surfaced about the future of Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal throughout yesterday, with a move to Barcelona being a “done deal”.
  • We end our links with a little remix put together by our past contributor and current Orlando City writer Austin David about how Dom Dwyer is feeling. Our managing editor told him to give it a beat and Austin ran with it.

That’s all from me, folks. Make sure to check back in later today for more coverage of soccer here in the City Beautiful. Vamos Orlando!

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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