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USA vs. Argentina: Final Score 6-0 as Yanks Capture Fourth SheBelieves Cup Trophy



It took the United States Women’s National Team some time to find their shooting boots, but eventually they did, and ran Argentina off the field in a 6-0 win at Exploria Stadium. With the victory, the USWNT claimed their second straight SheBelieves Cup championship and their fourth in the event’s six years of existence. Rose Lavelle was named the tournament’s MVP.

Megan Rapinoe scored the first two goals and she was vital in setting up Carli Lloyd’s strike. Kristie Mewis scored a banger and assisted on Lloyd’s goal as the U.S. rolled to their first and only comfortable win of the tournament. Alex Morgan and Christen Press added second-half strikes.

“It’s always hard to play against a team that sits low,” said USWNT Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski after the match. “It’s hard to break them down and it’s hard to do it quick. So for us, it takes a little bit of time to figure out the the angles, to figure out the area, to figure out the positions, and how we can do it. So, overall very happy with how we performed and how we were able to unlock Argentina early in the game, and how we finished the game as well.”

The United States improved to 7-0-0 at Exploria Stadium, outscoring opponents by a combined 22-0 in those matches. The USWNT is 4-0-0 in the all-time series against Argentina, outscoring La Albiceleste by a combined 28-0. The U.,S. finished 3-0-0 in the tournament with an aggregate score of 9-0 to claim the trophy. Argentina went 0-3-0 and finished fourth in its first appearance in the SheBelieves Cup.

Andonovski rotated his squad a bit, starting Jane Campbell in goal behind a back line of Kelley O’Hara, Tierna Davidson, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Casey Krueger. The midfield trio of Julie Ertz, Lavelle, and Kristie Mewis played beneath a forward line of Press, Lloyd, and Rapinoe. Orlando Pride striker Alex Morgan started on the bench.

Argentina started out playing stifling defense and a good line at the back, forcing numerous offside calls on the U.S. early. When the USWNT did manage to get the ball into good areas, the tournament-long problem of sharpness in the final third was still a problem at times.

Despite that, the U.S. broke the deadlock 16 minutes in. Lavelle played a great ball over the top to Rapinoe, who made a well-timed diagonal run to get in behind just as the ball arrived. Rapinoe smashed a low shot past goalkeeper Solana Pereyra to make it 1-0.

Mewis nearly made it 2-0 in the 18th minute, getting on the end of a cross but heading just wide of the left post. Four minutes later, Rapinoe sent a free kick into the area that found Ertz, but the midfielder hit her shot straight at Pereyra.

The second goal came in the 26th minute when Press sent a nice pass to release Lloyd up the right side. Lloyd broke in on goal, drew Pereyra’s attention and slotted a pass across for Rapinoe’s easy finish, making it 2-0. It was Rapinoe’s 57th career goal.

Lloyd should have made it 3-0 moments later when Rapinoe sent her in alone but she got tangled in her own feet trying to set herself for the shot and her shot skipped wide as she fell in the box. Press then hit a hard shot on goal that Pereyra saved in the 31st minute as the U.S. continued to attack.

The USWNT scored an exquisite team goal in the 35th minute. Davidson sent a ball forward to Rapinoe, who one-timed a nutmeg pass through her defender to release Mewis down the left flank. Mewis crossed in an easy pass for Lloyd to one-time past Pereyra to make it 3-0.

Mewis finished the first-half scoring by making a great move at the top of the box to leave her defender flat-footed, broke in behind, and scored a banger from the left side that slipped inside the far post for her fourth career goal to make it 4-0 in the 41st minute.

“Early on, when we started the game, Kristie was was trying to figure out those areas that I was talking about, or the position where she could impact the game,” Andonovski said. “It took a little bit of time, but once she figured it out, I thought she was very good. She scored a great goal, she assisted on a very nice goal as well. The whole buildup and the execution was very good and she she she was able to impact the game different ways.”

That was it for the first-half scoring and Argentina had to be relieved when the halftime whistle blew. Midge Purce, Morgan, and Lindsey Horan came on to start the second half in place of Krueger, Lloyd, and Lavelle.

Rapinoe nearly completed her hat trick two minutes after the restart, but hit a free kick just inches over the crossbar.

The U.S. didn’t fashion too many chances in the second period, but didn’t need to. After making several substitutions, the team played a bit disjointed and at times too deliberate, which was easier for Argentina to defend. Press smashed a shot wide of the far post in the 64th minute and a minute later substitute Sophia Smith danced around several defenders and fed a pass to an open Mewis, who fired just wide of goal.

In the 77th minute, a corner kick cross nearly found Horan’s head but barely cleared her. Morgan got a foot to it but it trickled out wide of goal.

Morgan got her goal in the 85th minute. Sauerbrunn won the ball in her own end and knocked it up field to Smith, who cut in from the left to the middle of the field. Once there, Smith slotted a nice through ball that sent Morgan in between the defenders and the Orlando striker sent her shot past Pereyra to make it 5-0. It was Morgan’s 108th career international goal, moving her into sole possession of fifth place on the all-time USWNT scoring list.

“I’m very excited to get my first goal back with the national team, and join the list of moms on the team who have scored goals and played as a national team player,” Morgan said. “I just want to kind of be an example for for other female athletes who are moms or want to become moms knowing that they still belong in the game. You can be a mom and still be at the top of your game, so I want to continue to show that and and tonight was the first step of that.”

Moments later, Press added to the total. Morgan sent a shot that deflected out off a defender for a corner kick. On the ensuing set piece, Horan got her head to the cross and nodded back across the box to a wide-open Press, who headed home her 60th career goal to make it 6-0.

Morgan nearly scored a seventh in the 90th minute when she sent a header just inches over the bar off a set piece. The match ended without any stoppage time and the U.S. had another SheBelieves Cup trophy.

The U.S. out-shot Argentina 27-1 (11-0 on target), held 68% of the possession, and had more corner kicks (7-0).

The USWNT became the first team to finish all three SheBelieves Cup matches without conceding a goal.

“We’re always happy to be able to kind of hoist the trophy at the end, it’s it’s a fun feeling and hopefully we can, we can keep doing that,” Lavelle said.

Canada 0-2 Brazil

In the early match, Orlando Pride star Marta played a more advanced role for Brazil than in previous games in the competition, starting and serving as her team’s captain. The Brazilians did their damage in the first half with good pressure and passing, taking control before the break in a 2-0 win.

Both sides looked to be in an attacking mood, but Brazil got the first decent look in the sixth minute when Bruna headed wide of goal off a corner kick cross.

The breakthrough didn’t take long. Brazil’s pressure paid off in the 14th minute when Adriana stepped in a passing lane and won a battle for the ball. She then played a quick give-and-go with Debinha and bombed down the left side of the penalty area before unleashing a shot. The shot nutmegged Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe but hit the far post and stayed out. Debinha was the first to reach the loose ball and knocked it in to make it 1-0 for the Brazilians.

Marta cut in from right to left in the 27th minute and smashed a cannon shot toward goal but former Pride teammate Shelina Zadorsky was able to block it.

Brazil’s pressure continued to create issues for Canada. The Canadians struggled to clear their area and that allowed Julia to double Brazil’s lead in the 39th minute. She took possession on the right side of the penalty area, turned and fired inside the far post to make it 2-0.

Adriana nearly tripled the lead in the 45th minute. The Brazilians worked the ball from left to middle where Adriana unleashed a long-range shot that would have gone in if Labbe hadn’t gotten a hand to it to push it onto the crossbar.

Brazil took its deserved two-goal lead to the break. Canada struggled to connect in the final third and created very little. The best Canadian opportunity of the opening period came when Barbara was caught out of goal and Nichelle Prince had a wide-open net to shoot at from long range. Prince waited a bit too long to shoot and then fired a bit wide.

Canada came out with more determination to start the second half, and Brazil’s intensity seemed to drop after subbing off Marta and Debinha. Pride midfielder Jordyn Listro started the second half for Canada, while her former Pride teammate Camila came on for the Brazilians.

Despite some early pressure, Canada didn’t generate much and Brazil settled into the second half, with much of the first 20 minutes played in the middle third of the field. Evelyne Viens nearly got in behind for Canada in the 66th minute but she was just offside.

In the 71st minute, Janine Beckie sent a cross through Brazil’s six but a sliding Adriana Leon couldn’t quite reach it as Canada continued to find the right touch on the final ball in the attacking end. Moments later, Listro switched play nicely and Leon was sent down the left. She cut inside and sent a shot on goal that Barbara misplayed but Canada couldn’t capitalize.

Canada’s best opportunity of the game came in the 84th minute. Beckie lined up a free kick from the left and sent a curling ball into the box. Zadorsky stretched out a leg and got a toe on it and it hit off the post. The ball came back to Zadorsky as she was lying on the ground. She fired from a prone position but the shot was cleared off the line by the defense.

Beckie headed a shot toward goal off a pass from Leon moments later but it took a deflection and went wide. Viens then got free on a set piece in the area when the ball fell at her feet but she skied her effort over the bar early in stoppage time. One last shot from Beckie was hit right at Barbara deep in stoppage time and that brought the match to a close.

Brazil finished second in the SheBelieves Cup with a 2-1-0 record and a +3 goal differential. Canada fell to 1-2-0 and was -2, finishing third.

That’s it for the 2021 SheBelieves Cup — the first one to take place exclusively in one venue.


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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