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Lion Links: 11/6/20

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How’s it going, Mane Landers? I’m still riding high after Orlando City’s huge win to secure a playoff game in Exploria Stadium. There’s plenty of soccer to look forward to this weekend as Major League Soccer closes out its regular season. But for now, let’s hop into today’s links from around the soccer world.

Lions Make MLS Team of the Week

Mauricio Pereyra’s performance in Orlando’s 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew landed him a starting spot in the MLS Team of the Week. The Uruguayan midfielder assisted on both of Orlando’s goals and is healthy at just the right time as the Lions eye a deep postseason run. Chris Mueller also found himself on the Team of the Week bench. He scored his 10th goal of the season to give Orlando a lead and influenced Orlando’s early dominance in the first half.

Benji Michel was the other Lion to find the back of the net. Although he didn’t earn a spot on the Team of the Week, he was nominated for Goal of the Week after his effort to beat defenders and put Orlando ahead while a man down.

Orlando City Will Appeal Nani’s Red Card

Not only did the referee’s decision to give Nani a red card drastically change the match, but it means he won’t be able to play in Orlando’s match against Nashville SC this Sunday. OCSC will appeal the decision and it will be reviewed by a panel to determine if the send-off punishment will be rescinded so Nani can play on Decision Day. The Lions will also be without Pereyra, who picked up a yellow card in the match and will miss the game due to accumulation.

As far as what’s at stake this Sunday, Orlando can’t finish any higher than its current third-place ranking and secures that standing if the club wins or draws. If the playoffs started now, Orlando would play the sixth-place New England Revolution in Exploria Stadium. But there are still scenarios where Orlando finishes fourth and could face the Crew again or New York City FC.

The Orlando Pride’s Protected Players

With the 2020 National Women’s Soccer League Expansion Draft right around the corner, the Pride announced the 11 players who will be protected from selection. Marta, Claire Emslie, and Sydney Leroux were predicted selections, but the Pride could only protect two of their USWNT-allocated players. Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner went with Alex Morgan and Emily Sonnett, leaving the married Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger unprotected. It’s a strategic move by Skinner as Racing Louisville FC can’t select both of them and is unlikely to split them apart.

“I look at Ash and Ali and, for me, they’re the most important people for the Orlando Pride,” Skinner said. “I love them to bits and they’re my captains for a reason. But if you look at where they’re at in their lives and where they’re at in their careers and what they still want to achieve and so on, then, you know, I’d hope that Louisville would look at that and go, ‘It’s not really a viable option for us to take those players.’”

It sounds as though Skinner will work with Louisville to ensure that Krieger and Harris will stay in the City Beautiful.

Skinner said he spoke with Louisville coach Christy Holly ahead of the submission deadline for protected lists in the hopes of understanding his process and potential needs in the draft. He also said he’ll create an “attractive offer” to further prevent Louisville from taking either Harris or Krieger away from Orlando.

The other unprotected players Louisville could snag from the Pride are Alanna Kennedy, Emily van Egmond, Shelina Zadorsky, Camila, Carson Pickett, Toni Pressley, Kristen Edmonds, Konya Plummer, Erin McLeod, Chelsee Washington, and Brittany Wilson. The expansion draft will take place on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.

Josh Sargent Will Miss Out on USMNT Fun

Bundesliga club Werder Bremen declined releasing Sargent for a pair of United States Men’s National Team friendlies this month, citing quarantine restrictions in Germany. As a result, USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter called up LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget to replace the forward. Lletget will be the only MLS player on the 24-man roster, able to join now that the Galaxy are eliminated from playoff contention. He now becomes part of a USMNT packed with young talent. Sargent’s absence opens the door for inexperienced forwards and it will be interesting to see how it all comes together under Berhalter this month.

Free Kicks

  • Here’s an interesting stat for you to check out. I’m not sure what it is about the 84th minute that makes players want to score. Last weekend, four Eastern Conference teams all scored in the 84th minute and also won.

  • This should make you feel a bit better about Daryl Dike after he missed Wednesday’s game due to illness.

  • In the Extra Time podcast, there was some discussion about this year’s Best XI and both Mueller and Pereyra got a few mentions. But so did center back Antonio Carlos, who has quietly excelled in his first year as a Lion.
  • MLSsoccer.com’s Steve Zakuani had high praise for Pareja after Orlando’s win. There has certainly been a transformation in Orlando with Pareja at the helm and he is a frontrunner for MLS Coach of the Year.
  • UEFA reached out to FIFA President Gianni Infantino to request an adjustment in how handballs are handled. I’m not proud of that pun. But I am interested to see if anything comes of this, particularly after some questionable referee decisions regarding handballs in Orlando’s win.

That’s going to do it for me today. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and stay safe out there. Go Lions!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/24/24

Orlando City and Orlando Pride power rankings, USMNT player news, USWNT will host Costa Rica, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. It’s that time of the week for some tasty links. Two seven-point weekends for Orlando’s soccer teams is nothing to sneeze at, unlike the pollen that coats my hometown of Tallahassee. It’s the time of the year that I make my money back with the unlimited car wash next to my work. Enough with my weather-related car issues, let’s get to the links.

Lions Move Up (and Down) in Power Rankings

There’s nothing that shows the value of “power rankings” better than when you can compare two different ranking lists for the same week for any given club. We all know Orlando City is undefeated in its last four matches thanks to the late heroics of Ivan Angulo to draw CF Montreal over the weekend. But, did you know that was both good and bad?

In ESPN‘s MLS power rankings, Orlando City dropped a spot from 16th to 17th despite “treading water” with a point on the road in Montreal. Meanwhile, the Lions roared ahead three spots from 21st to 18th in MLSsoccer.com’s power rankings. So, do you like that Orlando is 17th in the ESPN piece despite the drop? Or do you prefer the positivity of a three-spot jump to 18th in the MLSSoccer.com rankings?

Orlando Pride Rise in Power Rankings

Forget everything I wrote up there regarding power rankings — at least as far as the Orlando Pride are concerned. After starting the season with three draws, the Pride now have two wins in a row. As such, ESPN moved the Pride up three spots from eighth to fifth in its NWSL power rankings. Their move up the list is entirely deserved and the writer was correct in their assessment. Of course, I’m kidding but it’s still nice to see the Pride get recognized for their results. Now, we just need the Pride to continue the winning streak.

Keeping Up With USMNT Players Abroad

As we shared yesterday, Sergino Dest will likely miss this summer’s Copa America thanks to a knee injury suffered during PSV Eindhoven training. That means the USMNT has a right back situation to address and there are quite a few well known candidates to step in for Dest.

Meanwhile, Weston McKennie has reportedly rejected Juventus’ latest extension offer. I can understand his decision given it doesn’t include any additional salary. McKennie has been very good for Juve, with 10 assists on the season. He’s not the only American making a difference, as Tim Weah provided the assist on Arkadiusz Milik’s goal to send Juventus to the Coppa Italia final.

USWNT Olympic Send-Off Match

The United States Women’s National Team will play a match against Costa Rica at Audi Field on July 16. It will be the final match for the USWNT prior to the Olympics that start nine days later against Zambia. New coach Emma Hayes will join the team on June 1, which isn’t a ton of time before the Olympics start, but she has been a part of the process for months.

Free Kicks

  • The New England Revolution have acquired veteran defender Xavier Arreaga from the Seattle Sounders for a 2025 international roster slot, and up to $75,000 in General Allocation Money depending on performance.
  • Inter Miami’s Jordi Alba will be out for several weeks due to a hamstring injury. Fortunately, he is expected to be back in time for the match against Orlando City on May 15. Where did I put the sarcasm font?

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the Pride’s match against the Washington Spirit this Friday, and Orlando City’s match against Toronto FC on Saturday. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/23/24

Ivan Angulo makes Team of the Matchday bench, Americans in action, Sergino Dest to miss Copa America, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It was an excellent weekend for Orlando’s soccer teams, as the three sides took seven of the nine points on offer. There’s no rest for the wicked this week as the Orlando Pride travel to play the Washington Spirit on Friday, Orlando City hosts Toronto FC on Saturday, and Orlando City B finishes things up at home against Toronto FC II on Sunday. Let’s take a look at today’s links.

Ivan Angulo Earns Recognition

Ivan Angulo has been named to the bench of the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday. The Colombian got the start on Saturday up in Montreal, and had a good game, going the distance and completing 82% of his passes and putting one of his two shots on target. That shot was an important one, as it gave the Lions a late equalizer and helped them salvage a valuable point on the road. Sean Rollins gave him a grade of 6 in his player grades from the match, a rating that likely would have been higher had Martin Ojeda’s pass been accurate enough to allow Angulo to grab a possible winner just a few minutes after he equalized. Here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Americans in Midweek Action

There are a number of Americans taking part in big games this week, and the good people over at Stars and Stripes FC have you covered with the whole rundown. First up, Weston McKennie, Tim Weah, and Juventus will try to advance to the Coppa Italia final this afternoon, as they enter the second leg of the semifinal against Lazio with a 2-0 lead on aggregate. Tomorrow sees Monaco and Folarin Balogun meet Lille in Ligue 1 action, while Chris Richards and Crystal Palace host Newcastle United in the Premier League. Things wrap up on Friday in Serie B when Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessman, and third-place Venezia face Cremonese as they try to overtake Como and finish in one of Serie B’s two guaranteed promotion places.

Sergino Dest Sidelined Long Term

Following up on a story from yesterday’s Lion Links, The Athletic is reporting that the knee injury suffered by Sergino Dest will keep him out of Copa America, and sideline him for the rest of the year. That would be a big blow for the United States Men’s National Team, as Dest has been the nailed-on starter at right back since winning a place in the team during the qualifying cycle for the 2022 World Cup. The Yanks aren’t without options at the position, as Joe Scally could step in for Dest, or Gregg Berhalter could try deploying Weah there, but neither of the two possesses Dest’s level of offensive threat.

Inter Milan Wins Serie A

Inter Milan dispatched rival AC Milan 2-1 guaranteed that Inter will win its 20th Serie A title in club history. Fikayo Tomori’s goal in the 80th minute was the closest Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah’s club could get to leveling the score, and Inter is now a whopping 17 points clear of AC Milan with five games left to play. Inter has been imperious on its way to a 20th Scudetto, scoring the most goals in the league while also conceding the fewest and losing only once this season.

Free Kicks

  • The Orlando Pride and Orlando City hosted a clean-up effort in honor of Earth Day on Monday.

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/22/24

Orlando City draws CF Montreal, Pride and OCB win, FA Cup drama, 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 drew, while the Pride and OCB both won over the weekend. I had friends in town, so I went to Wrigley Field to check out a Cubs game and show them around Chicago. Let’s wish former Orlando City midfielder Kaka and Pride defender Brianna Martinez a happy birthday! There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Draw at CF Montreal

Orlando City again had to overcome a 2-1 deficit on the road when it faced CF Montreal Saturday night. The Lions needed a late stoppage-time goal from Ivan Angulo to walk out of Stade Saputo with a 2-2 draw. Orlando has now picked up points in each of the last four matches. Orlando City will face CF Montreal again on July 26 in the MLS Leagues Cup during the competition’s group stage. The Lions’ next match will be Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium as it takes on Toronto FC.

Orlando Pride Defeat San Diego Wave

The Orlando Pride shut out the San Diego Wave 1-0 on Friday at Inter&Co Stadium and got their second consecutive win with that same scoreline. Summer Yates scored the lone goal in the first half to seal the win for Orlando. Zambian international striker Barbra Banda made her debut for the Pride, coming off the bench in the second half. The Pride remain undefeated through five league matches and are fifth in the NWSL table with nine points. The team will be on the road to face the Washington Spirit Friday.

OCB Wins on the Road at Crown Legacy FC

Orlando City B got a 2-0 win against Crown Legacy FC at the Sportsplex at Matthews on Friday. Alex Freeman and Shak Mohammed scored for the Young Lions, and Javier Otero made six saves. OCB completed its two-match road trip, securing four out of a possible six points, and has kept its unbeaten streak on the road alive at four matches. OCB is in fifth in the MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference with nine points, while Crown Legacy is winless in five matches. OCB will be back in action this Sunday as it hosts Toronto FC II at Osceola County Stadium.

Manchester United and Manchester City Advance to FA Cup Final

Manchester United won 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw against Coventry City in the FA Cup semifinals to advance to the final. It was a thrilling match at Wembley as United had a 3-0 lead before Coventry City rallied to get back into the match. USMNT forward Haji Wright scored the equalizer to tie the match 3-3 late into stoppage time. Coventry City thought it scored the game-winning goal late into extra time from Victor Torp, but it was ruled offside after video review. Casemiro missed his penalty for United, while Wright and Torp gave Coventry City a 2-1 advantage. United converted four straight penalties while Coventry City missed two to seal the win for the Red Devils. Manchester City edged past Chelsea 1-0 in their semifinal matchup, with Bernardo Silva scoring the lone goal in the second half. The FA Cup final will be played at the end of May and will feature a Manchester Derby for the second consecutive time.

Free Kicks

  • In case you missed it, check out this video on Orlando City’s social media page on Ivan Angulo’s equalizer to tie the match in stoppage time against CF Montreal on Saturday.

According to OptaJack, the Pride have secured the most points at home during the regular season since last May, with 26.

  • USMNT defender Sergino Dest suffered a knee injury during training with PSV Eindhoven over the weekend. Dest will miss the remainder of the Eredivisie season and could miss the 2024 Copa America this summer.
  • Real Madrid came back from being 2-1 down to defeat Barcelona 3-2 and stay ahead of its rivals by 11 points with six league matches left.
  • Bayer Leverkusen extended its unbeaten run to 45 matches after scoring a late goal from Josip Stanisic in stoppage time to get a 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund.
  • Serie A side Udinese is reportedly set to hire former Juventus and Real Madrid player Fabio Cannavaro as its next head coach.

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

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