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Lion Links: 10/19/20

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Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! First off, let’s give a big happy birthday to Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris! Now, on to what will go down as a great day in Orlando City history, despite the Lions not winning the match last night.

I am, of course, talking about Orlando City clinching a spot in the MLS playoffs for the very first time! If you didn’t know that happened until now, I’m really glad I used an exclamation point. If you did, then you probably still appreciated my punctuation. Enough with that, let’s get to the links. 

Orlando City’s Best Draw Ever

Orlando City traveled to Red Bull Arena to take on the titular New York Red Bulls, riding an 11-match unbeaten streak and a possibility at clinching the playoffs. The Lions took the lead after Daryl Dike drew a penalty in the second half, and Nani stutter-stepped the kick past Ryan Meara. Unfortunately, the second half’s stoppage time ended up being six minutes, and the Red Bulls were able to equalize at the death. Regardless, Orlando City was able to extend its unbeaten streak to 12 matches.

Check back later today for the player grades and Man of the Match from Guilherme Torres, as well as the five takeaways from the match courtesy of Sean Rollins.

The Lions are Playoff Bound

Going into the match against the New York Red Bulls, Orlando City needed a better result than Atlanta United, which played against league-leading Toronto FC. That game started after Orlando’s, so once the Lions drew with the Red Bulls, attention turned to the other match. As if intending to make Orlando City fans wait another week, Toronto seemed to be on the way to a draw with Atlanta. That is until the 89th minute. Former Lion (forever a Lion) Richie Laryea drove into the right side of the area, and crossed the ball for Pablo Piatti to give Toronto the win and put Orlando City into the playoffs for the first time in the club’s MLS history. 

Dike and the Lions are already looking ahead for more than just making the playoffs though. The 20-year-old had another strong performance and remains in talks for MLS Rookie of the Year, but Dike is hungry for more this year.

“We’ve put ourselves in a good position,” Dike said. “Obviously we just made the playoffs today, but I think we’re going to carry on. The goal wasn’t just playoffs. We’re not done now. We just keep going and keep going. We want three points every single game and we want to finish the highest in the table. That’s the main goal.”

Morgan’s Debut Delayed

Those waiting for Alex Morgan’s debut with Tottenham Hotspur will have to continue waiting. That includes Morgan herself. Morgan joined Tottenham, but it looks like it will be a few more weeks until she will see any playing time

There are no specifics on what the “small setback” is, but given she had started training with the team, it might be some sort of knock. Of course, no club is sharing any kind of injury information these days, so your guess is as good as mine. Tottenham could certainly use her help once she’s ready, considering Alanna Kennedy, Shelina Zadorsky, and the rest of the team were crushed 6-1 by Arsenal this weekend.

Rooney’s COVID-19 Scare

It’s not often that I’m on Wayne Rooney’s side, but this is an exception. England and the English Football Association have rules regarding exposure to COVID-19 and quarantine protocols if a player encounters a person that tested positive. Rooney had a friend visit, who didn’t get tested prior to the visit and subsequently tested positive, after Rooney played a match. Rooney will take a test to see if he has to take any further measures regarding the situation. Needless to say, Rooney is livid over the situation, and I can understand his position. I’m agreeing with Wayne Rooney. 2020 is so weird. 

Free Kicks

  • You may have noticed that Ali Krieger wasn’t in the studio for Orlando City’s match. Well, she and Harris are still United States Women’s National Team players, and had to fly out to the USWNT camp for training today.

  • Emily van Egmond scored in West Ham United’s match against Manchester United, but it wasn’t enough as goals from Tobin Heath and Christen Press contributed to United’s 4-2 win over the Hammers.
  • Gonzalo Higuain won’t play in Inter Miami’s next game on Oct. 24 against Orlando thanks to a red card for arguing with the referee after Miami’s loss to the Montreal Impact.
  • The Seattle Sounders are set to trade winger Handwalla Bwana to Nashville SC for an attacking player not yet named.
  • United States Men’s National Team forward Aron Jóhannsson has scored seven goals in eight matches (and nine overall) after Hammarby’s win over Mjallby in the Swedish Allsvenskan. That is a pretty good stat. A congested international schedule could mean you’ll see Jóhannsson in a USMNT kit soon.

  • Things are getting a bit bitey in France’s Ligue 2. Valenciennes keeper Jerome Prior was apparently bit on the cheek in the 0-0 draw against Sochaux on Saturday. 
  • If you somehow missed the end of the Toronto match, I’m going to let Orlando City legend Miguel Gallardo tell you all about it. Vamos Orlando!


That’s going to be it from me today, Mane Landers. Have a great Monday and celebrate responsibly!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/27/24

Orlando City loses to the Crew, Pride and OCB win, Southampton seals return to Premier League, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Happy Memorial Day, Mane Landers! I hope you all had a good holiday weekend. I worked at Under Armour all weekend while wrapping up my high school sports coverage for the spring season. It was a mixed weekend for our teams. Orlando City lost, but both the Pride and OCB won their matches. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Lions Lose at Home to Columbus Crew

Orlando City lost 2-0 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium and saw its three-match unbeaten streak end. The match’s first goal was controversial as the referee, Jair Marrufo, initially awarded the Lions a penalty late in the first half but went to the monitor and reviewed a play at the other end of the pitch. He instead awarded Columbus a penalty kick. Diego Rossi scored from the spot to put the Crew ahead 1-0 before halftime. Columbus extended its winning streak to three matches. Orlando has struggled at home, going just 1-3-4 so far this season. The Lions have not scored a goal at home since April 27. Despite the loss, the Lions still remain in 10th in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Next up for Orlando is a pair of road matches this week, starting Wednesday at the Chicago Fire, followed by a Saturday night matchup against the New York Red Bulls. 

Pride Win at Home Over Portland Thorns

The Orlando Pride won their record-setting eighth straight match with a 2-1 victory at Inter&Co Stadium against the Portland Thorns Friday. Barbra Banda scored two goals in the first half to give the Pride a 2-0 lead going into halftime. Portland pulled one back, but the Pride held on for the victory and claimed three points. Orlando remains undefeated in league play after 11 matches, and the Pride stay atop the NWSL table with 27 points. The Pride are off this week but will return to action on the road next Friday, June 7, against the San Diego Wave.

OCB Win at Home against Huntsville City FC

On Sunday, Orlando City B bounced back with a season-high five goals in a 5-0 win over Hunstville City FC at Osceola County Stadium. Jhon Solis, Yutaro Tsukada, and Shak Mohammed put OCB ahead 3-0, while Yeiler Valencia scored his first two OCB goals to seal the win for the Young Lions. OCB is now in sixth in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Meanwhile, Huntsville City FC remains winless through 10 matches and stays at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. OCB’s next match will be on the road Sunday at Inter Miami CF II. 

Southampton Clinches Promotion to Premier League

Southampton booked its return to the Premier League with a 1-0 over Leeds United in the EFL Championship playoff final at Wembley Sunday. Adam Armstrong scored the lone goal in this match as the Saints returned to the top flight after being relegated the previous season. Southampton joins Leicester City and Ipswich Town, securing promotion to the Premier League. Despite finishing third in the table, Leeds’ playoff woes continue as this is the sixth time it missed out on securing promotion and finished its season with only one win out of its last six matches. 

Free Kicks


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: 5/24/24

Orlando City prepares for the Crew, Barbra Banda an NWSL MVP favorite, Orlando Pride announce sleeve sponsor, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

Happy Friday! The gauntlet of Orlando soccer home games starts tonight when the Orlando Pride take on the Portland Thorns in a clash of win streaks. I’m working for most of the weekend, but am looking forward to watching some soccer and playing my way through the Ace Attorney games during my spare time. For now though, let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world.

Orlando City Gets Ready to Host the Crew

Orlando City is on a three-game unbeaten run and will take on the Columbus Crew Saturday night in an Eastern Conference showdown. The last time these two sides met was in the 2023 Eastern Conference semifinals with the Crew winning in extra time to eliminate the Lions. It’s the third consecutive road game for the Crew after winning 3-1 against both CF Montreal and the Chicago Fire. Saturday’s match is also the Crew’s last match before the Concacaf Champions Cup final on June 1. Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja spoke on how the Lions will be up to the task regardless of which players take the field for Columbus. Pareja also spoke about how Duncan McGuire is working his way back from the injury he suffered last week.

Barbra Banda Named MVP Frontrunner

ESPN updated its rankings of players in contention to be named NWSL MVP this season and Orlando Pride forward Barbra Banda tops the list. The Zambian forward hasn’t been with the Pride for long, but she has scored six goals in six games to help the Pride win seven straight games. Opposing defenses haven’t figured out a way to stop her, and it’s fair to think of her as an MVP favorite alongside fellow attackers in the league like Sophia Smith and Temwa Chawinga. Pride defender Emily Sams also earned herself a spot on the list, ranking 11th. It’s nice to see her get some deserved recognition for her role in the Pride’s stellar defense this year.

Orlando Pride Announce Sleeve Sponsor

A partnership was announced between the Orlando Pride and Heart of Florida United Way, a charity that’s supported families in Central Florida for the past 85 years. As part of the partnership, Heart of Florida United Way will become the first sleeve sponsor for the Pride and its logo will be on the right sleeve of both of the Pride’s jerseys this year. A new ticket program is also being created for 50 tickets to be donated to a local charity for each Pride home game.

Orlando City Unveils Watch Party Schedule

The schedule for this Orlando City season’s watch parties is out, along with the lineup of this year’s included pubs. Each pub will have MLS Season Pass access for fans to watch Orlando’s games this year and there will be chances to win tickets and autographed items at the watch parties as well. There are three new pubs added to the lineup this year, including The Castle Irish Pub at College Park, Paddywagon Irish Pub in Dr. Phillips, and Winter Garden’s Hagan O’Reilly’s. The first watch party will be at The Hammered Lamb in Ivanhoe Village on June 1 when the Lions face off against the New York Red Bulls.

Free Kicks

  • Pride midfielder Evelina Duljan was called up to join Sweden’s U-23 team for the upcoming Four Nations Tournament.
  • NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman became the first woman to be named Sports Business Journal‘s Sports Executive of the Year.

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/23/24

Orlando Pride prepare for the Portland Thorns, Pride Brazilian trio called up, Atalanta wins Europa League, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope this Thursday finds you well as we all get ready for a busy next few days of Orlando soccer to enjoy. It’s been a fairly busy couple of days for me, and I plan on knocking out a few errands before enjoying the upcoming matches. Until then, let’s enjoy today’s links!

Pride Prepare to Host the Portland Thorns

The Orlando Pride have a huge home game against the Portland Thorns tomorrow night. It will be a clash of win streaks, as the Pride have won their past seven games and the Thorns have won their last six. Pride Head Coach Seb Hines is well aware that Portland is a formidable foe with talented players such as Sophia Smith, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Sam Coffey. He spoke on how tomorrow will be a challenge, as well as how playing at home will give the Pride a boost during the game.

Pride Trio Called Up by Brazil

The Pride’s Marta, Rafaelle, and Adriana were all called up for Brazil’s pair of friendlies against Jamaica in Brazil on June 1 and June 4.

These matches will help Brazil prepare for a tough group in the Olympics against Spain, Japan, and Nigeria. Angelina, who featured for Brazil during the SheBelieves Cup, was not called up due to an injury sustained while with the Pride. Although these games will take place during an international break, the Pride do have a road game against the San Diego Wave on June 7, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Hines gives them some rest for that match.

Assessing Emma Hayes’ Time With Chelsea

It felt like forever ago that it was announced Chelsea’s Emma Hayes would leave the club to replace Vlatko Andonovski and coach the USWNT. A great article by ESPN broke down what USWNT fans can learn from her time with Chelsea, including how she’s dealt with the adversity she’s faced both on and off the field. Her impending exit put a spotlight on Chelsea’s season, and she still managed to secure the league title despite the pressure. Chelsea also announced that five members of the coaching staff will leave the club to join Hayes at the USWNT. It’s a new era for the USWNT, and Hayes brings plenty of experience and leadership to the position.

Atalanta Crushes Leverkusen to Win Europa League

Italian club Atalanta lifted the Europa League trophy after a 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in Dublin. The day belonged to Nigerian winger Ademola Lookman, who scored a hat trick that included this stunner that doubled Atalanta’s lead in the first half.

It’s Atalanta’s second trophy in club history, and first in 61 years. It’s also the first trophy for manager Gian Piero Gasperini after coaching in Italy for 30 years. This result snapped Leverkusen’s remarkable unbeaten streak at 51 games, and ended the club’s bid at a treble. Bayer Leverkusen will aim to bounce back Saturday when it plays FC Kaiserslautern in the German Cup final.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City President of Business Operations Jarrod Dillon has issued a challenge to Orlando City fans for the upcoming trio of Orlando soccer home games, so it may be worth your while to get tickets for the Lions, Pride, and OCB this weekend.
  • Pride forward Amanda Allen placed 16th in ESPN‘s rankings of the 17 teenagers currently playing in the National Women’s Soccer League (the author deemed it unfair to assess Milly Clegg without seeing her on the field more). Allen mostly just hasn’t had much playing time, but that could change over the summer.
  • Former Pride player Camille Ashton (known as Cami Levin when she played in the Pride midfield in 2016 and 2017) has resigned as the general manager of the Kansas City Current.

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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