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Lion Links: 2/2/20



Happy Super Bowl Sunday, Mane Landers! Before we jump to the real football, I just want my prediction out there now. I want the Chiefs to win, but I’m taking the 49ers, 27-24. But again, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, I really, really want you guys to win this thing. I hope I’m wrong.

Okay, back to the norm. I trust you’re all having a wonderful week (despite the tragic news that seems to be constantly flowing into our every day lives). If you are, excellent. That’s what it’s all about. If you aren’t, let’s try to turn things around. Every morning is a fresh start. You got this.

All right, enough of my cornball motivational talk, you’re here for some juicy Links. Let’s do this.

Lions vs. Crew Cancelled, Snark Ensues

The Lions were scheduled to scrimmage the Columbus Crew yesterday in Mexico but, well, that didn’t happen. The ensuing snark on social media, in my own personal opinion, was awesome. It all started with the Lions’ Twitter account shooting out a playful tweet. The Crew’s response? Oh, it was quite excellent:

Regardless, the lads in purple scrimmaged against themselves yesterday. They’ll try again with a different opponent on Tuesday against Inter Playa.

U.S. Downs Costa Rica, 1-0

The U.S. Men’s National Team hosted Costa Rica in Los Angeles yesterday for a friendly — the first of 2020 — and, while the result may not tell the entire tale, the young Yanks cruised to a comfortable win, 1-0. The goal, courtesy of Uly Llanez, came via a spot kick in the 50th minute. Llanez became the youngest USMNT player to score a penalty in the modern era. Take a bow, sir. Your swish celebration in honor of Kobe Bryant was admirable, too. That deserves another bow. Other young Yanks were handed their debuts in the Stars & Stripes, including Sam Vines, Brenden Aaronson, Jesus Ferreira, Chase Gasper, Brandon Servania, and Mark McKenzie. Several could take part in the 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship next month. I sure hope they do, too, because it’s time for the USMNT to embrace the budding youth movement that’s happening across this country. We’ll see, but I’m far more than hopeful.

Zadorsky and Plummer Face Off in Olympic Qualifying Action

Some Pride players were in action yesterday at the international level as well, with Shelina Zadorsky of Canada and draftee Konya Plummer of Jamaica facing off in Olympic qualifying, both lining up as center backs for their countries. This one, well, this one wasn’t even close. Like, at all. The final result was 9-0 to the Canadians, and that came even after Canada seemingly pumped the brakes a bit after the match was clearly out of reach for the Reggae Girlz. Notably, Jordyn Huitema of PSG netted five times — twice in the first half and three times in the second. Great Scott, ladies…sheesh.

Eyeing Your Rivals: Inter Miami CF and Fort Lauderdale Club de Fútbol

Inter Miami CF is here, whether you and I like it or not. Now, their official affiliate team has been announced as Fort Lauderdale Club de Fútbol. The developmental team begins play in March, and will immediately jump into the USL League One fray. Much like Orlando City B, this club’s purpose will be to serve as a pipeline for youth players who wish to break into the ranks of the first team in Miami.

“Establishing an identity for Fort Lauderdale CF has been a process the organization has put a lot of thought into because it will be our permanent team playing in the Fort Lauderdale stadium for the long-term,” said Inter Miami CF Sporting Director Paul McDonough. “The team also serves an important role in providing higher-level competition for talented players who are in between the Academy and First Team levels of their careers. We can keep them competing in a professional structure until a good opportunity arises for them either with us or elsewhere.”

They’re [/audible groan] probably going to be decent, and I expect them, much like I expect Inter Miami itself, to be a strong competitor for years to come for the Young Lions and first team alike. Keep an eye on these guys, Mane Landers. They’ll soon become your least favorite MLS players.

Free Kicks

  • With the Super Bowl set for today, the San Jose Earthquakes are backing their local franchise, the San Francisco 49ers, to beat the Kansas City Chiefs. Even Chris Wondolowski, a devout Raiders fan — rivals of the 49ers — will be pulling for the Bay area team. I’ve already put my prediction out there, but as I stated earlier, I hope I’m wrong.
  • Kylian Mbappe, please don’t take on the traits of Neymar. Please just stay humble. The young world beater was scolded by PSG manager Thomas Tuchel after his tantrum following a 68th-minute substitution in a 5-0 win yesterday. “Stay gold, Pony Boy. Stay gold.” Please.
  • Liverpool continues their impressive march for the first-ever Premier League title, beating Southampton yesterday 2-0, courtesy of goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson. You’ll Never Walk Alone! For context, Liverpool is my Premier League club (same ownership group that holds the Red Sox, and I was born in Massachusetts. Save the Patriots hate for an ear that cares).
  • This one’s for you, Coach Mike (Orlando United FC). Everton, Mike’s team of choice, down 2-0 for almost half of the match, pulled multiple proverbial rabbits out of their hat to come back and ultimately score what has to be a heartbreaking goal against Watford, winning 3-2 despite playing a man down for the final 20 minutes or so. Well done, lads!

  • Here’s yet another Erling Haaland share — the kid can’t stop scoring for his new club in Germany — Dortmund! He bagged another brace, bringing his tally to seven league goals in just three matches (an average of about a goal per 20 minutes of play). I love it, but as a Bayern Munich supporter, I hate it. I’m clearly conflicted. But cheers to this youngster, I can’t wait to watch what is sure to be a successful career unfold! Oh, and the kid is making an impact on Norway’s state pension fund. I’m not kidding. We have budding superstar on our hands here and hey man, you interested in wearing red?

  • Okay, now we can end on a Bayern note. Thiago, you sly dog you…

All right, that’s all I’ve got for you today, folks. Enjoy the precious remainder of your Sunday and then, as always, kick some ass this week. You know that I know that you’re more than capable. Get it done, whatever it is. Much love.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/12/24

Leagues Cup forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup win, USMNT U-23 loses to Japan, NWSL expansion options, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. The USMNT plays tonight in Orlando, and I hope that you have tickets. If not, we can still watch as we wait for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday. On a personal note, this Friday will mark my ninth anniversary with The Mane Land. It’s been a heck of a ride, and I’m glad you’ve been there with us. Here’s to many more years to come. Let’s get to the links.

Leagues Cup Forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup Win

Orlando City is playing in the Leagues Cup starting at the end of July and here’s a nice guide to Orlando’s group for the tournament. Of course, the Leagues Cup organizers want you to be pumped so that you watch and buy tickets. I think that is something we should do simply to support the club. However, I don’t think they went about promoting the competition in quite the right way. In a tweet that has since been deleted, the tournament’s social media team stated the Leagues Cup would be Orlando’s chance to win its first trophy. Did you catch the mistake? Taylor Twellman did.

Good on you, Taylor. Facundo Torres was indeed brilliant in that match, as was Benji Michel. Of course, there were others that caught the faux pas as well.

I think we should also be mentioning the USL Championships, but what do I know? Evidently, more than the Leagues Cup’s social media team.

USMNT to Honor Pulse Victims

There’s plenty of fake, corporate shows of support for Pride Month , but in general I think that the USMNT and USWNT have done a good job of being legitimate allies to the LGBTQIA+ community. Tonight, the USMNT will play a friendly against Brazil at Camping World Stadium on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The players will be wearing Pride jerseys to honor those that lost their lives so senselessly eight years ago.

In terms of the game, the USMNT will be without Josh Sargent for the match, and Tyler Adams will only get limited minutes if he plays, as both are coming back from injuries. Get well before the Copa America, lads.

Lions on International Duty

The United States U-23 Men’s National Team lost 2-0 to Japan in its final friendly match before the Olympics. Orlando City’s Duncan McGuire found himself on a bit of an island up top as the U.S. had difficulty moving the ball through the midfield. Hopefully, the U.S. got such play out of their system heading into the Olympics.

OCB’s Wilfredo Rivera made the most of his time playing in Puerto Rico’s World Cup qualifier against Anguilla, scoring a brace in the 8-0 victory. This win comes after a scoreless draw with El Salvador last week and Puerto Rico’s remaining group games during this round of qualifying will be next June.

Exploring NWSL Expansion Options

The NWSL will be expanding to 16 teams in 2026 with many cities vying for the next franchise. The leaders include Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis. Atlanta, Denver, and Jacksonville are potential choices as well. If it was to be given to either Atlanta or Jacksonville they would be regional rivals for the Orlando Pride. The league is expected to make a decision by the fourth quarter of 2024.

Free Kicks

  • Congratulations to the United States U-15 Women’s National Team, which won 4-0 over Germany.
  • Did you ever have one of those dreams that was a little scary, but also absolutely hilarious? This preview of Inter Miami’s new mascot is a bit like that. To misquote Jaws: “Ever seen an Inter Miami mascot’s eyes, Chief? He’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes.”
  • The Cayman Islands Men’s National Football Team forfeited its match against Cuba because many of its players are on visas in the United States. If those players were to travel to Cuba, the U.S. may have canceled those visas due to travel restrictions.
  • This is one of the most ridiculous no-calls I’ve ever seen. India got royally hosed.

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday night. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/11/24

Julie Doyle up for Goal of the Week, scouting Brazil ahead of USMNT match, Valencia fans convicted of racial abuse, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. After a brief break, Orlando City will be back in action when it takes on LAFC at home on Saturday. The Orlando Pride will visit a struggling North Carolina Courage side on the same day, while Orlando City B will have an oddly placed Thursday match against Chattanooga FC. With such a busy week ahead of us, it’s little surprise that we have a lot to talk over this morning. Let’s get into it.

Julie Doyle Up for Goal of the Week

Pride forward Julie Doyle has been nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week for her strike against the San Diego Wave during Friday’s 1-1 draw. Doyle opened the scoring in the 36th minute with an extremely well taken goal that came from a Barbra Banda assist. The Zambian forward made a run down the right wing and crossed for Doyle, but the ball was a little behind her and the chance looked to have gone. It hadn’t though, because Doyle contorted her body, hung out a foot, and let the momentum from the ball carry it into the back of San Diego’s net. Make sure you go vote for her to win!

Brazil Scouting Report

The United States Men’s National Team will play its final friendly before Copa America tomorrow at Camping World Stadium, right here in Orlando. The idea of any USMNT game is slightly nauseating after the Yanks were throttled 5-1 by Colombia on Saturday, but the fact that they’ll square off against a loaded Brazil side means things aren’t going to be any easier. While Brazil has struggled early on in World Cup qualifying, it will likely run out a front three of Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr., and Raphina that’s capable of causing plenty of damage. Brazil prefers to control the ball and build from the back with short passing movements, but has no qualms about ceding possession and breaking on the counter, something that caused no shortage of issues for the U.S. against Colombia.

Valencia Fans Convicted of Racial Abuse

A trio of Valencia fans will serve eight months in prison after being convicted of racially abusing Vinicius Jr. Additionally, they are barred from entering soccer stadiums for two years and will pay for court proceedings. The convictions are the first for racism in professional soccer in Spain, and a case was opened after the fans made monkey noises and gestures during a game in May of 2023. The Brazilian forward in particular has faced racial abuse during his time playing in Spain, but he’s far from the only player, as the trial for a fan accused of abusing Inaki Williams during a match in 2020 has still yet to even begin.

The Soccer Tournament Concludes

The Soccer Tournament wrapped up last night with a pair of engrossing championship matches. In the women’s bracket, US Women defeated the North Carolina Courage by a score of 6-3, with Talia Dellapuerta scoring the winning goal. US Women featured United States Women’s National Team greats Heather O’Reilly and Ali Kreiger, and the team won the first women’s edition of the tournament and the $1 million prize that comes with it.

On the men’s side, former Orlando City player Nani and his team Nani FC fell to La Bombonera, which scored mere minutes into the match and never looked back on its way to a convincing 4-0 win. La Bombonera becomes the second team to win it all following Newtown Pride FC’s victory in last year’s inaugural tournament.

Free Kicks

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/10/24

Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo won’t play for Uruguay in Copa America, Pride and OCB draw, USMNT drilled by Colombia, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Alex Corrie

Hello, Mane Landers! I hope all is well down in Florida. I was busy at Under Armour all weekend and managing the broadcast operations for the NISA league’s matches last night. The Lions were off this weekend, but we had the Orlando Pride and OCB in action. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Torres and Araujo Not On Uruguay Squad for Copa America

Uruguay National Team manager Marcelo Bielsa confirmed his roster for the 2024 Copa America over the weekend, and Orlando City’s Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo didn’t make the final roster.

Torres and Araujo played briefly in the second half in Uruguay’s 4-0 win over Mexico in a friendly match last week. Uruguay will now prepare for its upcoming group stage matches in the Copa America against Panama, Bolivia, and the United States. Torres and Araujo will be back with Orlando City this week to get ready for their upcoming matchup against LAFC on Saturday.

Orlando Pride, San Diego Wave Play to 1-1 Draw

The Orlando Pride drew 1-1 Friday against the San Diego Wave at Snapdragon Stadium and saw their NWSL record win streak end at eight matches. Julie Doyle scored the opener for the Pride, but the Wave were able to grab an equalizer in the second half as both sides got a point. The Pride remains unbeaten this season in the NWSL. After this weekend’s results across the league, Orlando and the Kansas City Current are tied with 28 points, but Kansas City is in first on goal differential. The Pride will be on the road again this weekend to take on the North Carolina Courage Saturday.

OCB Draws at Home vs. Carolina Core FC, Snags Shootout Point

On Friday, Orlando City B drew 2-2 against Carolina Core FC at Osceola County Stadium. The Young Lions were off to a poor start early in the match, trailing 2-0 in the first half. In the second half, OCB got things back on track with goals from Alex Freeman and Imanol Almaguer to tie the match. It went to penalties after finishing tied. OCB won the extra point with a 6-5 shootout win over Carolina. That result puts the Young Lions back in the playoff hunt in seventh in the Eastern Conference with 18 points. OCB will be back in action Thursday at home against Chattanooga FC.

Colombia Dominates USMNT in Friendly Action

The U.S. Men’s National Team fell 5-1 to Colombia Saturday at FedEx Field and suffered its heaviest defeat under Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. It wasn’t good from the start as the USMNT conceded two goals in the first 19 minutes of the match in the first half. Tim Weah pulled one back for the U.S. before Colombia added three more goals towards the end of the second half to seal the win. Colombia is on a seven-match winning streak and is unbeaten in 22 matches. The last time the USMNT gave up this many goals was in the 2009 Gold Cup final in a 5-0 defeat to Mexico. The U.S. needs to improve fast with its Copa America opener less than two weeks from now. It will be a quick turnaround for the Americans as they take on Brazil Wednesday at Camping World Stadium in their final friendly match before Copa America starts.

Free Kicks

  • FC Dallas has announced the departure of Head Coach Nico Estevez. Assistant Coach Peter Luccin will lead the team on an interim basis while the club begins its search for a new head coach. FC Dallas is 13th in the Western Conference with 14 points.
  • The Chicago Red Stars broke an NWSL attendance record in their match over the weekend as 35,038 fans showed up at Wrigley Field, but the Red Stars lost 2-1 to Bay FC.
  • Wrexham co-owner Rob McElhenney is renewing his efforts to lure former Real Madrid star Gareth Bale out of retirement to join the club. He also stated that the club’s offer is still on the table.
  • In Jesse Marsch’s second match as Canada’s head coach, Canada held France to a scoreless draw in a friendly match on Sunday.

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

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