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Lion Links

Lion Links: 3/8/20



Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. Let’s begin by wishing the Orlando Pride’s Claire Emslie a special happy birthday! The Scottish phenom turns 26 years old today! She’s been in great form for her nation and she’s just now entering her prime, hopefully she brings her best to the Pride this season and helps the club return to form. We’re lucky to have you, Claire!

All right, on to today’s serving of Links. Enjoy!

Lions Fall Late to the Rapids

Following a draw against Real Salt Lake that the Lions could have easily won, the boys in purple traveled to Colorado to take on the Rapids last night. Despite the lads rocking the new Heart and Sol kit, it was hard for me to feel optimistic going into this one with the lineup that Oscar Pareja chose. The match was a back and forth affair, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Lions’ performance. I actually called the Chris Mueller sub and goal at halftime (ask our staff…), so his “super sub” label seems to be sticking around. It is what it is.

In the end, the Lions walked away with zero points and a 2-1 heartbreaking loss — yet the supporters, as well as myself, likely still feel like it was City’s match to win. What’s continuing to be painfully obvious is that the Lions are missing their offensive weapons. I sure hope this is remedied soon. Michael Citro has your match recap.

And check back later today when the bearded guy drops his five takeaways.

SeaWolves Drown in the Wave

The Orlando SeaWolves…well, they’ve endured a horrid season. Yesterday’s match, coupled with today’s rematch against the Wave, marks the final road trip that the SeaWolves will make this season. I’m sure the Orlando-based MASL club is more than ready to put this season behind it though, as a record of 1-18 — they lost this one 11-3 — has plagued the team and resulted in poor morale and chemistry. The Wave, to their credit, have been having a strong season and moved to 13-6 following yesterday’s drubbing of the SeaWolves. Today’s match should bring more of the same, but who knows, maybe the SeaWolves will ride the Wave into a second win…man, even the bad dad jokes won’t even cleanse the bad taste from my mouth when it comes to this season.

Cheers are in order for Piotr Sliwa, at the very least, as the man in goal is set to retire. Thanks for all of your hard work, Piotr. You will be missed.

How Nani Reached the Top

Having now officially served his two-match suspension, Lions captain Nani is raring to go, ready to return to the pitch, don the famous purple kit, and make an immediate impact. While the Portuguese legend will likely make an instant difference on the field, many may not know that the winger was not an instant success as a player.

The winger’s ascension to the top is, at this point, well documented, but I have to be honest; I had no idea just how much others around him wanted him to succeed, and how far they went to see just that. Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably one of the greatest players of all time (and most certainly one of the most divisive), even let Nani live with him at his home in Manchester following his move to Manchester United, providing the Portuguese up-and-comer with a comfortable place to grow while adapting to one of the most competitive leagues in the world. The Lions are lucky to have Nani and personally, I can’t wait to see the icon return to the pitch for the Lions.

SheBelieves Cup: Today’s Fixtures

The U.S. Women’s National Team opened the SheBelieves Cup tournament with a 2-0 win against a strong England side, and today face off against the Spanish national team. Meanwhile, the English women will play against Japan. Christen Press and Carli Lloyd both found the back of the net against England, and Spain should be an easier opponent (knock on wood), but don’t expect a rout from the women donning the Stars & Stripes. The Spanish are a rising side in women’s soccer and have played the USWNT close in their two previous meetings.

England should put away Japan, but I’ve come to realize over the years that you can never count out the Nadeshiko Japan, even though the USWNT beat them in convincing fashion in the 2015 World Cup, 5-2.

Free Kicks

  • Wait…you too, Josh Sargent! Take a bow! Americans abroad have been lighting it up as of late, particularly in the German Bundesliga. I love it!

  • Former Lion Dillon Powers is finding success at Dundee United, but sheesh, their social media manager produces some borderline cringe-worthy content. Regardless, Powers was the lone scorer in his club’s 1-1 draw with Partick Thistle yesterday in the top tier Scottish league.

  • Inter Miami scored the club’s first goal yesterday, and it came from Rodolfo Pizzaro, their marquee signing in their maiden voyage into MLS play. That’s cool, I guess.

  • Here’s a lesson for everyone: don’t speak poorly of your boss. AC Milan chief football executive, or former executive that is, Zvonimir Boban was fired following a “rogue interview” in which he criticized his club’s owner and CEO. Not a smart move, Boban. Not a smart move.
  • Since we mentioned Cristiano earlier in this serving of Links, why not end with his inevitable counterpart, the one who he’ll be forever compared to? Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest player to ever grace a pitch on this planet, scored five times in a Champions League match eight years ago yesterday. Sorry for the reminder, Bayer Leverkusen supporters.

Before I make my leave, I have to show you how awesome this young point guard makes his entrances, courtesy of his amazing father. I can’t express to you folks how much I love this, and how many times I watched it, with a happy tear forming in my eye.

Okay, now that I’ve left you just a tad emotional (if that doesn’t lift your spirits, you might be a monster), that’s all I’ve got for you, Mane Landers. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend (make sure your clocks are appropriately reset), and then have an excellent week!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/30/24

Orlando City draws on the road, Duncan McGuire called up, Grace Chanda will reportedly sign with the Orlando Pride, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

For those of you who watched Orlando City’s game Wednesday night, I hope the universe repays you with good fortune in some way today. The week rolls on though, as we get ready for more Orlando soccer this weekend, along with international friendlies around the world to enjoy. For now though, let’s get to the links!

Orlando City Draws Against the Chicago Fire

The Lions went on the road and had to settle for a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire. Neither goal was anything to write home about in a match that was highlighted by sloppy play and yet another controversial refereeing decision the Lions had to deal with. A draw on the road while on short rest generally isn’t the worst result in the world, but it was a poor performance from the Lions. They’ll aim to get back in the winning column this Saturday when they travel to play the New York Red Bulls.

Duncan McGuire Called Up For Training Camp

Orlando City forward Duncan McGuire was one of 25 players called up for the United States Men’s Olympic Soccer Team’s training camp ahead of a friendly with Japan on June 11. McGuire has earned his spot on the team during a solid second season with the Lions that has included five goals. Columbus Crew goalkeeper Patrick Schulte, Koln forward Damion Downs, and LA Galaxy defender Jalen Neal are a few of the other notable players called up. Nashville SC center back Walker Zimmerman is the only player over 23 that was called up for this camp.

Grace Chanda Will Reportedly Join the Pride

An agreement was reportedly reached between the Orlando Pride and Zambian attacker Grace Chanda for her to join the club on a deal through 2025, with an option for 2026 as well. It would be a free transfer, but she would not join the Pride until after the Olympics. Chanda was named to the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations Best XI and was also on the shortlist for the 2022 Best CAF Women’s Player of the Year Award. The 26-year-old did not play in last year’s World Cup due to an illness, but has come off the bench in Madrid CFF’s past two games. The Pride are having a historic year and Chanda should help them push for a title if she does end up joining her international teammate, Barbra Banda.

Getting to Know Emily Sams

Pride defender Emily Sams is the latest player to field questions as part of the club’s video series for fans to learn more about the players. Sams spoke about the disappointment in how the team’s season ended last year after missing out on the playoffs on a goal differential tiebreaker. She also talked about the team’s aspiration to not only make the playoffs but contend for a title this year. It’s her second season with the Pride and she’s been a key reason why Orlando has done so well so far. Sams discussed what the team’s atmosphere is like, as well as how she likes to spend time outdoors exploring Orlando’s many lakes when not on the field.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/29/24

Orlando City faces the Chicago Fire tonight, Kaká to be honored, Pride linked to Grace Chanda, and more.



Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. It’s match day for Orlando City as the Lions travel to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Fire. Orlando City looks to get back to its winning ways in the midweek matchup and we will have all the coverage you need during the match on our Twitter account, and after the match right here at The Mane Land.

We would also like to wish Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines a very happy birthday! Frankly, it’s the least we can do given everything he has done so far this NWSL season. For now, let’s get to the links.

Lions Prepare for the Fire

Orlando City faces the Chicago Fire tonight at 8:30 p.m. at Soldier Field. The Lions will look to extend a three-match winning streak over the Fire. Facundo Torres has been particularly effective against Chicago, so hopefully he can start scoring some more goals as well. We will have our match preview a little later today.

Kaká to Become First Member of Legends Terrace at Inter&Co Stadium

Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are creating a “Legends Terrace” at Inter&Co Stadium to permanently honor those who have made a lasting impact with either club. Unsurprisingly, the first inductee will be the one and only Kaká. The ceremony will take place following the July 6 match against D.C. United. There will also be a concert featuring Latin performer Jota Quest in the Publix Mane Street Plaza outside the stadium prior to the match.

Orlando Pride Linked With Grace Chanda

Do you like Barbra Banda and what she has done since joining the Pride? Do you find yourself wondering, “got anymore of those Zambian strikers?” Well, it just so happens that the Orlando Pride are reportedly interested in signing Zambian forward Grace Chanda. According to the report, the San Diego Wave, Racing Louisville, and the Pride are all interested in signing Chanda. Given the Pride are serious about contending for a title this season, adding another quality attacker is a good move. Let’s hope the rumor is true.

Pride’s Summer Cup Schedule Adjusted

The Olympics won’t be the only women’s soccer competition this summer, as the inaugural NWSL x LIGA MX Femenil Summer Cup will start on July 19. We have learned that the Orlando Pride match against C.F. Monterrey at Inter&Co Stadium has been moved up from Sunday, July 28 to Saturday, July 27. The move does not affect Orlando City’s schedule, as the Lions play a rare Friday match that week. You can check out more information on the competition here.

Free Kicks

  • I know that there are those who are upset with the Leagues Cup as it definitely impacted the U.S. Open Cup this year. However, if you do decide to go to a match, at least part of the ticket price will go to a good cause.
  • Congratulations to Felipe. That is a lot of matches and we appreciate him being with our beloved Orlando City.
  • Congratulations also go out to Orlando City academy player Camilio Guerrero for earning a call-up to a U.S. U-14 national talent identification camp.
  • USMNT winger Tim Weah is making money moves in the Big Apple.

That will do it for today. We will see you on the other side of the match tonight. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/28/24

Yutaro Tsukada earns recognition, Americans in midweek action, European coaching updates, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you all had a restful holiday weekend, and if you didn’t, then I hope you’re well on the way to recovery. We’ve got an exciting schedule this week, with two Orlando City games before an Orlando City B game on Sunday. It’s also OCB forward Yeiler Valencia’s birthday today, so let’s wish him well and jump into today’s links!

Yutaro Tsukada Earns MLS NEXT Pro Honors

OCB winger Yutaro Tsukada was named MLS NEXT Pro Player of Matchweek 11 for his performance in the team’s 5-0 home win against Huntsville City FC. The 22-year-old provided the assist on OCB’s first goal after using some nice skill on the ball to shake his defender. Tsukada then scored a goal of his own off of a free kick in the second half. The rookie has been electric for the Young Lions this season, recording four goals and four assists so far. Hopefully he can keep the momentum rolling when OCB faces Inter Miami II this Sunday.

Major League Soccer Stock Watch

Every week gives us a better idea of each MLS team’s capabilities, so let’s check in on how things are looking following the latest matchday. LAFC is on a great trajectory, as it’s won three consecutive league games and five straight in all competitions. Elsewhere in the Western Conference, Real Salt Lake scored three goals in the final 30 minutes of play to stretch its unbeaten streak to 11 games, and Cristian Arango didn’t have to do all of the heavy lifting. At the other end of things, the New England Revolution have lost three straight games, and six of their last seven. Likewise, the shine looks to have worn off from St. Louis City’s expansion season, as the team has also lost three straight games and simply doesn’t look the same as last year.

Americans in Midweek Action

With most of the European club seasons having concluded, there aren’t as many United States Men’s National Team players in action during the working week, but there are still some important games to make note of. Chief among those is Venezia’s game against Cremonese on Thursday. Tanner Tessmann, Gianluca Busio and Venezia will take on Cremonese over two legs, with the winner gaining promotion to Serie A. Left back Jonathan Gomez may take the field tomorrow morning in Real Sociedad’s friendly against Tokyo Verde as well.

In a pair of friendlies on Friday, Mexico plays Bolivia and Uruguay takes on Costa Rica. With the USMNT set to face both Bolivia and Uruguay in group play of this summer’s Copa America, the two matches present a good chance to better gauge the Yanks’ opponents.

European Coaching Updates

Several notable European club teams have coaching vacancies to fill this summer, and there are some updates on a few of those positions. Chelsea has reportedly made an approach for Leicester City’s Enzo Maresca, and has requested permission to talk to the manager who guided the Foxes back to the Premier League in his first year with the club. Meanwhile, despite interest from Manchester United, Kieran McKenna is reportedly set to stay at Ipswich Town, and has had talks about extending his contract. Finally, Aston Villa has extended Unai Emery’s contract, with his new deal keeping him at the club until 2029.

Transfer Rumor Roundup

Transfer season is kicking into gear, and we have several rumors to sift through this morning. Up first, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich are reportedly all in hot pursuit of Stade Rennais winger Desire Doue. Casemiro reportedly has a deal lined up with a team in the Saudi Pro League, and may have played his last game for Manchester United. Newly promoted Southampton is reportedly interested in signing Adam Lallana as a free agent. Finally, Paris Saint-Germain is said to have entered the race to sign Bruno Guimaraes, and will face stiff competition from Manchester City and Arsenal.

Free Kicks

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

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