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Lion Links: 1/12/20



Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. Before I start my spiel, today is Cristian Higuita’s and Joao Moutinho’s birthday! You should probably go wish them a happy birthday on your social media of choice. Not probably, go do that after you make it through today’s Links. They deserve it.

Okay, to the spiel. I’m probably mid-match as you read this, as my club team Orlando United F.C. is having its final preseason match before the Central Florida Soccer Leagues (CFSL) spring season kicks off. I also helped my parents move into their new home yesterday (congratulations again, guys!), which means I’m already beyond exhausted. Hopefully I can power through, put in a good performance, and head into the week on a high. I hope you do, too. I have some pretty juicy Links for you today, so perhaps that’ll get your week started off on the right foot. Let’s do this.

Ashlyn and Ali: Grateful to Inspire

As you probably know, the Orlando Pride’s Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger are now married. The two tied the knot a couple of weeks ago, and have since become an inspiration to the LGBT community. As I’ve previously stated, I feel incredibly lucky to have these two in Orlando as role models, both on and off the pitch. The two, despite a private ceremony, have since spoken out about their beautiful wedding, relationship, and opportunity to show the world their life, love, and authentic selves. The two feared backlash, specifically on social media, but were brave in letting the world into their lives.

“I think for so long we were so worried about all the consequences and it took a lot of energy from us,” Harris said. “I think for so long, I had to make sure I was professional and this and that. I just felt I wasn’t doing myself justice or my relationship justice by hiding. It feels freeing and liberating just to be able to show up and truly be yourself. I feel like I finally can give my staff and my coaches and the players next to me all of me and not just a part of me.”

Kreiger also harbored fears.

“I really have opened myself up more,” Krieger said. “I feel more vulnerable than I used to — in a good way. I’m more of a private person. I like to keep a few things to myself and I like to share that just with Ash and our family at home. I’m surprised at how vulnerable I’ve become, but I think it’s healthy because people can relate more to you that way. I feel like I’m becoming my more true self.”

Cheers, again, to the both of these incredible women! We’re lucky you’re here, and even luckier that you are who you are.

Chicharito Set to Meet with LA Galaxy

The rich? They get richer. After falling short last season despite having one of the most iconic, and arguably best, strikers of all time in Zlatan Ibrahimović, the LA Galaxy are pursuing yet another marquee striker with word trickling out that the club is preparing to meet with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. The 31-year-old striker (I’m 28, and saying that just made me feel old) is reportedly close to penning a deal that would bring him to the same city where his Mexican compatriots, Carlos Vela and Jonathan dos Santos, also ply their trade. Chicharito has reportedly given the green light to the move, and the Galaxy are expected to fork over around $10 million to secure his services. Like I said previously, the rich get richer.

Pulisic: USMNT should have Qualified for the 2018 World Cup

The key word that I left out of that header? “Definitely.” The American and Chelsea playmaker spoke out recently, declaring that the U.S. Men’s National Team should have qualified for the last World Cup – I must say, I agree (duh).

“I definitely feel that we had a good enough team and definitely should have qualified, so that was tough for me…I think we had quality to [make a deep run],” Pulisic said. “I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t have. Once you get to those knockout stages, I think anything’s possible, I think anything could happen.”

Former head coach Jürgen Klinsmann also had some choice words on the topic (again, duh).

“The team belonged [in] Russia,” Klinsmann said. “They belonged in the World Cup. The qualification was pretty much done and then it happened, the big disaster in Trinidad which no one could ever have imagined. I’d take that team in Russia to the final eight, maybe even the final four because there was a building block there and there was a plan for it and the plan got interrupted and it got even more interrupted when the U.S. didn’t qualify for Russia.”

It sure is easy to look back and make such claims, but again, I can’t argue with either of the two. The USMNT failed miserably in its attempt to qualify in 2018, but the quality in the side was certainly enough to make it to Russia. All we can do now is shrug it off and look towards the next one.

Alphonso Davies Finding Success in Munich

As an avid FC Bayern Munich supporter and massive fan of Alphonso Davies, this news seriously warms my heart. The young Canadian winger, who transferred to Bayern from the Vancouver Whitecaps, was named Bayern Munich’s Player of the Month for December 2019. The agile and pacey winger notched four assists in the club’s 13 matches during that month. He also played the entirety of every single one of the those 13 matches. The 19-year-old has been a revelation for the Bundesliga giants, and as an MLS fan, Bayern supporter, and “Phonzie” fanatic, I just can’t get enough of this one. Congratulations, Phonzie!

Random Phonzie Fun Fact: He was the first player born in the 2000s to play in an MLS match.

Free Kicks

  • New York City FC has inked a deal with Gedion Zelalem, formerly of Arsenal fame as a potential future star. There’s no doubt in my mind that the 22-year-old will make an impact for the Pigeons, and in my eyes, this was a brilliant move. I wonder if he was on the Lions’ radar?
  • Zlatan, you monster! (Insert four decades’ worth of praise here).

  • Spanish powerhouse Barcelona reportedly is in the market for a striker following Luis Suarez’s recent knee injury, which is expected to keep the Uruguayan sidelined for at least three months. The club is also preparing to appoint former midfield dynamo Xavi as the next head coach.
  • Look away, Tottenham supporters. Not only is your main man Harry Kane out for a few months, but he had to watch his side fall to table-topping Liverpool, 1-0, during his first day of recovery following his hamstring surgery. Ouch.

  • To end, let’s all give Mr. Miura the credit he deserves. The 52-year-old striker (yep, you read that correctly), has extended his career yet again, preparing himself for his 35th season. One word: unbelievable.

All right, I think that about wraps it up. Be sure to catch the Orlando SeaWolves in action today at 3:05 p.m. against the Florida Tropics and then kick some ass this week, Mane Landers. I expect nothing less from you.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/24/24

Orlando City and Orlando Pride power rankings, USMNT player news, USWNT will host Costa Rica, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. It’s that time of the week for some tasty links. Two seven-point weekends for Orlando’s soccer teams is nothing to sneeze at, unlike the pollen that coats my hometown of Tallahassee. It’s the time of the year that I make my money back with the unlimited car wash next to my work. Enough with my weather-related car issues, let’s get to the links.

Lions Move Up (and Down) in Power Rankings

There’s nothing that shows the value of “power rankings” better than when you can compare two different ranking lists for the same week for any given club. We all know Orlando City is undefeated in its last four matches thanks to the late heroics of Ivan Angulo to draw CF Montreal over the weekend. But, did you know that was both good and bad?

In ESPN‘s MLS power rankings, Orlando City dropped a spot from 16th to 17th despite “treading water” with a point on the road in Montreal. Meanwhile, the Lions roared ahead three spots from 21st to 18th in’s power rankings. So, do you like that Orlando is 17th in the ESPN piece despite the drop? Or do you prefer the positivity of a three-spot jump to 18th in the rankings?

Orlando Pride Rise in Power Rankings

Forget everything I wrote up there regarding power rankings — at least as far as the Orlando Pride are concerned. After starting the season with three draws, the Pride now have two wins in a row. As such, ESPN moved the Pride up three spots from eighth to fifth in its NWSL power rankings. Their move up the list is entirely deserved and the writer was correct in their assessment. Of course, I’m kidding but it’s still nice to see the Pride get recognized for their results. Now, we just need the Pride to continue the winning streak.

Keeping Up With USMNT Players Abroad

As we shared yesterday, Sergino Dest will likely miss this summer’s Copa America thanks to a knee injury suffered during PSV Eindhoven training. That means the USMNT has a right back situation to address and there are quite a few well known candidates to step in for Dest.

Meanwhile, Weston McKennie has reportedly rejected Juventus’ latest extension offer. I can understand his decision given it doesn’t include any additional salary. McKennie has been very good for Juve, with 10 assists on the season. He’s not the only American making a difference, as Tim Weah provided the assist on Arkadiusz Milik’s goal to send Juventus to the Coppa Italia final.

USWNT Olympic Send-Off Match

The United States Women’s National Team will play a match against Costa Rica at Audi Field on July 16. It will be the final match for the USWNT prior to the Olympics that start nine days later against Zambia. New coach Emma Hayes will join the team on June 1, which isn’t a ton of time before the Olympics start, but she has been a part of the process for months.

Free Kicks

  • The New England Revolution have acquired veteran defender Xavier Arreaga from the Seattle Sounders for a 2025 international roster slot, and up to $75,000 in General Allocation Money depending on performance.
  • Inter Miami’s Jordi Alba will be out for several weeks due to a hamstring injury. Fortunately, he is expected to be back in time for the match against Orlando City on May 15. Where did I put the sarcasm font?

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the Pride’s match against the Washington Spirit this Friday, and Orlando City’s match against Toronto FC on Saturday. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/23/24

Ivan Angulo makes Team of the Matchday bench, Americans in action, Sergino Dest to miss Copa America, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It was an excellent weekend for Orlando’s soccer teams, as the three sides took seven of the nine points on offer. There’s no rest for the wicked this week as the Orlando Pride travel to play the Washington Spirit on Friday, Orlando City hosts Toronto FC on Saturday, and Orlando City B finishes things up at home against Toronto FC II on Sunday. Let’s take a look at today’s links.

Ivan Angulo Earns Recognition

Ivan Angulo has been named to the bench of the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday. The Colombian got the start on Saturday up in Montreal, and had a good game, going the distance and completing 82% of his passes and putting one of his two shots on target. That shot was an important one, as it gave the Lions a late equalizer and helped them salvage a valuable point on the road. Sean Rollins gave him a grade of 6 in his player grades from the match, a rating that likely would have been higher had Martin Ojeda’s pass been accurate enough to allow Angulo to grab a possible winner just a few minutes after he equalized. Here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Americans in Midweek Action

There are a number of Americans taking part in big games this week, and the good people over at Stars and Stripes FC have you covered with the whole rundown. First up, Weston McKennie, Tim Weah, and Juventus will try to advance to the Coppa Italia final this afternoon, as they enter the second leg of the semifinal against Lazio with a 2-0 lead on aggregate. Tomorrow sees Monaco and Folarin Balogun meet Lille in Ligue 1 action, while Chris Richards and Crystal Palace host Newcastle United in the Premier League. Things wrap up on Friday in Serie B when Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessman, and third-place Venezia face Cremonese as they try to overtake Como and finish in one of Serie B’s two guaranteed promotion places.

Sergino Dest Sidelined Long Term

Following up on a story from yesterday’s Lion Links, The Athletic is reporting that the knee injury suffered by Sergino Dest will keep him out of Copa America, and sideline him for the rest of the year. That would be a big blow for the United States Men’s National Team, as Dest has been the nailed-on starter at right back since winning a place in the team during the qualifying cycle for the 2022 World Cup. The Yanks aren’t without options at the position, as Joe Scally could step in for Dest, or Gregg Berhalter could try deploying Weah there, but neither of the two possesses Dest’s level of offensive threat.

Inter Milan Wins Serie A

Inter Milan dispatched rival AC Milan 2-1 guaranteed that Inter will win its 20th Serie A title in club history. Fikayo Tomori’s goal in the 80th minute was the closest Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah’s club could get to leveling the score, and Inter is now a whopping 17 points clear of AC Milan with five games left to play. Inter has been imperious on its way to a 20th Scudetto, scoring the most goals in the league while also conceding the fewest and losing only once this season.

Free Kicks

  • The Orlando Pride and Orlando City hosted a clean-up effort in honor of Earth Day on Monday.

That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/22/24

Orlando City draws CF Montreal, Pride and OCB win, FA Cup drama, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. Orlando City drew, while the Pride and OCB both won over the weekend. I had friends in town, so I went to Wrigley Field to check out a Cubs game and show them around Chicago. Let’s wish former Orlando City midfielder Kaka and Pride defender Brianna Martinez a happy birthday! There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Draw at CF Montreal

Orlando City again had to overcome a 2-1 deficit on the road when it faced CF Montreal Saturday night. The Lions needed a late stoppage-time goal from Ivan Angulo to walk out of Stade Saputo with a 2-2 draw. Orlando has now picked up points in each of the last four matches. Orlando City will face CF Montreal again on July 26 in the MLS Leagues Cup during the competition’s group stage. The Lions’ next match will be Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium as it takes on Toronto FC.

Orlando Pride Defeat San Diego Wave

The Orlando Pride shut out the San Diego Wave 1-0 on Friday at Inter&Co Stadium and got their second consecutive win with that same scoreline. Summer Yates scored the lone goal in the first half to seal the win for Orlando. Zambian international striker Barbra Banda made her debut for the Pride, coming off the bench in the second half. The Pride remain undefeated through five league matches and are fifth in the NWSL table with nine points. The team will be on the road to face the Washington Spirit Friday.

OCB Wins on the Road at Crown Legacy FC

Orlando City B got a 2-0 win against Crown Legacy FC at the Sportsplex at Matthews on Friday. Alex Freeman and Shak Mohammed scored for the Young Lions, and Javier Otero made six saves. OCB completed its two-match road trip, securing four out of a possible six points, and has kept its unbeaten streak on the road alive at four matches. OCB is in fifth in the MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference with nine points, while Crown Legacy is winless in five matches. OCB will be back in action this Sunday as it hosts Toronto FC II at Osceola County Stadium.

Manchester United and Manchester City Advance to FA Cup Final

Manchester United won 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw against Coventry City in the FA Cup semifinals to advance to the final. It was a thrilling match at Wembley as United had a 3-0 lead before Coventry City rallied to get back into the match. USMNT forward Haji Wright scored the equalizer to tie the match 3-3 late into stoppage time. Coventry City thought it scored the game-winning goal late into extra time from Victor Torp, but it was ruled offside after video review. Casemiro missed his penalty for United, while Wright and Torp gave Coventry City a 2-1 advantage. United converted four straight penalties while Coventry City missed two to seal the win for the Red Devils. Manchester City edged past Chelsea 1-0 in their semifinal matchup, with Bernardo Silva scoring the lone goal in the second half. The FA Cup final will be played at the end of May and will feature a Manchester Derby for the second consecutive time.

Free Kicks

  • In case you missed it, check out this video on Orlando City’s social media page on Ivan Angulo’s equalizer to tie the match in stoppage time against CF Montreal on Saturday.

According to OptaJack, the Pride have secured the most points at home during the regular season since last May, with 26.

  • USMNT defender Sergino Dest suffered a knee injury during training with PSV Eindhoven over the weekend. Dest will miss the remainder of the Eredivisie season and could miss the 2024 Copa America this summer.
  • Real Madrid came back from being 2-1 down to defeat Barcelona 3-2 and stay ahead of its rivals by 11 points with six league matches left.
  • Bayer Leverkusen extended its unbeaten run to 45 matches after scoring a late goal from Josip Stanisic in stoppage time to get a 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund.
  • Serie A side Udinese is reportedly set to hire former Juventus and Real Madrid player Fabio Cannavaro as its next head coach.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Monday and I’ll see you next time.

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