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Lion Links: 7/18/20



Hello, Mane Landers. I hope everyone is doing well this weekend as we are more than halfway through the month. Work has been busier for me now with the Disney theme parks open. I barely had time to watch some soccer, but I’ll be free to watch Orlando City’s next game Monday night. Now, let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Trades for First-Round Pick

Orlando City SC acquired a first-round pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft in a trade with the Philadelphia Union. In the other half of the trade, the Lions traded away the Homegrown Player rights for defender Nathan Harriel. The 19-year-old is a Florida native, but became a member of the Union’s academy and signed with the Bethlehem Steel last year. It’s a pretty good trade for the Lions, although the value of that draft pick will depend on how well the Union perform this season.

Oscar Pareja and the Lions Prepare for Monday

Speaking of the Union, the Lions need a win or a draw against them Monday to finish on top of Group A and position themselves nicely moving forward in the MLS is Back tournament. Head Coach Oscar Pareja is keeping the Lions focused in training with a shot at nine points in the group stage on the line.

“The group has been training normally…learning, progressing, and trying to be a better team every day,” said Pareja after Friday’s session. “The group has been concentrating on the things we have done well, but also the things we need to improve, knowing that the next match is very important as well. The objective [is to] keep adding [regular season] points but at the same time have the opportunity to take the next step for what is coming in the tournament.”

The Spotlight Won’t Blind Chris Mueller

Chris Mueller has been in good form since the MLS is Back Tournament started. With three goals in two games, the 23-year-old is just trying to stay focused on his game and not the attention he’s been getting from it.

“Honestly I’m just trying to continue to play my game and not focus too much on the hype,” Mueller said. “I know that nothing’s really happened yet, I just want to continue to play my football and take it game by game. It’s easy to get caught up in that stuff if you read it and look into it a lot and obviously it feels good to score goals and help my team win which is ultimately what I love to do. I think all those things will come in due time as long as I stay focused on the task at hand.”

There’s chatter about Mueller deserving a look to join the United States Men’s National team as well. I expected Mueller to score more this year than in the past. USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter should call him up soon if he keeps this up. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below if Mueller deserves a shot in the Stars & Stripes.

NWSL Challenge Cup Quarterfinal Recap

There was a huge upset in the NWSL Challenge Cup quarterfinals as the top-seeded, two-time league champion North Carolina Courage lost 1-0 to the Portland Thorns. Rookie Morgan Weaver scored the only goal in the 68th minute to send the Thorns into the semifinals. This was the first win in the tournament for the Thorns and they ended the Courage’s four-game win streak and tournament run.

A full 90 minutes couldn’t separate Utah Royals FC and the Houston Dash, with the game coming down to penalty kicks. The Houston Dash came out on top thanks to three big saves by Jane Campbell.

Today’s games will include OL Reign taking on the Chicago Red Stars and the Washington Spirit playing against Sky Blue FC. You can watch these games with a CBS All Access subscription, or follow along on social media. NWSL fans are working hard to make sure the league not only gets the attention it deserves, but encourages growth in the sport moving forward.

Orlando City B Schedule Released

USL League One announced the full league schedule for the 2020 season which starts tonight. There was a change in format for the season and Orlando City B will now play 16 games instead of 20. The Young Lions will start their season on Aug. 1 on the road against South Georgia Tormenta FC. They will then continue the road trip on Aug. 7 against New England Revolution II and will play their first home game at Osceola Heritage Park Aug. 14 against Fort Lauderdale CF.

OCB will conclude its season with a two-game home stand against the Richmond Kickers Oct. 21 and the Greenville Triumph Oct. 24. Fort Lauderdale CF will host Greenville Triumph tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPN+, and Orlando fans may see a familiar face if they tune in as former Lion and Alex Morgan’s husband Servando Carrasco signed with Fort Lauderdale.

MLS is Back Tournament Results

The New England Revolution took the lead after a goal by Designated Player Adam Buksa, but Federico Higuain scored to salvage a point for D.C. United in a 1-1 draw. The Revolution are now tied at the top of Group B with four points and the two teams will fight for control of the group Tuesday morning.

Kellyn Acosta gave the Colorado Rapids an early lead over Sporting Kansas City with a goal in the sixth minute, but the game broke wide open when Rapids center back Danny Wilson was sent off in the 61st minute. Soon after the red card, Sporting KC scored twice to take the lead. Rapids forward Jonathan Lewis scored to level the score, but Graham Zusi scored late in stoppage time to give Sporting KC the 3-2 win.

Both Minnesota United and Real Salt Lake had a chance to clinch a spot in the knockout round, but they played to a 0-0 draw in an even contest. Although they couldn’t come away with a win, the Loons duo of former Lion Kevin Molino and former Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath are doing well in their old stomping ground. The pair were undefeated in the home games played at this venue back in 2014 and have continued that trend in their return with Minnesota.

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That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your weekend, take care of yourselves, and I’ll see you next time.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/6/23

Lions earn weekly honors, OCSC headed in the right direction, Kylie Strom lands on NWSL Best XI of May, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I got absolutely clattered during my Sunday league game over the weekend, and I’ve been hobbling around ever since. Fortunately, my fingers still work just fine, because there’s plenty of things to talk through this morning. Let’s get after it.

Lions Earn Weekly Honors

Orlando was well represented on the MLS Team of the Matchday following a 3-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls Saturday night. Facundo Torres and Ivan Angulo were both named to the starting lineup, while Oscar Pareja was given the nod as head coach. Torres scored two goals and Angulo recorded a goal and an assist in the victory. Dave Rohe gave Torres a 7.5 and Angulo an 8, along with the Man of the Match award, in our player grades. It was nice to see other people take notice of the performances they put in. Keep up the good work, fellas!

OCSC Heading in the Right Direction

Orlando City got the complete performance that it’s been looking for in recent weeks, and Oscar Pareja is very pleased with what he saw from his team. He went out of his way to highlight the fact that the Lions stayed vigilant and didn’t relax and give up a goal as the game went on, something that’s been a problem at times this year. While Pareja said that things aren’t perfect yet, he and Torres were both of the opinion that the team is playing better lately, and Torres felt that Saturday was OCSC’s best performance of the season.

Kylie Strom Earns Monthly Plaudits

Orlando Pride defender Kylie Strom has been named to the NWSL Best XI for the month of May. Strom started in each of the Pride’s four matches during May and went the full 90 minutes in all but one of them. She helped anchor a back line that only gave up two goals during those four games, but the highlight of her month came during the team’s home game against the Washington Spirit. Strom scored the winning goal in the second half as the Pride handed the Spirit their first loss of the season. Here’s hoping she continues the good form!

Fines and Bans Proposed for Vinicius’ Abusers

The four men accused of hanging an effigy of Vinicius Jr. from a bridge are set to have hefty punishments levied against them. Spain’s anti-violence commission has proposed fines of  €60,001 and two-year stadium bans as a result of their actions. Additionally, the three men accused of racially abusing the Brazilian winger during a match against Valencia may be given fines and a one-year stadium ban as well. All seven were arrested and, although they’ve been released, could still face criminal charges, although that would be unprecedented. The Real Madrid player has suffered repeated instances of racial abuse since arriving in Spain. Hopefully the punishments will do something to deter the ugly incidents from occurring.

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  • Orlando City has picked up more points on the road than any other team in the Eastern Conference.

That’s all for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/5/23

Torres could be turning the corner, lights go out on OCB, U-20 USMNT knocked out of World Cup, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers. It was quite the packed weekend of soccer, so I won’t blame you if you’re a little tired starting out your week. Orlando City’s victory over the New York Red Bulls was certainly the highlight, and I hope the Lions’ form continues next weekend when I come down to Exploria Stadium for the match against the Colorado Rapids. Let’s get to the links.

Torres Could Be Turning a Corner

Facundo Torres scored a brace in the match against the New York City Red Bulls on Saturday night, and perhaps it is the type of performance that will kick his season into gear. We saw the same thing last season, as Torres started slowly but came on in the second half of the season. Hopefully, Saturday’s match serves as notice he is about to do the same in 2023.

Torres’ two goals doubled his production on the season, with three of the four goals coming against the Red Bulls, and two of them on penalty kicks. Orlando City has desperately needed Torres to find his form. His performance earned him a nomination for MLS Player of the Matchday, so vote early and vote often.

Toronto FC II Turns Lights Out on OCB

OCB traveled to the Great White North to take on Toronto FC II at York Lions Stadium in Toronto, Ontario. It was a difficult night for the Young Lions as Toronto took an early lead and then doubled it before the end of the half. Mason Stajduhar made the start for OCB since Javier Otero was on international duty with Venezuela, but he was unable to help OCB, as the team in front of him played poorly.

After Toronto scored the third goal of the match to go up 3-0, the lights in the stadium went out, much like the hopes of any chance at a comeback for the Young Lions. It was supposed to be a short delay, but that was not the case. Ultimately, lights or no lights it was a night to forget for OCB. The lights never came back on and the match was abandoned and ruled a 3-0 final due to a local curfew. Sean Rollins has your partial match recap.

U-20 USMNT Crashes Out of the U-20 World Cup

The U-20 USMNT team lost 2-0 to Uruguay in the quarterfinal match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup, continuing a trend of the U.S. bowing out in the same round. Heading into the match, the U.S. hadn’t given up a goal in the competition. That all changed in the 21st minute, when Uruguay’s Anderson Duarte scored to put his side up early. The U.S. didn’t help their cause in the second half thanks to an own goal by Joshua Wynder. Even when the U.S. started to get chances on goal, they would be blocked by their own teammates or take a bounce the wrong way. It was as if all the good luck and quality the team played with to get to the quarterfinal was turned against them. It was fun while it lasted.

U-20 USWNT Falls to Mexico in Concacaf Final

Two days after qualifying for the U-20 Women’s World Cup, thanks to a 2-1 win over Costa Rica, the U-20 USWNT lost to Mexico in the Concacaf U-20 Women’s Championship match by the same 2-1 score. Both teams left it late, with Mailin Orozco starting the scoring for Mexico and Onyeka Gamero equalizing for the U.S. A bit of poor defending allowed Mexico to get the game winning goal from Fatima Servin in the 87th minute.

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  • The U-16 Men’s Youth National Team closed out the 2023 International Dream Cup with a 2-1 win over the U-16 Nigeria Youth National Team. Orlando City academy goalkeeper Zackory Campagnolo got the start for the U.S.
  • Former Lion Cyle Larin’s Real Valladolid were relegated to La Liga 2 thanks to a final day 0-0 draw with Getafe. Larin Lead Real Valladolid with seven goals on the season in only 13 appearances.
  • LAFC took on Leon in the second leg of the Concacaf Champions League final Sunday night. Leon came into the match up 2-1 on aggregate and won the 2023 Concacaf Champions League.
  • During the Concacaf Champions League match, Aaron Long attempted a header for LAFC and had to be subbed off due to concussion protocols. It’s a good example of why the protocols are in place.
  • Israel shocked Brazil, defeating the favorites 3-2 in the quarterfinal of the U-20 World Cup. This is Israel’s first appearance at the competition and the team will now face Uruguay in the semifinals.
  • There were much bigger names in the $1 million, 7v7 The Soccer Tournament, but in the end it was Newtown Pride that captured the prize, outlasting teams like Wrexham AFC and a team made up of former USWNT players (which lost to Wrexham, 12-0). The club, which beat SLC FC in the final, will donate a portion of their winnings to Sandy Hook Elementary School charities.
  • Folarin Balogun scored in his final match for Reims in Ligue 1 and is now looking forward to a call-up to the USMNT at the Nations League competition.

That will do it for today. If you make it either the Orlando City or Orlando Pride match this weekend, I hope to see you. Please say hello.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/3/23

The Orlando Pride hit the road, OCB players called up, USMNT U-20 squad can make history, and more.



Merry match day morning, Mane Landers! I hope you have multiple screens ready as both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are in action this evening. Hopefully, it will be a weekend of better results for the clubs, as both are coming off difficult results. It’s been a busy week for me already and it won’t slow down anytime soon, so enjoying matches is a nice break. Let’s get to the links.

Orlando Pride Start a Busy Stretch

The Orlando Pride are heading west to play the Houston Dash tonight, followed by an NWSL Challenge Cup match against NJ/NY Gotham FC on Wednesday, and then back to Exploria Stadium to host the Portland Thorns next Sunday. Three games in nine days will test the club’s depth and it’s reasonable to expect a heavily rotated side in the Challenge Cup match. The Pride enter tonight looking for a second straight win over the Dash. To make that a reality the Pride will need to create and this time convert on the chances on goal.

OCB Venezuelan Call-ups

Goalkeeper Javier Otero and fullback/winger Moises Tablante have been called up to the Venezuelan National Football Team for a pair of friendlies this month (translate). Venezuela will face Honduras on June 15 in Washington, D.C. and Guatemala at Rentschler Field on June 18 in East Hartford, Connecticut.

Orlando City B may only be without them for one match, but the team will certainly miss the pair during the time they are on international duty. Otero has been very good in goal, and Tablante has been contributing to the attack. Of course, it is an honor for both to represent their national team and we wish them well.

Pride Month Kicks Off

Both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are celebrating Pride Month with logo changes for both squads. The Pride will be hosting the “Pride in our City” match against the Portland Thorns on June 11 in tribute to the victims of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy.

The Lions and the Pride are only two of many other sports teams to recognize and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ communities in June. Other teams include the Wilf-owned Minnesota Vikings and Florida-based Major League Baseball club, the Tampa Bay Rays.

USMNT U-20 Opportunities

When the U-20 USMNT squad meets Uruguay on Sunday there is the possibility that some of the players will also make an appearance for the senior squad in the 2026 World Cup. It’s also possible that this team can advance, possibly to the final. If so, they will make history. If the team makes it past Uruguay either Brazil or Israel will await in the semifinal. Of course, the U.S. is not the only team in Argentina with a path to the trophy.

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That will do it for today. Check back for our coverage of both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride. Vamos Orlando!

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