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Lion Links: 12/13/18



Hello, dear readers! It’s Thursday once again and so I get the opportunity to let you know that the Orlando SeaWolves will be playing soccer tomorrow night — indoors! — at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. The indoor game is fun, fast-paced, and (best of all) quite affordable, so go give the lads some support as they take on defending champion Baltimore.

Lions Stockpiling Draft Picks

Orlando City added a fourth-round selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft on Wednesday in a trade with New York City FC for the rights to Tony Rocha. The Lions got back the fourth-round pick they traded to the Pigeons in 2017 for Josh Saunders, which is the No. 75 overall selection. Even though the club declined Rocha’s contract option, Orlando retains his MLS rights and those were shipped off to the Bronx. The Lions now have six picks in the SuperDraft and it’ll be interesting to see how those will be used.

Rocha made sure to thank Orlando City’s fans before he departs for the Big Apple.

Where Muzzi At?

Feathers were ruffled yesterday when’s Jordan Culver reported that his league sources said that Luiz Muzzi was calling the shots for Orlando City’s recent slew of player moves. Some outlets covering FC Dallas questioned Culver’s report, as Muzzi has not yet been introduced officially as OCSC’s new general manager. Also, FC Dallas denies that he’s leaving the club until the Texas side can announce a replacement.

When asked about Muzzi’s departure, FC Dallas vice president of communications Gina Miller told Pro Soccer USA, “This isn’t true.”

However, a league source told Pro Soccer USA FC Dallas is hesitant to confirm Muzzi’s departure until the club can announce his replacement.

Jordan’s a solid dude and I don’t doubt for a second that he’s got a source he trusts. Our sources have indicated to us that Muzzi was serving in a consulting role during this recent series of moves so it’s clear he’s at the very least being kept in the loop while we await his official arrival.

Why Spector, Sutter Weren’t In Waiver Draft

Some sharp-eyed fans noticed that neither Jonathan Spector nor Scott Sutter were listed as available for the MLS Waiver Draft. That’s because of a loophole that Orlando City exploited (sorry, paywall).

Per MLS rules, teams can exclude a player from the waiver draft if they “have expressed interest in re-signing the player and/or bringing them into preseason.” In this case, Orlando City has done enough to convince the league that it intends to bring both Spector and Sutter back, meaning neither player has officially been waived. Considering a recent change in leadership in the front office at the club, Orlando may justify doing so by saying it needs more time to evaluate its roster and to see if Spector or Sutter may be willing to stay on for lower wages.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the two defenders will be back with Orlando, and both have publicly said goodbye to the fans on social media. But, as Paul Tenorio explains, the Lions could trade their MLS rights or do a sign-and-trade to get something for them if they opt to stay in MLS. Technically, their contracts expire at the end of the calendar year.

Orlando City U-18/19 Team Leads Division at the Break

It’s been a good 2018 portion of the season for the Baby Lions up at Montverde Academy. The U-18/19 team sits first in the Southeast Division at the break, with 22 points in 12 games (7-4-1). The squad has a +13 goal differential. Weston FC sits just two points behind with a game in hand, while third-place Chargers SC has 25 points but in two more games played. The standings are listed by points per game, of which OCSC has 1.8333 to lead the division. Academy Director and U-18/19 coach Mike Potempa said the academy’s move to Montverde is starting to pay dividends.

“I believe now that we are starting to see the fruits of our labor and we expect to see a continuation of our evolution in the second half of the season in 2019 across all age groups.”

MLS Waiver Draft Results

Orlando City passed on the 2018 MLS Waiver Draft yesterday and only four players were taken in total. The New York Red Bulls moved up via a trade with the San Jose Earthquakes and took former Philadelphia Union forward Marcus Epps first overall. The Chicago Fire chose two of the four players taken and they were two of the three guys that our own Guilherme Torres said Orlando City should consider — Cristian Martinez from Columbus and Marco Ureña of LAFC. We’ll have to keep an eye on how the duo fares in Chicago. Ricky Lopez-Espin was the other player selected, moving from Real Salt Lake to LAFC.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City’s Brazilian partner club has rebranded as Athletico Paranaense. They kicked off the second leg of the 2018 Copa Sudamerica final last night vs. Junior (Colombia) and former Lions defender Leo Pereira started. The first leg in Colombia was a 1-1 draw and the teams went to penalties last night after another 1-1 draw. Paranaense won the cup in penalties, taking the shootout, 4-3.

Here’s a look at the new uniforms:

  • The New York Red Bulls re-signed center back Tim Parker to a multi-year deal using Targeted Allocation Money.
  • FC Cincinnati sent $150,000 in General Allocation Money to FC Dallas for Homegrown midfielder Victor Ulloa.
  • Speaking of FC Cincinnati, the club announced that they have an official chili partner in Skyline. I grew up in Ohio and I love the stuff. Don’t @ me and don’t think of it like you think of “normal” chili. It’s its own thing.
  • Those born on this date include Mary Todd Lincoln (1818), Cleveland Indians legend Larry Doby (1923), Dick Van Dyke (1925), Christopher Plummer (1929), Ted Nugent (1948), pro wrestler Junkyard Dog (1952), Steve Buscemi (1957), football coaches Rob and Rex Ryan (1962), sportscaster Mike Tirico (1966), hockey’s Sergei Federov (1969), and Taylor Swift (1989).

That’ll do it for my time this morning. Thanks for reading. Enjoy your Thursday and let’s get to the weekend.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/27/23

Orlando City falls in power rankings, OCB will take on Columbus Crew 2 in MLS NEXT Pro playoffs, U.S. Open Cup final preview, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. There’s not much new with me, I’m just staying busy at work lately and hoping to catch some soccer this weekend. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Drops Two Spots in Power Rankings

The latest MLS power rankings have been released and Orlando City fell two spots to fourth. The Lions lost their midweek matchup 2-0 on the road against New York City FC last Wednesday and closed out the weekend with a 1-1 draw against rival Inter Miami at Exploria Stadium. It wasn’t all bad this past week for the Lions, as Duncan McGuire scored his 11th goal of the year across all competitions. Despite losing to NYCFC a week ago, the Lions remain in second place in the Eastern Conference and are two points ahead of the Columbus Crew, Philadelphia Union, Atlanta United, and the New England Revolution.

OCB Will Take On Columbus Crew 2 in MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs

Orlando City B’s opponent for the first round of the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs was announced on Tuesday, as it will go on the road to take on defending champion Columbus Crew 2 on Oct. 1 at Historic Crew Stadium. As part of the new playoff format that lets higher seeds choose their opponents, Columbus chose to host OCB in the quarterfinals. The Young Lions closed out their regular season this past weekend with a 2-1 win against FC Cincinnati and finished fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Columbus Crew 2 finished its regular season with a 3-2 win against Atlanta United 2 to place third. The clubs split the regular season series, with OCB winning 4-1 on Aug. 27 and Columbus winning 4-0 on May 14. The conference semifinals will be on the following weekend, and the MLS NEXT Pro Cup final is set for Oct. 22.

U.S. Open Cup Final Preview

The 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will conclude tonight with the final at DRV PNK Stadium as Inter Miami takes on the Houston Dynamo. The match will kick off at 8:30 p.m. and you can watch the match on Paramount+ or CBS Sports Network. Inter Miami’s journey included edging out Nashville SC 2-1 in the Round of 16 and needing to go all the way to penalties to knock out FC Cincinnati after a thrilling 3-3 draw in the semifinals. The Houston Dynamo began their run with a pair of 1-0 wins against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Sporting Kansas City. Since the Round of 16, the Dynamo cruised past Minnesota United, the Chicago Fire, and Real Salt Lake to get to the final. Houston was on a seven-match unbeaten run before losing to Sporting Kansas City this past weekend. The Dynamo will look to add another U.S. Open Cup title after winning it back in 2018. Lionel Messi will reportedly be a game-time decision for tonight’s final after he didn’t play in Miami’s draw with Orlando.

Spain Wins First Home Match Since World Cup Victory

Spain’s women’s national team won its first match since lifting the World Cup trophy last month, cruising to a 5-0 win against Switzerland in a UEFA Nations League matchup. After dealing with the fallout of former Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales and players boycotting call-ups to the national team before a deal was reached last week, the team wore wristbands that read “Se Acabo,” meaning “this is over,” and players from both teams held a banner with the same phrase before the match. Spain celebrated its win in front of a record-breaking crowd of 14,194 fans that came out to support the team at Nuevo Arcangel Stadium.

Free Kicks

  • Carrie Lawrence and the Orlando Pride were hard at work preparing for the match on Monday against Angel City FC.
  • Angel City exercised its club option to extend former Pride forward Sydney Leroux’s contract through the end of the 2024 NWSL season.
  • The Canadian Women’s National Team defeated Jamaica 4-1 on aggregate to book a spot in next summer’s Olympics.
  • The Seattle Sounders have unveiled their new crest for next year.

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: 9/26/23

Pedro Gallese honored, Orlando Pride and Lions celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Campeones Cup preview, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I won’t lie to you, I’m dragging a bit to start this week. I’m still recovering from being sick and frankly had to fight the urge to take Monday off. I’m soldiering on though, and there’s plenty of soccer happening this week to help keep me entertained and in good spirits. Let’s have a look at today’s links.

Pedro Gallese Recognized

Pedro Gallese turned in another superb performance during Orlando City’s 1-1 draw with Inter Miami on Sunday, and he’s been rewarded with a place in the most recent edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday. El Pulpo made four saves on the night, including a fantastic stop on a header from close range, and helped the Lions stay in the game until they could find the equalizer. Congratulations to Pedro, and here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Orlando Pride and Orlando City Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Orlando Pride defender Celia fielded questions for fans to learn more about both her and Spain. Celia is from Alicante, a port city in southern Spain, and shared her favorite food, music, and activity while in her home country. She also spoke on a common misconception about spices used in Spain being spicy.

Orlando City’s Facundo Torres also shared the meaning behind some of his tattoos, which include the Uruguayan flag and La Paz, the city he grew up in. Orlando City’s match with CF Montreal on Saturday will also be Hispanic Heritage Night at Exploria Stadium.

Campeones Cup Preview

You can be forgiven if you forgot that the Campeones Cup is still a thing, because I know I did. Here’s a little refresher on the annual match. It’s being played tomorrow night at BMO Stadium between LAFC and Tigres, the reigning MLS and Liga MX champions, respectively. The MLS representative has won three out of the four contests, with Tigres beating Toronto FC 3-1 in the first iteration of the competition in 2018. This match will also be a rematch of the 2020 Concacaf Champions League final, which saw Tigres emerge victorious 2-1 at Exploria Stadium.

Americans in Midweek Action

A number of Americans will be taking part in games for their clubs this week. Tim Weah and Weston McKennie’s Juventus will take on Lecce today in Serie A, while Chris Richards and Crystal Palace face Manchester United in the Carabao Cup. Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah have a league match when AC Milan plays Cagliari tomorrow. PSV Eindhoven has a game against Go Ahead Eagles tomorrow as well, which means Ricardo Pepi, Sergino Dest and Malik Tillman could all be involved. Friday closes out the week with Hoffenheim taking on Borussia Dortmund, which could see John Brooks matched up against Gio Reyna depending on Reyna’s fitness.

Spanish Players Will Testify Against Rubiales

Alexia Putellas, Irene Paredes, and Misa Rodriguez have all been called to testify as witnesses in the case against Luis Rubiales. Jenni Hermoso’s brother and a friend of the player both testified on Monday afternoon, as Rubiales is facing charges of sexual assault and coercion. Rubiales has already testified and maintains he did nothing wrong amid uproar that has led to a number of Spanish players refusing to return to the team until changes are made, and a general overshadowing of Spain’s victory at the Women’s World Cup. Putellas, Paredes, and Rodriguez will testify next Monday.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for today. Y’all stay safe out there!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/25/23

Orlando City draws with Inter Miami, Viviana Villacorta out for the season, OCB wins last game of the regular season, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Last night’s Orlando City match wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst either. It’s a pretty fitting feeling on a Monday, as we all get back into the swing of the work week after a nice weekend of soccer. There are plenty of ups and downs from a rollercoaster Sunday, so let’s dive right into today’s links!

Orlando City Draws With Inter Miami

In the latest edition of the Tropic Thunder rivalry, Orlando City and Inter Miami split the points at Exploria Stadium in a 1-1 result. Miami struck first, but the Lions did well to find an equalizer, even though they couldn’t find a winner in the end. It wasn’t Orlando’s best game by any means, but it was a decent response to a 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC. Orlando now has 51 points, tying its club record for the most points in a season, set in 2021. The Lions will have a chance to break that record on Saturday when they host CF Montreal.

Viviana Villacorta Out for the Season

Orlando Pride midfielder Viviana Villacorta will miss the remainder of the NWSL season after suffering an ACL tear in her left knee during training. The 24-year-old was selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, but was not able to make her debut until 2022 due to sustained an ACL tear in her right knee that kept her out for all of the 2021 season. This year, she has 21 appearances across all competitions for the Pride and notched the first assist of her career in a big road win against the San Diego Wave on April 29. This is a tough blow to the Pride’s midfield with just three games remaining as she has ended her season early due to injury for the third straight year. The Pride are only a point out of a playoff spot and are back in action on Oct. 2 against Angel City FC.

Orlando City B Wins On Decision Day

On the final day of the MLS NEXT Pro regular season, Orlando City B won 2-1 at home over FC Cincinnati 2. The Young Lions had already clinched a spot in the postseason heading into this match, but the win secured their spot as the fifth seed. Jack Lynn briefly held the Golden Boot lead after scoring, but ended up tied at 19 goals with New York City FC II’s Matt Myers and Colorado Rapids 2’s Remi Cabral. The trio ended in a three-way tie for the league’s Golden Boot honors. OCB will hit the road for its first MLS NEXT Pro playoff game, although the opponent is not yet known thanks to the new rule where higher seeds choose which team they want to face.

USWNT Wins in Megan Rapinoe’s Final Match

The United States Women’s National Team beat South Africa in a 2-0 win at Soldier Field. Trinity Rodman and Emily Sonnett scored and the defense did well to secure its second shutout against South Africa after a 3-0 win this past Thursday. This game also marked forward Megan Rapinoe’s final game with the USWNT, with the 38-year-old subbed off for the last time in the 54th minute. These were solid wins from the USWNT following the World Cup and it will aim to keep the momentum rolling next month in a pair of friendlies against Colombia.

Free Kicks

  • Three Orlando City academy sides came up with shutout victories this weekend.
  • Before the USWNT’s friendly with South Africa, U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Matt Crocker stated that plans remain in place for a new head coach to be at the helm in time for the training camp in December
  • American midfielder Yunus Musah did well in his AC Milan debut, playing all 90 minutes in a 1-0 win over Verona.
  • A match in the Netherlands between Ajax and Feyenoord had to be abandoned due to fans throwing fireworks onto the field while Feyenoord led 3-0. According to police, tear gas had to be used to stop unrest outside the stadium after the match, and Ajax later fired Sven Mislintat, its director of soccer.
  • Newcastle became the first English Premier League team to have eight different players score in a match after crushing Sheffield United, 8-0.
  • Atletico Madrid ended Real Madrid’s perfect start to the season by beating its rival 3-1, with Alvaro Morata bagging a brace.

That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have an easy Monday and rest of your week!

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