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Lion Links: 5/10/19



What’s up, Mane Landers? It’s going to be a busy weekend with Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, Orlando City B, and the United States Women’s National Team all in action. All three Orlando-based teams will look to bounce back after tough games last week as they head into the summer.

Before we get to the links, let’s wish a happy birthday to Orlando City defender Alex De John, who turns 28 today. Congrats on being another year older. Now, let’s get to the links!

No Worries About Orlando’s Offense

Last Saturday’s 2-0 home loss against Toronto FC was the first time the Lions weren’t able to score a goal in a game this season. While this definitely isn’t good news, let’s not dismiss the fact that this is the first time Orlando was shut out this year. Considering this team was unable to score in six of its final eight games last season, I’d say the offense is far from abysmal. Head Coach James O’Connor agrees, noting that the team is very good at creating chances. Despite the slump that Dom Dwyer is in, O’Connor has constant faith in his attacking players.

“The biggest thing for us is our belief doesn’t waver in the players whether somebody scores or doesn’t score,” added O’Connor. “For us, our belief is always there for the players. Whether somebody scores in the game or misses a chance or doesn’t score in the game. For us, our belief in the players doesn’t fluctuate sort of by game. Our belief is there, we expect them to try really hard and to perform what we’re asking them to do.”

Colmán Waiting For His Opportunity

One member of Orlando’s offense that has yet to make a splash this season is young Paraguayan Josué Colmán, who has yet to start this season. Maybe it’s just a consequence of having many attacking options at the team’s disposal, but having a (Young) Designated Player spend most of their time on the bench raises a few concerns. Regardless, both Colmán and O’Connor are pleased with the work ethic given thus far and, after playing 10 minutes in last week’s loss, Colmán could find his way into more of the offense moving forward.

Pride Come Home to Face Thorns

Still without a win this season, the Orlando Pride sit at the bottom of the National Women’s Soccer League standings as they welcome the Portland Thorns to Orlando City Stadium. While it takes time for a new head coach and team to come together, the pressure is definitely on with almost a quarter of the season played and only one point to show for it.

The Pride have only scored once in five games and will try to win without Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, Shelina Zadorsky — all on international duty — and the injured Kristin Edmonds. However, the Thorns will be missing key players as well, with Christine Sinclair, Tobin Heath, Emily Sonnett, Adrianna Franch, and Lindsey Horan all on international duty.

Kopmeyer Hopes to Help Solve Pride’s Puzzling Start

Between television, jigsaw puzzles, and books, Orlando goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer is finding ways to stay determined and grounded as the team continues its drought. The 28-year-old will play in goal Saturday with Harris away and believes that she and other players will need to step up when some of the bigger names on the team are gone for the World Cup this summer. Kopmeyer is all about moving forward and refusing to dwell on past mistakes as her team searches for its first win of 2019.

Young Lions Return to Texas

Saddle up, because Orlando City B is heading back to Frisco, TX for another game with North Texas SC. In the last meeting between the two teams in April, it was a narrow 1-0 loss for the Young Lions on an own goal, but with the defense improving in each game it is only a matter of time before they win their first game of the season. It will be a tough test, however, as North Texas has won all four of its games this season and hasn’t conceded a goal in its past three matches.

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  • In case you missed it above, Shelina Zadorsky will be away with Canada after being called up for the team’s last game before the World Cup. Although Canada’s World Cup roster won’t be officially announced until later this month, Zadorksy is sure to be a part of the squad.

  • With three games — two of which are on the road in tough environments — in the next seven days for Orlando City, O’Connor is carefully managing minutes, and every player will need to do their part this week.

  • After conceding a baffling 30 goals this season, the New England Revolution decided to part ways with Head Coach Brad Friedel.
  • Professional Mexican soccer club C.D. Don Roge added Gordy Gurson from the Orlando SeaWolves, announcing the move in a tweet that has more sponsors than a NASCAR driver. Gurson is expected back after the team’s summer season.

The U.S. U-17s have moved on to the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Championship.

  • Arsenal and Chelsea will meet in the Europa League final, a day after Tottenham and Liverpool booked their tickets into the Champions League final. This marks the first time ever that all four teams in the European league finals will hail from the same country.
  • That Arsenal and Chelsea match will also be Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech’s final game as he will retire afterwards. It is sure to be an emotional affair for him as he faces his former club.
  • David Beckham was handed a six-month driving ban after someone spotted him driving while using a mobile phone in London. Remember kids, if you’re going to text in a vehicle, make sure it’s in your limo with your chauffeur behind the wheel. Also, shout out to the bloke who snitched on him for doing this — loyalty goes out the window when putting other people’s lives at risk.

That’s all from me, I hope each and every one of you have a safe and fun weekend. Go Orlando!

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, which are 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.

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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.

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  • 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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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/23/22

Lions and Herons meet again, Carly Nelson is writing a book, NWSL free agency opens, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

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.

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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!

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