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Lion Links: 1/23/21

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Hello, Mane Landers. I hope everyone had a good week as we head into a sunny weekend. I will certainly take advantage of the warm weather by walking around my apartment complex or maybe playing some golf with friends. We have lots of soccer news to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Goalkeeper Brandon Austin Loaned to Orlando City

Orlando acquired goalkeeper Brandon Austin on loan from Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League. The loan is for six months, with an option for an additional six months after that. The 22-year-old goalkeeper is part of the England Youth National Team pool, but has dual citizenship and won’t take up an international spot.

Austin has been part of Tottenham’s youth system and joins the Lions after his recent loan spell with Danish side Viborg FF. Pedro Gallese will be busy this year with the Peruvian National Team during international breaks and Austin will most likely compete with Mason Stajduhar for the backup position. Considering Austin’s loan and Andrew Pannenberg’s selection in the MLS SuperDraft, it’s unlikely Brian Rowe will return to Orlando next season.

USWNT Shuts Out Colombia in Exploria Stadium

Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger started in the United States Women’s National Team’s dominant 6-0 win over Colombia in Exploria Stadium. Krieger played at right back and helped the USWNT earn yet another shutout while also delivering the cross for the team’s first goal, although she wasn’t given credit for the assist.

Megan Rapinoe had a brace in the match while Catarina Macario and Midge Purce scored their first USWNT goals. Lynn Williams and Lindsey Horan scored the USWNT’s other two goals and Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris made the roster but didn’t feature. The USWNT has won all four of its games played at Exploria Stadium and will aim to continue that trend in next month’s SheBelieves Cup.

Orlando Pride Sign Phoebe McClernon

The Pride signed defender Phoebe McClernon to a two-year contract. The Pride selected the 23-year-old in the 2020 NWSL College Draft, but never signed her to a full contract until now. After the team withdrew from the NWSL Challenge Cup, McClernon went on loan to Växjö in the Swedish League and made 12 appearances. McClernon will provide much needed depth when fellow defenders Ali Riley, Ali Krieger, and Konya Plummer are called up to their respective national teams. Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner shared his thoughts on bringing McClernon back.

“We’re very excited to welcome Phoebe back to Pride. She has gained valuable experience playing in the Damallsvenskan and this will only help with the maturity of her performance,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner said. “Phoebe possesses many skills that will make her an excellent defender for our team and, already knowing her character, I believe she will offer a lot of quality and help us build a solid foundation for the Club moving forward.”

Carrie Lawrence Reflects on First Season With the Pride

The Orlando Pride’s season was much shorter than planned in 2020. Since the team had to pull out of the NWSL Challenge Cup and wait until September for the NWSL Fall Series, many rookies had to wait longer than expected to make their debuts for the Pride. Lawrence discussed her professional debut for the Pride in the match against the North Carolina Courage on Sept. 19.

“To make it and step on that field for the first time – it was surreal,” said Lawrence. “I was definitely nervous – playing North Carolina in my first game was intimidating. But I tried to keep my mind calm and let the anxiety in my body subside. I knew the one thing that I could control was keeping my mind calm. If I let the adrenaline get to my head, then that could affect my performance. I think that definitely helped and that’s something that, going forward, I’ll continue to control.”

Lawrence trained with the club in 2019 and was signed as a supplemental player last January. The Orlando native and UCF soccer alumna will return to the Pride this season and likely participate in the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup.

Jordan Morris Signs Loan Deal with Swansea City

The Seattle Sounders officially loaned winger Jordan Morris to Swansea City for the remainder of the 2020-2021 season. The 26-year-old will join the Welsh club, which is in second place in the EFL Championship, and help boost its promotion hopes for the English Premier League. Morris has been a successful Homegrown Player since joining the Sounders in January of 2016 and had 35 goals and 20 assists in 105 MLS games, winning two MLS Cups with Seattle. Morris now looks ahead towards his next challenge.

Free Kicks

  • Major League Soccer released an update regarding negotiations with the MLS Players Association.

  • United States Men’s National Team youth left back Chris Gloster plays at PSV Eindhoven but has been drawing interest from Newcastle United.
  • Concacaf confirmed its schedule for the 2021 Concacaf Champions League. The draw for the competition will be on Feb. 10, with the tournament starting in April.
  • There was some history made during the first round of this year’s NWSL draft.


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

Lion Links

Lion Links: 7/24/24

The Olympics are here, the MLS Skills Competition thrilled, the East won the MLS NEXT All-Star game, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. With the start of the Olympics, the NWSL x Liga MX Femenil Summer Cup, and the Leagues Cup, it’s tournament time in our soccer world. There is plenty to watch and follow, but I want to take the opportunity to wish my wonderful wife a happy birthday! She is very supportive of my work with The Mane Land, and I appreciate her greatly. Now, let’s get to the links.

Olympic Pride

The Olympics are upon us, and thus the opportunity to watch the Orlando Pride’s representatives in action. You will definitely want to check out the matches, as it is Marta’s last Olympics. The Brazilian is playing in her sixth Olympics, though she isn’t there just because of her name. She has earned it through her play. It’s no surprise to Orlando Pride supporters that Marta secured her place on the squad, as she has looked much more like her old self this season during the Pride’s undefeated regular season run.

MLS Skills Competition and MLS NEXT All-Star Game

The MLS Skills Competition took place Tuesday at Lower.com Field in Columbus, OH. Liga MX won the Shooting Challenge, MLS won the Touch Challenge, Liga MX took the lead again on the Cross & Volley Challenge, and MLS tied things up by winning the Passing Challenge. The Crossbar Challenge tiebreaker went to the visitors, as Liga MX won the overall competition. Special Olympics Ohio received a $25,000 donation as Liga MX’s charity of choice.

The Philadelphia Union’s young star, Cavan Sullivan, scored a goal and provided an assist as the East squad came from two goals down to win 4-2 over the West in the MLS NEXT All-Star Game on Tuesday. Orlando City was represented by Colin Guske and Juan Rojas on the winning side. It was quite a showcase for the future of MLS.

U.S. to Face Host France in Olympic Opener Today

The U-23 USMNT starts its Olympic journey today against host France. Orlando City’s Duncan McGuire will likely be leading the attack for the Yanks. He will be a part of a squad unlike those that many are accustomed to watching, since the normal stars won’t be in attendance. Of course, that does give players like McGuire a chance to shine on the international stage.

USWNT Prepares for Zambia

The USWNT begin its quest for Olympic gold tomorrow against the Zambian National Team. Obviously, Orlando Pride supporters will get to watch Pride players Barbra Banda and Grace Chanda for Zambia. USWNT Head Coach Emma Hayes is aware of the expectations surrounding her squad, and knows the challenge that Zambia presents. Hayes said the assumption that the U.S. will simply dominate is “disrespectful” of the growth of the women’s game across the world.

This is Zambia’s second Olympics, though the road to Paris was not an easy one, thanks to the Football Association of Zambia. There are accusations of money laundering by the president of the association, and sexual misconduct by a coach. It really is impressive that the team made it and will compete. Of course, Banda and Chanda are not the totality of the Zambian team, meaning there is a lot more to know about the USWNT’s first opponent.

Free Kicks

  • The Concacaf Award Nominees have been announced. U.S. national team players Sophia Smith and Christian Pulisic are up for their respective Player of the Year awards.
  • The New Zealand Women’s National Team was allegedly spied on by a drone for the Canadian Women’s National Team during training for the Olympics. The two teams will meet on Friday for their fist match.
  • Former Lion Denny Chin has a new gig with Young Money APAA Sports.
  • The Orlando Pride are also participating in a school supply drive for the Orlando community, and you can contribute as well. Here’s Simone Charley to tell you all about it.

That will do it for today.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 7/23/24

Duncan McGuire’s road to Paris, MLS transfer happenings, USWNT will play Iceland after the Olympics, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Jeremy Reper

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It was a rather odd weekend as all three of Orlando’s soccer teams recorded 1-1 draws. The games will continue to come thick and fast between the Orlando Pride’s Summer Cup participation, Orlando City’s Leagues Cup opener, Orlando City B’s regularly scheduled programming, and the start of the Olympic tournaments. Before we get into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride forward Alex Kerr!

Duncan McGuire’s Path to Olympics

Orlando City’s Duncan McGuire will likely suit up for the United States Olympic team in just one day’s time, and he’s had quite the interesting journey to arrive at this point. After being overshadowed in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft despite the Lions selecting him with the sixth overall pick, McGuire proceeded to have an outstanding rookie season by bagging 13 goals. His family members have long been some of his biggest supporters, and it’s good to hear that they’ll be on hand to cheer him on over in France. As the only traditional striker on the roster, he’ll have a good chance to make an impact. With as odd as his road has been to get here, it won’t be at all surprising if he does.

MLS Transfer Happenings

There are a number of MLS transfer moves that we need to catch up on. We’ll start with something that’s been rumored for awhile, as Atlanta United has officially sold Caleb Wiley to Chelsea for a fee reported to be in the area of $11 million. We stay in the Eastern Conference with Nashville SC, which has used a U22 Initiative spot to sign midfielder Patrick Yazbek from Viking FK. D.C. United has signed Boris Enow from Maccabi Netanya, a move that will add some important depth to the midfield. Shifting to the West, FC Dallas has signed Manuel Cafumana from Maccabi Haifa on a year-long loan deal. He continues the trend of midfield signings, and has experience playing for the Angolan national team. Finally, LAFC has sold defender Mamadou Fall to Barcelona after he spent last season on loan with the Spanish club.

USWNT Will Face Iceland in Friendlies

The United States Women’s National Team has announced that it will play a pair of matches against Iceland in October. The friendlies will take place on Oct. 24 in Austin, and Oct. 27 in Nashville, and will be the team’s first games following this summer’s Olympic tournament. Iceland is the 14th ranked team in the world, and should present a good test for the U.S. team. Additionally, a third match will take place on Oct. 30, with an opponent and location still to be announced. The USWNT will begin Olympic play on Thursday against Zambia.

Mexico Names Head Coach

Mexico has named Javier Aguirre as the team’s new head coach with legendary former defender Rafa Marquez joining the staff as an assistant. This is Aguirre’s third stint as the head coach of the team, but he will only have the job through the 2026 World Cup, after which he will turn the duties over to Marquez ahead of preparations for the 2030 edition of the tournament. Aguirre led Mexico to the round of 16 in the 2002 and 2010 editions of the tournament, and recently spent time coaching Monterrey and Mallorca. Marquez’s playing career needs little introduction, but he recently left his post as manager of Barcelona B in order to join Mexico’s staff.

Free Kicks

  • Make sure to participate in Orlando City’s school supply drive.
  • The Lions held steady at 14th in ESPN‘s MLS power rankings.
  • West Ham United has brought a very striking bus with them on the team’s tour of the United States.

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 7/22/24

All three Orlando squads finish with 1-1 draws over the weekend, and much 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. I’ve just been busy at Under Armour and working the Def Leppard concert and Cubs baseball games at Wrigley Field within the past week. All of our teams, Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and OCB, picked up 1-1 draws in their matches. It’s not often that all three teams pick up the same exact result. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Orlando City Trades Goals in 1-1 Draw vs. NYCFC

Orlando City and New York City FC split the points in a 1-1 draw at Inter&Co Stadium on Saturday. After a scoreless first half, the Lions struck first with a goal from Ramiro Enrique — his fourth consecutive game finding the net. New York City FC got an equalizer five minutes later to tie the match, and neither side could find a winner. Orlando’s four-game winning streak ends but its unbeaten run now stands at five matches. New York City FC is fifth in the Eastern Conference with 38 points, while Orlando City stays seventh with 34 points. There will be a break in league play as the Leagues Cup kicks off this week after Tuesday’s MLS All-Star Skills Competition and Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game, and the Lions’ next match is at home against CF Montreal on Friday.

Lions Acquire 2025 MLS SuperDraft Pick

Orlando City has acquired the higher 2025 second-round MLS SuperDraft pick and $50,000 in 2026 General Allocation Money in exchange for the right of first refusal to sign former Orlando City forward Benji Michel. Real Salt Lake announced the club had added Michel last week. Following his departure from Orlando, Michel was with FC Arouca in Portugal. Michel played 118 matches across all competitions as a Lion, scoring 19 goals and adding nine assists.

Pride Draw North Carolina Courage Away

The Orlando Pride came from behind to snatch a 1-1 draw against the North Carolina Courage in their NWSL x Liga MX Femenil Summer Cup opening match Saturday at WakeMed Soccer Park. The Courage struck just before halftime to take a 1-0 lead, but Celia scored the equalizer for the Pride late to earn Orlando its second point at North Carolina this season and its first-ever Summer Cup result. The Courage won 5-4 in the ensuing penalty shootout to claim a second point. The draw extends the Pride’s unbeaten run to 17 matches across all competitions. Orlando sits third in their group after the first round of games in the Summer Cup and will face Monterrey at Inter&Co Stadium on Saturday.

OCB Picks Up Late 1-1 Road Draw at New York Red Bulls II

Orlando City B and New York Red Bulls II also battled to a 1-1 draw at Montclair State University Soccer Park. After a scoreless first half, New York Red Bulls II took the lead early in the second half, but Justin Ellis scored a stoppage-time equalizer for the Young Lions. The Baby Red Bulls won 8-7 in the shootout to secure the extra point. OCB remains 10th in the Eastern Conference with 24 points, and its next match will be on the road Saturday at Finley Stadium against Chattanooga FC.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City studio host Gabrielle Amado announced over the weekend she was leaving the club after four seasons and will be moving to Spain to work for LaLiga TV.

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

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