Happy Sunday, everyone. It’s a big day for the sport we love with three MLS conference semifinal match-ups coming today in Atlanta, New Jersey, and Kansas City. If any of these matches are half as entertaining as Seattle-Portland, we’re all in for a treat.
Later this week, we’ll get to cheer on the U.S. national teams as the women visit Scotland and the men head to England. Meanwhile, the SeaWolves became an actual team last night as the MASL side played its first match in a friendly against Brazil — more on that later. The point is that even without the Lions or Pride still playing, it’s nice to have plenty of the beautiful game to watch.
Let’s get to the news of the day.
Orlando SeaWolves Beat Brazil in First Match
The Orlando SeaWolves took part in their first-ever match last night at Silver Spurs Arena in a friendly match against the Brazil National Minifootball Team, winning by a 3-2 final score in overtime. Head Coach Tom Traxler’s boys include a few ex-Orlando City players — Lewis Neal, Luke Boden, Tyler Turner, and Jonathan Mendoza, who all played. Orlando fell behind early but Gordy Gurson scored the first-ever goal in team history late in the second quarter (they have quarters in the indoor game) to tie things up at 1-1 before halftime. Brazil regained the lead just after the start of the second half and Luiz Mota tied it up again before the end of the third. That’s the way regulation ended, triggering a 10-minute overtime. The game was decided on a golden goal by Rafa Tobias.
Orlando City Head Coach James O’Connor performed the ceremonial first kick, and some of Lions decided to go check it out.
Orlando City players as spectators during tonight’s SeaWolves game include: PC and Pierre Da Silva.
— Mike Gramajo (@byMikeGramajo) November 11, 2018
In the first game of yesterday’s international challenge double-header, the Colombia National Minifootball Team came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Brazil National U-21 squad, 6-5. It’s fun to have soccer events in Central Florida, even if I couldn’t attend this time around.
USWNT Will Get World Cup Warm-Up
The United States Women’s National Team will play a road friendly against France on Jan. 19 in their first test of the 2019 calendar year. The French, of course, are hosting the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, so it will be an important business trip for the USWNT, giving the Yanks a look at Stade Océane in Le Havre and at the team that will be one of the favorites to capture the World Cup. The United States will want to defend its world championship next summer and getting battle tested early should help with that.
Ubogagu Happy After First International Goal
Orlando Pride’s Chioma Ubogagu made her international debut with England earlier this week and scored her first goal on her debut. Chi spoke to orlandocitysc.com about the accomplishment.
“They were just buzzing for me,” Ubogagu said of their reaction after she scored. “It was really nice that they were genuinely excited for me and I could feel it. It was pretty amazing.”
Chi had some interesting things to say about her call-up to the USWNT last year that didn’t result in a cap, so be sure to check out the linked story. She and the Lionesses will take on Sweden today.
Orlando Pride’s Monica, Camila Feature for Brazil
Monica started at center back and Camila came off the bench but Brazil fell 3-1 in an international friendly against World Cup host France on Saturday. The match took place in Nice and Marta sat this one out as she was not called up for it. Orlando Pride defender Poliana was on the bench but did not play.
The Future of the USMNT
With the U-20 Concacaf Championship underway, Alex Showell over at Stars and Stripes FC takes a look at the U.S. youth team’s top six prospects for the senior national team. We’ve seen a couple of these guys already in MLS action but there might be one or two you’re not familiar with. If you’re like me, you enjoy keeping an eye on who might be coming down the pipeline for the USMNT in the years to come and this is a solid list of some guys we might be seeing later on down the road.
- ProSoccerUSA asks, “what can Alphonso Davies add to Bayern Munich?”
- Leicester City fans paid tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha prior to the club’s first home game since the club chairman was lost in a helicopter crash. Touching scenes.
Leicester supporters and players have been paying tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha ahead of today's match against Burnley.
It's their first home match since he and four others passed away in a helicopter crash. pic.twitter.com/tAWPc77Aun
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) November 10, 2018
- The much-anticipated Copa Libertadores final first leg between Boca Juniors and River Plate was postponed due to heavy rains. The makeup date is today. Enjoy!
- Those born on this date include General George S. Patton (1885), Kurt Vonnegut (1922), comedic actor Jonathan Winters (1925), XTC singer/guitarist Andy Partridge (1953), actor Stanley Tucci (1960), Demi Moore (1962), Leonardo DiCaprio (1974), retired Germany/Bayern star Philipp Lahm (1983), and Seattle Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso (1985).
That’s all my time for today, folks. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend and the playoff matches later today. I leave you with more footage of Dom Dwyer working with Eddie Johnson — this time working on quick movements in the final third.
View this post on Instagram
@ddwyer14 in the lab preparing for next season now. Some final third movement with and without the ball focusing on first touch,dribbling and finding a combination to create opportunities for himself on goal. Working on this specifically bc we all know his movement in the box and his ability to get on the end of crosses headers first time finishes with both feet to score goals has proven to be one of the best in the league and country but when the service isn’t there and teams take that away then his ability to be intelligent in and around the 18 hard box and find solutions for himself we want to add that dimension to his game more which will add to his tally of goals a season great session today mate looking sharp🤙🏾🤙🏾⚽️⚽️ @freekickcenter
Lion Links: 9/23/22
Lions and Herons meet again, Carly Nelson is writing a book, NWSL free agency opens, and more.
Happy Founder’s Day, Mane Landers! It was on this day in 2014 that our fearless leader and Managing Editor Michael Citro started our first ever WordPress website. It’s safe to say that I’m sure The Mane Land has impacted your life as much as it has mine over the years, whether that be through daily reading or weekly podcasts. Cheers to Michael and all those who have come before me.
In my own personal news, I have been grinding away on the new EA FC 24 (the franchise formerly known as EA’s FIFA.) So far, the gameplay and updates have been great in my initial 15+ hours of play, and my online Ultimate Team is starting to really take its shape. I’m sure in a couple weeks that I’ll transition to a traditional Career Mode and take the Lions all the way to an MLS Cup and beyond.
Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a very happy birthday to everyone’s favorite defensive midfielder, Wilder Cartagena!
Third Bout for Orlando City and Inter Miami
Orlando City and Inter Miami have already met twice this campaign. Sunday’s match will look to break the deadlock between the two rivals as both clubs have a victory to their name in this year’s series. In May, the Lions grabbed a 3-1 victory over the Fort Lauderdale-based club. The two sides met for a second time in the knockout round of Leagues Cup 2023 with Inter Miami taking the 3-1 result at DRV PNK Stadium. No matter the result this time around, Orlando City has already clinched a playoff spot, however, the Herons need every point they can get to attempt to do the same.
Carly Nelson, Goalkeeper and Author
It isn’t unheard of to learn that an athlete might have tried another sport before finding soccer, Orlando Pride goalkeeper Carly Nelson came from a background of gymnastics, tennis, basketball, and baseball before her father started a club soccer team with her in mind. While Nelson might have idolized USWNT legend Hope Solo as a child, she started her playing days as a forward, winger, and midfielder. Outside of protecting the Pride’s net, Nelson is spending time writing a book about her life growing up in Utah and the issues her family faced to hopefully help others that might find themselves in similar situations.
NWSL Opens 2024 Free Agency
The National Women’s Soccer League has officially opened the league’s unrestricted and restricted free agency periods. In accordance with the NWSL Players’ Association’s collective bargaining agreement, eligible free agents can begin negotiations for their 2024 Standard Player Agreements. Players eligible for unrestricted free agency include all who have at least five years of service within the NWSL and contracts expiring in 2023, while players eligible for restricted free agency include those who have at least three years of service. For the Orlando Pride, defender Kylie Strom is set to be an unrestricted free agent and midfielder Jordyn Listro is under restricted terms. Any club that currently holds the rights of a restricted free agent has a seven-day period to match an incoming offer from another club or else the player may sign with the new club under the terms of the offer.
USMNT’s Tyler Adams Nearing Return
Tyler Adams will not make his Bournemouth debut this weekend, but he could return as early as next week. Bournemouth’s manager, Andoni Iraola, provided a positive update on the U.S. Men’s National Team captain as he finishes up rehabbing a long-term hamstring injury.
“He has started this week at least to train partially with the group, so probably we can have a chance of having him next week or two weeks, something like this. Tyler is really close because once you start training partially with the group, it’s a matter of sensations, and if you are physically good enough. He has a very good physical base. So I think it will take not a long time to see Tyler with the team.”
Adams has not played since March after having a hamstring surgery. Even with a known injury, the 24-year-old still completed a move from Leeds United to Bournemouth following Leeds’ relegation to keep him in the top flight.
MLS Weekend Preview
Aside from the Florida derby, there are plenty of matches to be excited about around the league this weekend. Personally, I’m looking forward to catching a bit of the D.C. United and New York Red Bulls match. Manager Wayne Rooney’s club is right on the bubble in a tight Eastern Conference race while the Red Bulls can do themselves a huge service and come back into the playoff picture with a win. Out in the Western Conference, there is a real buzz around a Portland Timbers squad after a manager sacking. It could be a huge win for the Timbers and likely push them above the play-in round should they find a result against the Colorado Rapids.
- FC Cincinnati has signed its captain Luciano Acosta to a contract extension through the 2026 MLS season with an option for 2027.
- For the third-straight vote, an Inter Miami player has Goal of the Matchday honors as Robert Taylor got 44.5% of the vote for Matchday 33.
- FC Cincinnati wingback Álvaro Barreal has been nominated for the 2023 FIFA Púskas Award and is only the second-ever MLS player to earn a nomination after Zlatan Ibrahimovic became the first in 2019 with the LA Galaxy.
- The United States, Mexico, and Canada are joining forces to tackle any “collusive schemes” involving goods or services connected to the 2026 FIFA World Cup in an effort to avoid exploitation of the major event.
- Athletico Paranaense’s18-year-old Vitor Roque has likely played his last game for the club before his move to Barcelona after the striker has reportedly torn ligaments in his right ankle.
That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a fantastic Saturday. Be safe on Sunday at the match. Stay hydrated and look out for those around you. Vamos Orlando!
Lion Links: 9/22/23
Orlando City prepares for Inter Miami, MLS NEXT Pro Decision Day is Sunday, USWNT wins against South Africa, and much more.
Happy Friday! It’s been a pretty busy week of apartment hunting and work for me, so I’m looking forward to some rest and relaxation this weekend. I don’t have many plans, but I did make sure to carve out a few hours to make a drink and get some reading done. My book club is fairly low maintenance, but I’ll be behind if I don’t finish Fourth Wing before the second book in the series comes out in November. Let’s get into today’s links!
Orlando City Takes On Inter Miami This Weekend
Following a 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC earlier this week, Orlando City will aim to bounce back when it hosts rival Inter Miami this Sunday. Orlando has a chance to set club records for the most wins and points in a season since it joined MLS in 2015. It will be the third meeting between the two clubs this season, with Orlando beating Miami 3-1 in May before falling 3-1 in the Leagues Cup’s knockout stage. Although Miami will be without Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba according to Head Coach Tata Martino, the Herons still have plenty of attacking talent in the form of Sergio Busquets, Leonardo Campana, and Josef Martinez.
Orlando City B Readies for MLS NEXT Pro Decision Day
Sunday will also be the final day of the MLS NEXT Pro regular season, with nearly every team in action. Here’s everything you need to know about Decision Day across the league, with playoff spots still up for grabs. Orlando City B has already clinched its spot in the postseason, but can secure fifth in the Eastern Conference when it takes on FC Cincinnati 2. However, the difference between fifth and a lower seed won’t matter too much due to a new rule this year where the second and third seed in each conference choose which lower seed it wants to host in the playoffs. The Golden Boot race is competitive as well, with OCB’s Jack Lynn tied at the top with New York City FC II’s Matt Myers. We’ll see if Lynn takes part in Sunday’s match after giving the first team needed depth last weekend.
USWNT Beats South Africa in Julie Ertz’s Finale
The United States Women’s National Team won 3-0 against South Africa in the first of two friendlies this month. All three of the USWNT’s goals came in the first half, with Lynn Williams bagging a brace. In her final USWNT game, Julie Ertz started and earned plenty of applause from the crowd at TQL Stadium when she was subbed off in the 36h minute. M.A. Vignola made her USWNT debut in the match as well, coming on at halftime. The two nations will play again on Sunday in what will be forward Megan Rapinoe’s last game with the USWNT.
Europa League Group Stage Kicks Off
The first round of Europa League group stage matches is over, with all 32 teams getting things started across Europe. Brighton & Hove Albion’s first Europa League match was a rough one, as the English club fell 3-2 at home against AEK Athens. The Spanish clubs also struggled, with Villarreal getting shut out 2-0 by Panathinaikos and Real Betis losing 1-0 to Rangers. Elsewhere, AS Roma beat Sheriff Tiraspol 2-1 thanks to a winner from Romelu Lukaku, Liverpool won 3-1 over Austrian club LASK after trailing early on, and Marseille drew 3-3 with Ajax in a thriller. West Ham, Atalanta, Bayer Leverkusen, and SC Freiburg also won their group openers.
- Enjoy the sights and sounds from the Orlando City Foundation’s annual celebrity golf and footgolf tournament.
- Borussia Dortmund reportedly has no interest in signing Jadon Sancho from Manchester United. The 23-year-old spent four years with the German club before making the move to United in 2021.
- American defender Mark McKenzie scored a late equalizer in Genk’s 2-2 draw with Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League.
- Xavi Hernandez has reportedly signed a one-year contract extension with Barcelona.
- Here’s an interesting look into the shortage of referees in Europe and how abuse at the youth levels may be to blame.
That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!
Lion Links: 9/21/23
Orlando City clinches playoff berth despite loss, Eastern Conference standings remain close, USWNT plays South Africa tonight, and more.
How’s it going, Mane Landers? Last night’s result wasn’t the best outcome by any means, but losing on the road on short rest after a huge win isn’t the worst thing in the world. We’ll just have to shake that loss off and look forward to more soccer while we have it. Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando City B midfielder Imanol Almaguer!
Orlando City Clinch Playoff Spot Despite Loss
The Lions weren’t able to put together a comeback in their 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC. Playing at a narrow Citi Field, Orlando was not able to get much of anything going on offense and was shut out for the first time since July 8. The loss snapped Orlando’s six-game unbeaten streak in MLS play as well. Although the Lions are headed back to Florida emptyhanded, they did qualify for the playoffs due to other results in the league. Orlando will look to right the ship when it hosts Inter Miami this Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
Eastern Conference Remains Tight After Midweek Matches
Orlando wasn’t the only Eastern Conference team to clinch its spot in the playoffs after the latest midweek matches, with the Columbus Crew and Philadelphia Union both qualifying. Cucho Hernandez had a hat trick within the first 23 minutes of the Crew’s 3-0 win at home against the Chicago Fire. A penalty kick in stoppage time by Daniel Gazdag salvaged a point for the Union in a 2-2 draw with Charlotte FC. FC Cincinnati also needed a late equalizer from the penalty spot in its 1-1 draw with CF Montreal. As for how Orlando’s rivals fared, Atlanta United drew 1-1 with D.C. United and Miami beat Toronto FC, 4-0. Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba both exited in the first half and Miami Head Coach Tata Martino stated that neither will play against Orlando this weekend. Of course, that could just be misdirection. We’ll know for certain come Sunday.
USWNT Plays South Africa Tonight
The United States Women’s National Team will play its first match since the World Cup tonight when it faces South Africa tonight at 7:30 p.m. at TQL Stadium. Following Vlatko Andonovski’s departure last month, Twila Kilgore will coach the team for these friendlies. It will also be Julie Ertz’s final game after 10 years of playing for the USWNT. The 31-year-old announced her retirement last month and spoke more about her decision ahead of tonight’s match. After tonight, the USWNT will play South Africa again on Sunday at Soldier Field.
Champions League Group Stage Rolls On
More clubs got their first taste of this year’s Champions League action as the group stage kicked off this week. Arsenal’s campaign got off on the right foot, with a 4-0 win over PSV Eindhoven that put the English club at the top of its group after a 1-1 draw between Sevilla and Lens. Manchester United had a rougher time, falling 4-3 on the road to Bayern Munich. Goalkeeper Andre Onana struggled and blamed himself for the loss. Real Madrid needed a goal from Jude Bellingham in stoppage time to win 1-0 over Union Berlin at home, while Lautaro Martinez scored a late equalizer in Inter Milan’s 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad. Elsewhere, Napoli beat Braga 2-1, RB Leipzig won 2-0 against a Benfica side that was reduced to 10 men early on, and Galatasaray and Copenhagen split the points in a 2-2 result.
- A cheesesteak offered by Kappy’s Subs at Exploria Stadium is receiving some attention for being purple. I personally find the lack of cheese and tons of banana peppers weirder, although I’m sure it tastes pretty good.
- Most of the players on Spain’s women’s national team ended their boycott after an agreement was reached that will reportedly bring change to the federation.
- American defender Reggie Cannon will reportedly join Queens Park Rangers in the English Football League Championship.
- Tottenham midfielder Ivan Perisic will undergo surgery after suffering an ACL injury and will miss the remainder of the season.
- Marcelino has stepped down as Marseille’s head coach after less than three months at the helm. This decision comes in the midst of fans complaining about how the French club has been run.
- Here’s an interesting dive into which players have scored the most goals against a former club, with Robert Lewandowski at the top of the list for his crimes against Borussia Dortmund.
That’s all I have for you today. Be like a goldfish and enjoy your Thursday!
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