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Lion Links: 10/17/20

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Hello, Mane Landers. I hope everyone made the most of the nice weather this week. The month of October has kept us busy with the NBA Finals wrapping up, MLB playoffs still underway, and plenty of football. I’ve been busy with school projects as of late, but am excited to catch up on some soccer matches this weekend. We have plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City SC Sale Price Reportedly $400 Million

According to Forbes, a source close to the reported sale of Orlando City SC stated the club is on the verge of being sold for $400 million. It is still unknown if the Orlando Pride, Exploria Stadium, or Orlando City B will be part of this transaction. If the deal goes through, it would be quite the profit for owner Flávio Augusto da Silva, who paid a $70 million expansion fee for the club. Last year, Forbes valued OCSC at $295 million, which ranked 12th out of the 26 MLS teams at the time.

Matheus Aiás Finally Cleared

After a lengthy wait, Orlando City forward Matheus Aiás was medically cleared to train with the team. Aiás, who was acquired by Orlando on Aug. 21, will join team training immediately. The news comes at a good time as he adds needed depth at the forward position with Tesho Akindele nursing an injury and Aiás could be available for selection tomorrow when the Lions face the New York Red Bulls.

Although back in Orlando, neither goalkeeper Pedro Gallese nor Sebas Mendez will be available for Orlando tomorrow as they wait in quarantine after playing internationally. However, they arrived back quickly enough that they should be available in the game against Inter Miami on Oct. 24.

Orlando Pride Take on the Courage

The Orlando Pride will conclude the NWSL Fall Series today as they host the North Carolina Courage at Exploria Stadium. This will be the first time the Pride will play a match in Exploria Stadium this season. The Pride’s last match against the Courage resulted in a scoreless stalemate at WakeMed Soccer Park on Sept. 19 in the Pride’s first game of the calendar year. Ashlyn Harris registered four saves in the match, including an NWSL Save of the Week effort in the 53rd minute to maintain a clean sheet. A veteran for the Pride, Harris is excited to play at home and see many Pride players take the field in Exploria Stadium for the first time.

“I think a lot of these players are going to be quite nervous because of how big the stadium is and how much meaning is behind it,” Pride captain Ashlyn Harris said. “It’s going to be new for a lot of these players, so I hope they enjoy the challenge.

“For me, I love this place and I love playing here. It’s going to be weird without our fans, but just to get the field back into a big stadium and get minutes will be so key.”

Chelsee Washington continues to grow with the Pride despite a difficult year considering the pandemic and testing positive for COVID-19. The rookie is using every minute of game experience to adapt and improve at the professional level. You can watch today’s game at 4 p.m. on CBS or CBS All Access.

Orlando City B Withdraws from USL League One

OCSC officially announced that Orlando City B will not return to USL League One in 2021. With a rumored MLS U-23 reserve league possibly starting in 2021, the Young Lions may not have to search far for a new league to play in once their current season concludes. The club is working closely with Major League Soccer in regards to the future and OCB won’t be the only club departing the United Soccer League. Philadelphia Union II and Portland Timbers 2 will leave the USL Championship division. The USL will announce realignment plans for both leagues in the coming weeks. With games still left to play this season, OCB does have a match later tonight on the road against FC Tucson at 10:30 p.m. You can watch the game on ESPN+.

Americans Abroad

The Philadelphia Union’s Brenden Aaronson will leave MLS for RB Salzburg at the conclusion of the MLS season for a record $6 million transfer for the United States-based Homegrown Player. While it’s always exciting seeing an American player head to Europe, Aaronson is focused on winning with the Union this year.

As for the Americans already playing abroad, plenty are in action this weekend. Let’s start in England where Christian Pulisic should get more minutes for Chelsea today as the Blues play Southampton at 10 a.m. to try to snap the Saints’ two-game win streak.

On ESPN+, there is plenty of Bundesliga action with a trio of 9:30 a.m. matches today. Giovanni Reyna is coming off a strong performance after having three assists for Borussia Dortmund last week and the team travels to take on Hoffenheim. Josh Sargent looks to keep his team’s two-game win streak going as Werder Bremen visits Freiburg. Lastly, Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig aim to extend their lead at the top of the Bundesliga when the team plays second place FC Augsburg. It’s also possible Sergiño Dest starts for FC Barcelona against Getafe at 3 p.m. on beIN Sports. Tomorrow, Fulham takes on Sheffield United and we could see both Antonee Robinson and Tim Ream in the starting 11.

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  • The pandemic disrupted Toni Pressley’s plans for a comeback season with the Pride after battling breast cancer in 2019. With the Fall Series ending today, Pressley wants to finish the year strong before looking ahead to 2021. Today’s game is also the club’s second annual Breast Cancer Awareness match and City Furniture is doing its part to raise awareness.


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

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/16/24

Nico Lodeiro earns recognition, Marta up for Goal of the Week, MLS stock watch, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you had a good weekend and got your taxes filed correctly and on time. It was a good weekend for Orlando soccer, as the Orlando Pride, Orlando City B, and Orlando City went undefeated and picked up seven of the nine points on offer. As always, we have a lot to talk through today. Before we get into today’s links, let’s all wish Luis Muriel a happy birthday!

Nico Lodeiro Makes Team of the Matchday Bench

Midfielder Nico Lodeiro has earned recognition for his part in Orlando City’s 3-2 win over D.C. United, making the bench of the latest edition MLS Team of the Matchday. The Uruguayan entered the fray in the 72nd minute and helped OCSC come back and take all three points. He took the corner kick that David Brekalo equalized from, (even though he was not initially credited with the assist) and provided an outstanding through ball for Duncan McGuire’s game-winner. Sean Rollins graded him a 6.5/10 and named him Man of the Match in his player grades as well. Here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Marta’s Goal Nominated

Marta’s game-winning strike during Friday’s contest against Utah Royals FC has been nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week. On the road and in the game as a substitute, it didn’t take long for the Brazilian to make her mark on the match. She was barely on the field for five minutes when she met a ball that was rolling across the box with a first-time strike that she powered in off the back post. It proved to be the game’s only goal and was enough to give the Pride their first win of the season. Make sure you vote for her to win this week’s honor!

MLS Stock Watch

The fortunes of Major League Soccer teams are in constant flux, and it’s always nice to keep track of how your enemies are doing. Former Lion Sacha Kljestan weighed in on which clubs’ stock went up and which went down after the weekend’s games. We start on a good note, as a resilient performance from Orlando City saw the good guys pick up their second win of the season. The LA Galaxy hammered the Vancouver Whitecaps by a score of 3-1, and proved that their place atop the Western Conference standings is no fluke. On the other side of the coin, Toronto FC has given up 10 goals in its last three matches, and Jon Herdman needs to find a way to keep things from getting worse until the Reds’ group of injured players can return to the field.

Americans in Midweek Action

There are two big matches featuring American players this week, so get them marked down on your calendar and don’t miss any of the action. Thursday sees Christian Pulisic, Yunus Musah, and AC Milan travel to the Italian capital to try to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit to Roma in the Europa League quarterfinals. Musah started Sunday’s match against Sassuolo and Pulisic subbed on in the second half as Milan clawed its way back to a 3-3 draw. Friday then has Juventus and Weston McKennie traveling to Cagliari for a Serie A tilt. Juve is currently third in the league and needs to keep picking up results to secure a UEFA Champions League place for next season.

UEFA Champions League Preview

Speaking of the Champions League, the quarterfinals wrap up today and tomorrow and there are a number of storylines to keep an eye on. Luis Enrique is strong in his belief that Paris Saint-Germain can overcome a 3-2 loss in the first leg to advance past Barcelona. Xavi has promised that Barca will look to attack rather than sitting and protecting its lead. Elsewhere, Bayern Munich will be without the suspended Alphonso Davies and likely Kingsley Coman due to injury, and their replacements will be hard pressed to contain Ben White and Bukayo Saka. Finally, Edin Terzic’s substitutions gave Borussia Dortmund a spark in the team’s 2-1 loss to Atletico Madrid in the first leg, which means the coach may have a selection headache on his hands as he tries to lead his side to a comeback.

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That’ll do it for me this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/15/24

Lions beat D.C. United, Pride pick up road win over Utah Royals, Barbra Banda arrives in Orlando, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. Orlando City and the Pride both won over the weekend, and there has been plenty of action in European soccer. Over the past week, I’ve been busy covering high school sports like lacrosse and softball. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Top D.C. United

Orlando City overturned a late 2-1 deficit to win 3-2 against D.C. United at Audi Field over the weekend. David Brekalo scored the equalizer in the second half to tie the match at 2-2. Duncan McGuire came off the bench in the second half and scored in stoppage time, as the Lions beat D.C. United for the first time since Oct. 2, 2021. The Lions were 0-3-1 against D.C. United over the last two seasons prior to Saturday’s win. Orlando has now picked up points in each of the last three matches. Orlando City will be on the road again this weekend when it takes on CF Montreal on Saturday.

Orlando Pride Defeat Utah Royals; Help Arrives

The Orlando Pride got their first win of the 2024 NWSL last Friday with a 1-0 against the Utah Royals. Marta came off the bench in the second half and scored the lone goal to seal the win for Orlando. The Pride drew each of their first three matches to start the season against Racing Louisville, Angel City FC, and the Chicago Red Stars. Friday’s result means the Pride have six points through four league matches and are fifth in the NWSL table.

Despite needing four matches to pick up their first win of the year, the Pride are ahead of last year’s pace at the same point in the season, and remain undefeated (1-0-3) despite still waiting to play with this off-season’s marquee signing, Zambian international striker Barbra Banda. The new Pride forward arrived on Sunday to a warm welcome at Orlando International Airport.

It will be interesting to see how quickly Seb Hines can get Banda acclimated to the club and the league. Orlando could use Banda’s offensive firepower, as the club has struggled to score goals in the early part of the season. The Pride will be back in action against the San Diego Wave this Friday.

Bayer Leverkusen wins Bundesliga; Manchester City Leads EPL Title Race

Bayer Leverkusen cruised to a 5-0 win against Werder Bremen on Sunday to win its first ever Bundesliga title with five league matches left to spare. Xabi Alonso’s side won the league title by a 16-point margin, ending Bayern Munich’s 11-year run as title holders. Leverkusen is also unbeaten through 43 matches across all competitions. Meanwhile, in England, we have a new Premier League title race leader as Manchester City crushed Luton Town 5-1 on Saturday. On Sunday, Arsenal lost 2-0 to Aston Villa and Liverpool lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace. There are six match days remaining and this race could go down to the wire. Manchester City is at the top of the table with 73 points, while Arsenal and Liverpool remain two points behind in second and third, respectively, with 71 points.

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  • Houston Dash winger Maria Sanchez has reportedly requested a trade four months after signing a record-breaking deal in NWSL history in the off-season to remain with the club.
  • Manchester United edged Chelsea 2-1 to beat the Blues for the first time ever. Making the win even bigger was that it took place in the Women’s FA Cup semifinal. United will play Tottenham in the final at Wembley on May 12.
  • The EFL Championship is three weeks away from its finale, with a few clubs featureing Americans still in the mix for promotion. Josh Sargent’s Norwich City side holds the final playoff spot, while Haji Wright’s Conventry and Duane Holmes’ Preston North End in the hunt for a shot at promotion.
  • The AS Roma versus Udinese match was suspended after defender Evan Ndicka collapsed away from play and had to be stretchered off. The game was tied at 1-1 with about 20 minutes remaining when Ndicka went down. The club shared this update on social media.

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/12/24

Orlando Pride play in Utah tonight, Orlando City B earns a point, Europa League quarterfinals begin, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Happy Friday! I hope this week has gone smoothly for you as we gear up for even more Orlando soccer tonight and tomorrow. It should be a nice next few days, even if I’m working for most of it. I don’t have many plans outside of work beyond bonding with my cat and trying a new stuffed bread recipe. Let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world!

Orlando Pride Play the Utah Royals Tonight

The Orlando Pride are on the road tonight for a showdown with the Utah Royals at 9:30 p.m., and you can catch the game on NWSL+ or through Bally Sports if you’re local. Although the Royals are an expansion team this year, the Pride last squared off against the previous Royals back in 2019, with Orlando losing all three games to Utah that season. This season, the Pride are riding a three-game unbeaten streak. However, they are also still on the hunt for their first win after three consecutive draws. While the offense awaits the arrival of Zambian striker Barbra Banda, the Pride have managed to score off of a set piece in each of their three games so far. While a draw on the road wouldn’t be awful by any means, hopefully the Pride can get a solid tally in the win column tonight.

Orlando City B Draws Philadelphia Union II

OCB went on the road to take on Philadelphia Union II and earned a single point after a 1-1 draw and penalty shootout. The two teams traded goals in the first half, but the Young Lions were on the back foot for most of the second half. While Orlando’s offense sputtered, the defense survived chance after chance from Philadelphia to send the game to a shootout. Orlando lost the lengthy shootout, 7-6, claiming just one point, but at least the Young Lions didn’t leave Pennsylvania empty handed. Hopefully OCB can return to its winning ways when it faces off with Crown Legacy FC on April 19.

New York City FC Stadium Plans Finally Approved

Plans to build a soccer-specific stadium in Queens for new grounds for New York City FC were approved by New York City officials. It will be a $780 million stadium expected to open in 2027 and serves as the centerpiece of a redevelopment project in the neighborhood. The 25,000-seat stadium will be right next to Citi Field, which has been one of the many home venues for NYCFC over the years since joining as an expansion side alongside Orlando City in 2015. It’s a bit wild that this stadium is set to open 10 years after Orlando christened its own soccer-specific stadium back in 2017. At least the Lions won’t have to play road games at baseball stadiums for much longer.

Europa League Quarterfinals Kick Off

The Europa League quarterfinals are underway, with the remaining eight teams squaring off in the first legs of their matchups. In England, Atalanta leaned on a brace from Gianluca Scamacca and stellar defense to win 3-0 against Liverpool. Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten streak stretched to 42 games after it beat West Ham United 2-0, thanks to a pair of late goals. The first match between Italian clubs AC Milan and Roma went to the visitors, as Roma scored early on and held on for a 1-0 win at San Siro. The only quarterfinal that wasn’t a shutout took place in Portugal, with Benfica beating Marseille, 2-1. The second legs will all take place at the same time next week, which should make for an exciting Thursday afternoon of soccer.

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That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

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