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Lion Links: 10/20/18

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Good morning, Lion Nation. We have no game today so you can relax literally all of Saturday away. The Lions are back in action tomorrow afternoon in their final home match of 2018 against Justin Meram and the Columbus Crew. It could be eventful.

If you’re on the fence about attending, keep in mind we have no idea what kind of movement we’ll see this off-season so this could be a final chance to get a look at some of your favorite lads in purple while they are still, you know, in purple. Go have yourself an afternoon at a gorgeous stadium and let’s see what happens. I’m keeping an open mind but expecting the worst, that way I can be pleasantly surprised if good things happen.

Let’s dive into the news of the day, but first, big time congrats to Orlando City goalkeeper Earl Edwards, Jr. are in order.

Camila Goes Home for Off-Season

Brazilian international Camila, the Orlando Pride’s breakout star of 2017 who suffered a nasty knee injury at the end of that season and never quite bounced back in the latter half of 2018 following her return, is going home. Camila signed a short-term contract with Brazilian side Esporte Clube Iranduba da Amazônia through the end of the calendar year. The Pride has offered Camila a new contract ahead of the 2019 NWSL season and it is expected that she’ll return to wear purple again. This move is great because it gives the Brazilian an opportunity to get minutes and hopefully find her form prior to the Pride’s 2019 campaign. Severe knee injuries can take a while to fully bounce back from, so this could give her an opportunity to regain her full range of motion so that she can get back to scoring wondergoals and making defenders look silly next season.

Orlando Pride Season Awards Announced

Fans of the Orlando Pride have selected the team’s awards for the 2018 NWSL season (all but the Golden Boot, which goes to the player who scored the most goals — in this year’s case, Sydney Leroux). Marta won team MVP and Goal of the Year, which isn’t shocking. In fact, the picks didn’t reveal many surprises, but you’ll need to click the link above to see the full list and watch a video of many of the winning selections.

Orlando City B Roster Building Underway, First Signings Could Come Soon

According to Orlando City B GM Mike Potempa, OCB’s roster will be fully signed by Dec. 31. The entire roster for the development side has to be put together from the ground up and that’s no small task but it’s something that Potempa and OCB Head Coach Fernando Jose De Argila Irurita have been working on. Potempa said they’re close on a few and that he believes some have a clear path to the MLS side.

“We’ve had our eye on a few [development academy players] that I think have remained constant that we figure yes, we would like to add them. These two particular players have been very consistent across the board. Very high-level players that I think should be considered for the first team within one or two years, in my opinion.”

The OCB roster may include up to seven internationals per league rules.

Granitur Showing Promise in Orlando City Development Academy

You know you’re doing something good when you’re a U-15 player getting call-ups to an MLS academy’s U-19 team. Such was the case for Luc Granitur this season and the youngster even got a call-up to the U.S. U-16/U-17 team June camp and played in a friendly. It’s always good to see who will be included in the next wave of future Lions and it sounds like Granitur is on such a trajectory. As for his thoughts on the club’s academy setup at Montverde, he had this to say:

“[The coaches] care about you as a person first. They make sure we’re good people and I believe when we’re good people, we’re going to be better players,” Granitur said. “We haven’t been here a year yet and I can already see I’ve improved a lot, gotten a lot of opportunities playing here.”

That’s great to hear. I’ll admit I have my own concerns about Orlando City’s academy setup so it’s always good to hear the players believe they are improving.

Will a Washington Youth Club Get Paid for Developing DeAndre Yedlin?

FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber will decide whether DeAndre Yedlin’s youth club, Crossfire Premier, should receive solidarity payments for the USMNT star’s transfer from the Seattle Sounders to Tottenham. Solidarity payments are compensation to youth clubs for developing players. This should be interesting to follow since the USSF opposes solidarity payments due to potential conflicts with child labor and antitrust laws in this country.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City SC wants to see your Lions-themed jack-o-lantern and you could win stuff for showing off your Halloween handiwork.

  • Five suspensions and a whole lot of fines were handed out by MLS as a result of the Minnesota United and Colorado Rapids fracas. Former Lion Harrison Heath got two games.
  • When we last saw Edison Flores, he was sticking a dagger of an equalizer against the USMNT into the net for Peru in Connecticut a few days ago. Well, it turns out he’s got some interest in joining MLS. If only we knew of a team friendly to Peruvians.
  • This might be relevant to Orlando City fans: how alcohol (and our ability to process it) has changed over the last 10 million years.
  • Those born on this date include baseball legend Mickey Mantle (1931), Tom Petty (1950), actor Viggo “Aragorn” Mortensen (1958), longtime Texas Rangers’ slugger Juan Gonzalez (1969), Snoop Dogg (1971), and actor John Krasinski (1979).

That’s it for me today, folks. Enjoy your weekend and hopefully I’ll see you at the stadium tomorrow.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/12/24

Orlando Pride play in Utah tonight, Orlando City B earns a point, Europa League quarterfinals begin, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Happy Friday! I hope this week has gone smoothly for you as we gear up for even more Orlando soccer tonight and tomorrow. It should be a nice next few days, even if I’m working for most of it. I don’t have many plans outside of work beyond bonding with my cat and trying a new stuffed bread recipe. Let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world!

Orlando Pride Play the Utah Royals Tonight

The Orlando Pride are on the road tonight for a showdown with the Utah Royals at 9:30 p.m., and you can catch the game on NWSL+ or through Bally Sports if you’re local. Although the Royals are an expansion team this year, the Pride last squared off against the previous Royals back in 2019, with Orlando losing all three games to Utah that season. This season, the Pride are riding a three-game unbeaten streak. However, they are also still on the hunt for their first win after three consecutive draws. While the offense awaits the arrival of Zambian striker Barbra Banda, the Pride have managed to score off of a set piece in each of their three games so far. While a draw on the road wouldn’t be awful by any means, hopefully the Pride can get a solid tally in the win column tonight.

Orlando City B Draws Philadelphia Union II

OCB went on the road to take on Philadelphia Union II and earned a single point after a 1-1 draw and penalty shootout. The two teams traded goals in the first half, but the Young Lions were on the back foot for most of the second half. While Orlando’s offense sputtered, the defense survived chance after chance from Philadelphia to send the game to a shootout. Orlando lost the lengthy shootout, 7-6, claiming just one point, but at least the Young Lions didn’t leave Pennsylvania empty handed. Hopefully OCB can return to its winning ways when it faces off with Crown Legacy FC on April 19.

New York City FC Stadium Plans Finally Approved

Plans to build a soccer-specific stadium in Queens for new grounds for New York City FC were approved by New York City officials. It will be a $780 million stadium expected to open in 2027 and serves as the centerpiece of a redevelopment project in the neighborhood. The 25,000-seat stadium will be right next to Citi Field, which has been one of the many home venues for NYCFC over the years since joining as an expansion side alongside Orlando City in 2015. It’s a bit wild that this stadium is set to open 10 years after Orlando christened its own soccer-specific stadium back in 2017. At least the Lions won’t have to play road games at baseball stadiums for much longer.

Europa League Quarterfinals Kick Off

The Europa League quarterfinals are underway, with the remaining eight teams squaring off in the first legs of their matchups. In England, Atalanta leaned on a brace from Gianluca Scamacca and stellar defense to win 3-0 against Liverpool. Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten streak stretched to 42 games after it beat West Ham United 2-0, thanks to a pair of late goals. The first match between Italian clubs AC Milan and Roma went to the visitors, as Roma scored early on and held on for a 1-0 win at San Siro. The only quarterfinal that wasn’t a shutout took place in Portugal, with Benfica beating Marseille, 2-1. The second legs will all take place at the same time next week, which should make for an exciting Thursday afternoon of soccer.

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/11/24

Learning more about Morgan Gautrat, OCB plays tonight, Champions League action, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I’m having a fairly stressful but great week after adopting my first cat and getting him all set up here. It may take a few weeks to turn him into a loyal Orlando soccer fan, but I have high hopes. Regardless, I’m looking forward to the gauntlet of games with Orlando City B playing today, the Orlando Pride tomorrow, and Orlando City on Saturday. Let’s get to the links!

Getting to Know Morgan Gautrat

Orlando Pride midfielder Morgan Gautrat was the latest player to field questions as part of the video series for fans to learn more about the players who wear purple. She weighed in on how she changed her game once she transitioned to the United States Women’s National Team at age 19, going from a playmaking attacker to a player who slots in deeper in the midfield. Gautrat brings leadership, experience, and a strong skillset to a young Pride team that’s built a strong culture around it. She also spoke on how Florida is her soccer home, what her spirit animal is, and the team’s aspirations this season.

Orlando City B Takes On Philadelphia Union II

The Young Lions are on the road today at 4 p.m. for an MLS NEXT Pro match against Philadelphia Union II. OCB last played in Chester, PA in last year’s season opener, winning 3-1 in an impressive victory. The team will hope for a similar result tonight to get back on track after a loss to Inter Miami II earlier this month. Philadelphia has yet to lose in regulation this season and has won both of its home matches. It should be a tough match for the Young Lions, but a great chance to climb back up the Eastern Conference standings for them.

Assessing USWNT After SheBelieves Cup Win

The United States Women’s National Team is moving towards the Olympics with plenty of momentum after winning the SheBelieves Cup and Concacaf W Gold Cup. There were plenty of parallels between the SheBelieves Cup final and the Gold Cup semifinal against Canada, one was just a bit more waterlogged. Canada used a late penalty to send the game to penalty kicks, Sophia Smith scored, and Alyssa Naeher stood on her head in the penalty shootout. The key differences were that Mallory Swanson has given the attack some needed dynamism after returning, and the defense struggles without Naomi Girma to anchor it. It was also Twila Kilgore’s final game as the USWNT’s interim head coach, and now attention will turn towards how Emma Hayes can elevate the team once she takes over.

Champions League Quarterfinals Roll On

Atletico Madrid and Barcelona both won in their first legs of the Champions League quarterfinals, although neither match was a blowout. Atletico Madrid hosted Borussia Dortmund and scored twice in the first half. Dortmund brought one back in the second half, but Atletico Madrid held on to secure a 2-1 win. The road team completed the comeback in the other match though, with Barcelona winning a 3-2 thriller against Paris Saint-Germain that included four goals in the second half. All in all, this was a great round of quarterfinal first legs filled with plenty of goals, and the second legs next week should be pretty entertaining.

Free Kicks

  • Andrew Wiebe was the latest analyst to dive into Orlando’s attacking woes this season. I personally think things will naturally improve once the team gets some rest under its belt and Luis Muriel settles in. I agree with Wiebe though that Wilder Cartagena and Cesar Araujo must return to form.
  • The Champions League shouldn’t overshadow a strong slate of Europa League quarterfinals today. My favorite matchup of the four would have to be the Italian showdown between AC Milan and Roma.
  • English forward Rachel Daly announced that she is retiring from international soccer. The 32-year-old scored 22 goals last season with Aston Villa and has scored 16 goals in 84 appearances with England.
  • Midfielder Dillon Serna is hanging up his cleats at age 30 after a career that included time with the Colorado Rapids and Colorado Springs Switchbacks.
  • Manchester City’s Rodri is feeling the wear and tear of his team’s pursuit for silverware. Rest may be hard to come by for him during a congested schedule, and he hasn’t lost in the past 66 games he’s played in.
  • Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy shared the struggle he had after retiring, providing details on his drug addiction and the despair felt after he quit playing.

That’s all I have for you today on this fine Thursday. Treat yourself to something you deserve, check in with a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, and have a great day!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/10/24

MLS Earth Day kits are in, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson gets noticed, U.S. wins SheBelieves Cup, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. Time to start your day with some tasty links. Orlando City and the Pride are back in action this weekend, and OCB has a match tomorrow. That means plenty of goodness to end the week. Three straight days of Orlando matches is something for which to be grateful. Let’s get to the links.

Orlando City’s Greener Goals

Orlando City joins the other clubs in MLS in celebrating Earth Day with the Greener Goals week of service. Each club will volunteer time to help the environment. The club has two cleanups scheduled, including one in the area around the stadium in which fans can contribute to the effort. Additionally, all the clubs will have special One Planet pre-match kits. The kits are made from recycled materials and represent either soil, woods, or water. I’m guessing that the Orlando City kit is of the soil variety.

Dagur Dan is Da Man

The Mane Land PawedCast isn’t the only outfit noticing that Dagur Dan Thorhallsson is a force to be reckoned with. To be fair, he had some struggles during Orlando City’s hectic start to the season. Once he was rested, he was back in form and others outside of Orlando are taking notice. It’s not particularly surprising given his very nice right foot on crosses, his ability to take on opponents, and his ability to get back on defense. I’m looking forward to more from him because I don’t want no Fop! I’m a Dagur Dan man!

Barbra Banda Sends Zambia to the Olympics

After a 2-1 loss to Morocco in the first leg, Zambia bounced back with a 2-0 road win in the second leg to qualify for this summer’s Olympics. Orlando Pride forward Barbra Banda scored twice in the match, including a penalty in extra time to secure the win on aggregate. It’s the second straight trip to the Olympics for Zambia, with Banda scoring six goals in the group stage of the last Olympics. This year, Zambia is in a tough group against the U.S., Germany, and Australia, but has the talent to make a run.

Once Upon a What?

Once Upon a Coconut is now the official coconut water sponsor of Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and Inter&Co Stadium. If you’re like me, your first response was, “I was unaware that official coconut water sponsors were a thing.” Well, they are, and now the club is a leader in this exciting new frontier. All kidding aside, sponsors mean money for the club, which is a good thing, and the product will be available to sample in the Mane Street Plaza Fan Zone. Drink up, me hearties!

USWNT Wins the SheBelieves Cup

It took the USWNT all the way to penalty kicks to finally win the 2024 SheBelieves Cup, defeating Canada 2-2 (5-4). Canada struck first before the U.S. took the lead on a Sophia Smith brace. Canada equalized late on a soft penalty conceded by Crystal Dunn, and the match went to spot kicks to decide things. Despite missing the first shot, the U.S. eventually won, thanks to three saves by Alyssa Naeher, who also contributed a goal in the shootout.

In the third-place match, Brazil and Japan also went to penalty kicks, with Brazil winning the shootout 3-0 after a 1-1 draw, with Lorena saving all three of Japan’s penalty kicks. Cristiane scored the equalizer for Brazil in the 71st minute to ultimately send the game to penalties. The Orlando Pride’s Angelina and Marta played for Brazil.

Racial Abuse in El Trafico

Following LAFC’s 2-1 victory over the LA Galaxy Saturday, the Galaxy’s Ghanaian forward, Joseph Paintsil, was the victim of online racial abuse. Reportedly, an LAFC fan used a derogatory slur and criticized Paintsil’s performance in the match. MLS, the Galaxy, and LAFC all condemned the incident. The parties are continuing to work with local authorities to hold the person accountable.

To be very clear, as far as I’m concerned, there is no room for this in soccer or anywhere. No racism, no homophobia, no transphobia — just stop being horrible.

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That will do it for today. Remember to check back daily as we get you ready for all the upcoming matches. Vamos Orlando!

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