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USA vs. Canada: Final Score 1-0 as Rose Lavelle’s Late Strike Lifts Yanks in SheBelieves Cup



Second-half substitute Rose Lavelle scored a late goal to break a nervy 0-0 deadlock and lift the United States Women’s National Team to a 1-0 win in the SheBelieves Cup. The USWNT squandered lots of chances and the Canadians muffed a few as well in a sloppy match that ultimately kept the United States unblemished at Exploria Stadium (5-0-0), outscoring opponents, 14-0.

“We could have done a better job in the final third. It was definitely not for lack of creativity, but I would say it was more about lack of execution,” U.S. Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski said after the game. “I’m just glad that after missing all those opportunities that we were able to find a way to score a goal.”

“I think we’re all very aware that we didn’t play up to our potential, that it was a pretty sloppy match at times, and momentum shifted quite a bit,” defender Becky Sauerbrunn said. “And we really pride ourselves on trying to maintain the momentum for longer stretches of time, so yeah, Canada made it really tough for us. It was a disruptive game.” 

Orlando Pride striker Alex Morgan started on the bench. Andonovski started Alyssa Naeher in goal behind a back line of Crystal Dunn, Sauerbrunn, Abby Dahlkemper, and Midge Purce. Lindsey Horan, Julie Ertz, and Catarina Macario made up the midfield behind a forward line of Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, and Lynn Williams.

Former Pride defender Shelina Zadorsky started at center back for Canada, with midfielder Jordyn Listro on the visitors’ bench.

The game began a bit sloppily with neither team mounting much but Lloyd won a free kick just outside the area just minutes into the game. Rapinoe hit her free kick into the wall. Then Canada suffered an early loss in the game when goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan pulled up with a non-contact injury. She was replaced by Stephanie Labbe in the 11th minute.

The game continued to be choppy and played mainly between the boxes. Each team got a weak header right at the goalkeeper until the 20th minute, when the U.S. got forward and set up Macario at the top of the area for the first good opportunity. Under no pressure from the defense, she fired her shot over the bar.

Williams got an opportunity in the 32nd minute, heading a bouncing ball toward goal. Unfortunately, she popped her shot up, giving Labbe an easy catch. It was Lloyd’s turn to get a header on goal in the 35th. Purce sent Williams down the right side and she fizzed a cross into the area. Lloyd met it squarely but Labbe tipped it over the bar at the last second.

Canada’s best opportunity came in the 38th minute when Janine Beckie was the first to reach a deflected shot on the left side. She tried to go near post, didn’t get much on the shot, and Naeher fought it off for a corner.

A minute later, Labbe was forced into a great diving save on a cannon shot from Williams from outside the area.

Williams had a shot from the left side of the box in the 45th minute but it was right at Labbe.

In the first minute of first-half stoppage time, Labbe spilled a Rapinoe shot that dipped just in front of goal but Williams couldn’t get a toe on it to poke it home and the Canadian defense was just able to bundle it out over the end line for a corner. Nothing came off the set piece and that was the last chance for either side in the opening period.

Lloyd came close just after the break. Macario and Ertz made two quick passes to set her up at the top of the area but Lloyd’s shot was stopped by a sprawling Labbe in the 47th minute. Five minutes later, Williams picked out Rapinoe at the top of the area but the U.S. winger hit her shot straight at Labbe.

A minute later, Dunn gifted Canada a 2-on-1 break when she made a poor back pass. Nichelle Prince crossed to Beckie at the back post and Naeher made a huge stop to keep the game scoreless and bail out Dunn.

“The chances that they had was after we lost the ball in the middle,” Andonovski said. It wasn’t because they broke us down. We lost a ball in the middle, and they went straight down to towards our goal.”

Lloyd should have put the U.S. ahead in the 57th minute. A cross into the box found Lloyd all alone with a lot of net to shoot at but Lloyd’s header sailed well over the bar.

Andonovski brought Morgan, Lavelle, and Christen Press into the game to try to get something going in the attack.

“They come on, and it’s exciting, and it’s uplifting and it makes you believe even more that we’re gonna close this game out,” Purce said about seeing three players of that caliber check into the game in the second half.

The substitutions ultimately worked, but the U.S. continued to fail to take its chances with one exception.

Press fired wide of the net from point-blank range in the 65th minute and Morgan sent a left-footed shot and a header each wide in the 68th and 69th minutes, respectively. Five minutes later, the USWNT were fortunate that there is no video assistant referee in the event because Purce was certainly guilty of a handball in the area as Canada attacked.

In the 77th minute, it appeared no goal would ever be forthcoming in the match when Horan ran onto an Ertz cross and smashed a shot off the crossbar.

But the breakthrough finally happened two minutes later. Purce drew a foul on Adriana Leon out on the right side and the ensuing set piece service bounced off Horan and fell for Lavelle to slot past Labbe, making it 1-0 in the 79th minute.

Ertz and Williams each missed the target again from good positions before the match ended and the U.S. survived a corner kick that found Zadorsky and skipped just wide of goal at the other end. Ultimately, the U.S. was able to grind out the win but the lack of sharpness in front of goal prevented a comfortable victory. At the same time, Canada also didn’t take its few chances at the other end, so it could have been worse.

“It’s always special when you play Canada and it’s always going to be a really difficult game,” Purce said.

It was a win, but Andonovski wasn’t particularly pleased afterwards.

“When we create 10 opportunities to score and we score one, I’m disappointed, because I want us to score more goals,” he said. “And on top of that, if we allow any shots to goal, I’m not going to be happy and I thought that tonight. They had couple a couple of good opportunities to score, and we’re going to look into it. We’re going to look a little bit deeper why that happened.”

Brazil 4-1 Argentina

In the early match, Brazil and Argentina played a cagey first half before the Brazilians’ quality emerged in the second half. Brazil got the better of its rival neighbor country in the second 45 minutes, scoring twice just after the restart to take control and adding a late insurance goal in a 4-1 win.

It was the first match of the year for both teams and Argentina’s first match in 464 days. Brazil manager Pia Sundhage started Orlando Pride star Marta on the left side, captaining her national team. Former Pride defender Camila started at right back. Argentina’s lineup was down four players due to positive COVID-19 tests, making the job that much more difficult.

Brazil fashioned the first good look at goal in the seventh minute when Tainara fired a shot on the scramble following a Brazilian corner kick. Argentina goalkeeper Solana Pereyra was able to make the near-post save. Argentina’s first look came in the 10th minute when Yamila Rodriguez cut in from the left wing and fired a shot that was right at Brazilian goalkeeper Aline Reis.

Brazil nearly struck first in the 21st minute when Debinha got onto a low Marta corner kick service at the far side of the area but she fired off the outside of the right post. Argentina had a couple of half chances but failed to connect in the final third with the last pass.

The breakthrough finally came at the half-hour mark. A quick passing sequence sent Adriana into the attack with speed. Argentine defender Aldana Cometti fouled her in the area and a penalty was immediately awarded. Marta stepped up to the spot in the 30th minute and fired under Pereyra to open the scoring in her home stadium. Pereyra guessed the right way but Marta put enough on the shot to squeeze it underneath to make it 1-0 with her 109th international goal in 155 caps.

That was all of the first-half scoring and the Brazilians took their 1-0 lead into the break. Neither team generated much, with Brazil holding a 56%-44% advantage in possession and getting the only three corner kicks of the opening period.

Brazil found another gear after halftime and put the game away early in the second period.

Debinha doubled the lead just two minutes after the restart. Beatriz took a pass from Marta and slipped Debinha in behind the defense with a perfect ball. All Debinha had to do was slot it past Pereyra to make it 2-0.

Adriana made it 3-0 in the 54th minute, taking a pass from Debinha and splitting the Argentinian center backs before smashing a shot past Pereyra.

Mariana Larroquette pulled one back for Argentina in the 60th minute on a rare Argentina foray into the Brazil end. Rodriguez sent a perfect back-post cross from left to right. Larroquette beat Camila — who moved to the left side after a substitution — and headed it back across goal, where it hit the left post and bounced in to make it 3-1.

Lorena Benitez had perhaps Argentina’s best chance to pull back within a goal in the 79th minute. Finding herself in open space about 30 yards out she fired a shot but it sailed high and wide.

Instead, Brazil restored the three-goal advantage moments later. Second-half subs linked up as Cristiane sent Geyse down the right side of the area in the 82nd minute. She sent a hard shot toward the back post and although Pereyra got her fingers on it, the shot had too much power and found the back of the net for a 4-1 lead.

From there, Brazil saw out the match and finished with a comfortable win in the opening match. The Brazilians ended the game with more shots (6-2), more shots on target (4-1), more corners (3-1), and holding a 57%-43% advantage in possession.

The tournament continues on Sunday when the USWNT faces Brazil at 3 p.m. That match will be for first place in the tournament, as the Brazilians now hold the top spot on goal differential. Canada will take on Argentina in the nightcap at 6 p.m.


Reflecting on Eight Years with The Mane Land

A look back over my time with The Mane Land (so far).



Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

As of last week, I have been a contributor at The Mane Land for eight years. That’s longer than I’ve ever been at any of my actual jobs in my life. There are literally only a couple of people who have been with the site longer, but I’m still amazed at how long it’s been. This is not to say I’m going anywhere, but rather I wanted to take the opportunity to look back at the past eight years, and look ahead to the future.

Unlike some, I didn’t come to be a supporter of Orlando City until it was announced that the club was joining MLS. At the time, I was contemplating picking a club to follow in MLS, but being in Tallahassee, there were no nearby options at that time. I considered FC Dallas and D.C. United, given the two were geographically closer in proximity to me than any others. Fortunately, it was literally while I was considering my options that the announcement was made regarding Orlando City’s jump to MLS. It was an easy decision.

As I do in many aspects of my life, I immediately started researching my new club, which led me to the content being produced by The Mane Land. There was also an article on the site titled “Join The Mane Land Staff.” I had often over the years internally bemoaned that I rarely used my Bachelor’s degree in English, and the desire to write welled up in me so much that I emailed the staff. 

In response, one of our former editors, Andrew Marcinko, contacted me and said “I think your voice would be a great fit on TML.” He asked me to submit a Fan Post (those went away with our presence on SBN), and then another piece for review. Following that, our founder and managing editor, Michael Citro, emailed me to welcome me to the staff. I had no idea at the time how big a part of my life this blog would become.

I started out writing Monday’s Lions Links — often one of the more difficult days to write — and a feature piece. It’s been many years gone by now, but there was a time when the feature piece was “Pride Pub,” an ongoing series that paired craft beer and good food based on Orlando City’s opponent. I can tell you that the research for that was very enjoyable, and I still use some of the recipes I found to this day.

Eventually, I started contributing more match coverage and analytical pieces. Staff came and went, but I never thought to leave since I was enjoying myself. Sometime after that, I was promoted to senior columnist, for which I’m grateful. I can without reservation say that I’m a better writer thanks to my time with the site, and from working with such excellent staff.

In November of 2016, Michael asked if I wanted to give co-hosting The Mane Land PawedCast a try. My first recording was for Episode 71. We just recorded Episode 354, and with the exception of maybe two or three episodes, I have been on every single one of 283 episodes over the last six plus years. Michael and I have spent a lot of time talking on and off the podcast over the years, and I’m proud of what we have produced and to call him my friend.

We recently added an Orlando Pride-specific podcast called Skopurp: An Orlando Pride PawedCast. For years we wanted to give the Pride the time and attention the club deserves. Now, it is a reality, but one that I ask you to listen to and share. I’ll even put out that although Michael and I are the current hosts, we merely consider ourselves stewards and are hoping to get others to come onboard and eventually take it to the next level.

When I started with The Mane Land, the site had just made the move from a free WordPress site to the SBNation network. It was a big deal, and for many years it was a good partnership. Of course that all came to an end not too long ago, and our blog went the independent route thanks to the incredibly generous support of our readers and listeners. In fact, if you want to be one of those supporting our efforts, please go to our Buy Me A Coffee site to become a member. The move has allowed a flexibility we didn’t have before, but I really want others to have the same sense of joy and accomplishment that I have as a member of our staff. 

At one point we had nearly twice the staff that we do now, and as you know, many hands make light work. The opposite of that is also true. I genuinely believe that there must be others out there with the same passion for Orlando City as I have — with the same desire to have their voice heard, whether through the written word or on a podcast. I promise you there is an opportunity to contribute here with us. Our internal discussions are informative, engaging, and often funny. Please consider joining us, as I did eight years ago. I haven’t regretted it and I know you won’t either.

I want to thank all of those who contributed to The Mane Land over the years. There are many that I am still in touch with, though they are no longer a part of the staff. Of course, the current staff are a pleasure to work with, and I appreciate their dedication to what we are trying to do.

Finally, I want to thank the readers and listeners over the years. From those who regularly comment on our articles, to those that I’ve personally met at matches or even randomly on the street, you are a big reason that we do all of this. You are a big reason why I’ve been doing this for the better part of a decade. it is always a genuine pleasure hearing your thoughts or simply sharing a moment of joy together — U.S. Open Cup final, anyone?

So, thank you. I look forward to many more years of this journey together.

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The Mane Land Announces Membership Program

Maximize your Mane Land experience with our new TML membership program while supporting our independent efforts.



Hello, readers of The Mane Land and listeners of our podcasts. Before you start reading this, please note that the most important part of this post is at the end. So, don’t stop until you get to the bottom.

You may recall that when we left SBNation to become independent, we really weren’t sure the best way to go about that. Many of our readers and listeners generously offered to help us make that transition, but we still weren’t sure the best path forward, so we took a poll.

The poll was pretty much split down the middle between those who preferred a one-time, Kickstarter-style campaign (which we did, and those of you who stepped up to help completely blew us away!) and those who favored a Patreon-style, subscription-based membership with extra perks. In fact, the member subscriptions option got a few more votes in our poll.

The folks who took part in our GoFundMe fundraiser were fantastic and are now immortalized on this very site on the “Our Founders” page. But we had always planned to give folks the option to choose whichever method of support they preferred and we tried to communicate that throughout the process. It took a little longer than expected to get up and running, but our membership subscription program is now in place! (You may notice the fancy new banner ad about it on the home page, echoed below.)

Supporting TML helps build a better TML for you to enjoy, so you’re really subscribing to your own Orlando soccer fandom.

Part of that delay was thinking up something that didn’t encroach on the benefits we gave our Founders. Those folks helped us get started and deserve the exclusivity of the perks they got. The other part of the delay is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. (However, for you guys, I’m willing to be cloned.)

We have utilized the popular Buy Me a Coffee platform to run this program. You can find the basics here. The Mane Land premium membership program includes three tiers of membership, as well as the option to click on the “Support” tab for those who just want to help us out whenever, without joining the program or adding any recurring “appointment-based” payments to their budgets. We love that feature of Buy Me a Coffee (or “Buy Us a Beer” in our case…you drink what you like).

For those who do choose to become members, we hope we have provided value and we are planning to add benefits along the way, in addition to providing special giveaways, events, etc. (more on that below). We have also provided subscription options — with monthly or annual memberships. The annual cost essentially gives you 12 months for the price of 10.

Current Benefits

The current membership benefits depend on which level of support you choose — Homegrown Player, TAM Player, or Designated Player level. Each level includes all benefits from the lower tiers, with additional benefits for each higher level.

Homegrown Player: This is a basic set-it-and-forget-it level of support for The Mane Land, providing a way for our readers and podcast listeners to contribute to the success of TML‘s independence goals. We want to compensate our current volunteers, replace lost income of those who previously received small stipends from being part of the SBNation network, add photographers, attract new writers, and expand our coverage. Additionally, each Homegrown Player Level member will be recognized in a Lion Links column, which is still typically our most widely read post of each day and one of the top daily links columns among soccer sites. Homegrown Player Level members will also be included in any future prize drawings we have or events we host and may be subject to future benefits as they are added.

TAM Player: In addition to Homegrown Player benefits, TAM Players will receive a new weekly e-newsletter in their inbox (unless you opt out…some people hate email). These will be informal missives from myself, other TML writers, or a combination, discussing what’s on our mind regarding Orlando City, the Pride, OCB, or soccer in general. Think of it as an extra post from our site that may cover multiple topics. Additionally, you’ll get a 10% discount from our web shop items that we control (presently, that means everything except our listed MLS Shop items). We will definitely have more benefits coming for this level soon and will look for opportunities to include additional benefits as they become available.

Designated Player: This limited availability level of support includes all perks from the Homegrown and TAM levels, but it goes beyond. Your discount at our webshop (for items we control) will be 15% off. Additionally, we’ll send you Zoom links to watch us “make the doughnuts” whenever we record the podcast. This includes when we interview guests. You’ll see how the sausage is made behind the scenes and everything that we say, some of which will end up on the cutting room floor before the final podcast is sent out. This includes both The Mane Land PawedCast and SkoPurp Soccer: An Orlando Pride PawedCast. And after two months of membership you can commission a bonus episode of either podcast simply by letting us know what topic you want us to cover. Think of this as an extended Ask Us Anything. We’ll do a whole show about your topic and you can even join us to discuss it if you wish.

The DP Level will certainly have additional benefits tacked on as we move forward. It is currently limited to 40 members but could be expanded slightly depending on demand and our Zoom attendance.

Future Benefits / Benefits Under Consideration

While we won’t be able to schedule these due to the random nature of items falling into our hands, there will be periodic prize giveaways in drawings that include all of our members, regardless of level. The catch is that you get one entry per level of support, meaning Homegrown Player Level members will get one entry per prize drawing, TAM Player Level members will get two entries per drawing, and Designated Player Level members get three entries for prize drawings. Some of the kinds of items we have come across in the past include match tickets, trinkets, posters, scarves, and so on.

We are planning to add a message board to our website, well…soon-ish is the word that comes to mind. The plan for the message board is to build our community and further the discussion about the club. As part of this, we’re planning an exclusive, members-only area of that message board that TAM and DP members can access. This will be a place our staff can share informational nuggets we can’t necessarily write stories about for various reasons and interact with our members on a daily basis.

Other things in the works include meet-and-greets/watch parties where you can chat with TML staff members and catch a road match with a bunch of like-minded Orlando City/Pride fans while we all cheer on the team together. There may also be other informal outings with one or more members of the staff, organized fantasy leagues, random Zoom calls for Q&A sessions, and perhaps even some organized group outings for Orlando City / Pride matches, national team games, etc.

The Most Important Part of This Post

Remember at the top of this post, when I said the most important part is at the bottom? Well, that seems like a long time ago, now, so it’s OK if you’ve already forgotten.

The most important part of our membership program is you. We want your feedback so we can make this program something that interests and excites you. We want to know what you like and dislike about this program. We want to know if there are some things we didn’t think of that interest you. If you like what we’re offering, tell us! If you hate what we’re offering, we want to know what you’d prefer instead or in addition. If you want to go drinking with Dave, we can probably arrange that, but it’ll be a unique tier and we’ll have to figure out the cost of that.

No idea is too crazy to suggest, even if it’s too insane for us to actually offer. Let us know what you want from your subscription and we’ll see if that’s something we can do. We’ll make it easy for you by putting the form right here below this post, which is now concluded.

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Welcome Home!



Where do I even start? When we were told in January that SBNation was pulling its support of The Mane Land and other MLS and NHL blogs — and many podcasts — I was devastated. The site had become my new baby in September of 2014 and after eight and a half years, I wasn’t ready to let it go.

I was in a pickle. I couldn’t afford to lose the monthly stipend I had been getting from SBNation to manage the site and provide a steady stream of content. It wasn’t that it was a huge monthly sum, but it mostly covered my car payment. That car was purchased when my salary was higher. The pandemic hit my day job like it did to many, and after a four-month layoff, I got my old job back but not at the same rate. So, imagine taking a pay decrease at work and then, on top of that, losing the amount you spend per month on your car payment. There was simply no way to launch The Mane Land independently, I thought, because I simply couldn’t cover the startup costs. Even with some generous offers from the staff to pitch in, there simply wasn’t a way.

Once we took the news public, there was an outpouring of support on social media. We appreciated both the pledges to help out that we got from the community and the signal boosting that the national media gave blogs like ours. Those national folks rely on local reporting for background.

Encouraged by this outpouring of public support, I met with the TML staff and we threw some ideas around. We polled our Twitter followers to see how our community would prefer to show their support. We got pretty close to a 50/50 split between those who wanted to provide a one-time donation via a Kickstarter or GoFundMe crowdsourcing effort, and those who would prefer some sort of premium subscription add-on service like Patreon or Buy Me a Coffee.

We didn’t get a lot of responses to that poll, but we decided as a group that since the results were so similar, we would offer both and let the public choose one path, the other, or even both. (Stay tuned for news soon-ish on the premium subscription level, but rest assured, everything you’ve been getting for free at TML will remain free!)

I was, admittedly, skeptical that we could raise enough startup money to create a private business, pay for hosting a new site and two podcasts (having long wanted to give the Orlando Pride their own unique show), registering a domain, paying for some design work and consulting, and any unexpected expenses that might come up. However, I thought we’d at least give it a try.

Then the amazing Orlando City, Orlando Pride, and TML community got involved. You guys pushed us past our bare minimum goal in just four and a half hours when our fundraiser went live on March 1. We reset our goal and you met that by midnight. We reset our goal again, to the dream total we discussed on our initial staff Zoom chat and you met that by that first weekend.

Stunned. Humbled. Amazed. Touched. All of these words apply to how that made us feel, but they don’t quite cover it. I think we all felt an enormous responsibility, as well. We felt a mandate to provide you the best site and the best coverage we can.

We got everything we needed to run the site for two years, even if we don’t earn a penny after our launch — and we plan to try, via advertising, a Patreon (or similar) program, an online shop, affiliate links, and anything else we can think of. But we decided to leave the GoFundMe open through the end of March, just in case there were folks who wanted to contribute but needed to wait for payday, or if more people wanted to become founding members of this new site.

Now, here we are. You guys did this. We’re here because of you. And this site isn’t quite what it will become. I’m still learning my way around WordPress, after being away from it for years. There’s more to build, and some of the things you’re seeing on this site now will be improved in the future. We’ll continue to tweak it, add things, and upgrade as we go.

For now, I just want to welcome you to your new online home. On behalf of our entire staff, I thank our founding members, who are now immortalized on this site in our founders section. If you weren’t able to contribute to our transition from SBNation’s network to an autonomous and independent, new version of The Mane Land, you can thank the folks on our founders page, because without them, we wouldn’t be here. And if you still want to help out, we’ve got more things on the way.


Michael Citro
Managing Editor

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