Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Mane Landers! Don’t forget to wear your green today. I’ll be out shooting live standups for a project at UCF and enjoying the nice weather. We have plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.
Brandon Austin is Settling in at Orlando City
Orlando goalkeeper Brandon Austin is finding his footing with the Lions during the preseason. Austin has been with Tottenham Hotspur’s youth development system since he was 14. While there, Austin was mentored by French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and learned how to play out from the back in a way similar to Orlando’s system under Head Coach Oscar Pareja. The 22-year-old’s physicality caught Pareja’s eye and Austin will compete with Mason Stajduhar for time in goal when Pedro Gallese is on international duty. Although new to the team, Austin was with the Lions during all of the preseason camp in Bradenton and is fitting in well with the Lions.
“The culture here is really strong” Austin said. “This is a very supportive, very collective, very collective culture as a team.”
MLS Players Have Opportunity During Olympic Qualifying
Concacaf Olympic qualifying begins tomorrow when the U-23 United States Men’s National Team takes on Costa Rica in Mexico. Both teams will aim to be one of the two to punch their ticket to Tokyo this summer. Orlando’s Benji Michel is one of many players with a chance to make a splash during the tournament. Michel is likely to fill in at the right wing position for the U.S. during this tournament. The 23-year-old has been a super sub coming off the bench to score goals in clutch moments for Orlando City. This will be a big opportunity for Michel to show what he can do on the international stage.
Sam Vines of the Colorado Rapids is another player to keep an eye on. Many young players on this team are in roles where they need to establish their game, but that’s not the case for Vines. He’s already established as the starting left back for the U.S. U-23 team and can put some pressure on Sergino Dest in the future if he has a strong tournament.
Americans Abroad and At Home
Orlando’s Daryl Dike is in action today as Barnsley FC takes on Wycombe Wanderers FC at 3 p.m. Dike isn’t the only American playing in Europe today as Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Tim Weah should all see some playing time in exciting games.
As for the Americans playing in the U.S., plenty of players have been on the move recently as we approach the 2021 MLS season. Midfielder Wil Trapp is with Minnesota United after a year with Inter Miami, while Djordje Mihailovic was traded from the Chicago Fire to CF Montreal. Nick Lima brings experience to the new expansion team Austin FC and you should also keep an eye on Sebastian Berhalter, USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s son. The 19-year-old was loaned by the Columbus Crew to Austin FC for more playing time and development.
USWNT Will Take On France in Friendly
On April 13, the United States Women’s National Team will take on France for the first time since the two sides clashed in the 2019 FIFA World Cup. The match will take place in Le Havre, France and is the USWNT’s second match in Europe next month as the U.S. plays Sweden on April 10. Given the talent on both sides, it should be a good match for the USWNT as Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski gets the team ready for the Olympics. For the Orlando Pride, Alex Morgan will likely make the trip to Europe and only time will tell if Ali Krieger or Ashlyn Harris will be called up.
Fort Lauderdale CF Names Darren Powell as Head Coach
Former Orlando City Academy Director Darren Powell was named head coach of USL League One side Fort Lauderdale CF. Powell will replace former Orlando City head coach Jason Kreis, who recently became an assistant coach with Inter Miami. Powell was an assistant coach with Fort Lauderdale last season and was also Inter Miami’s Director of Player Development. Powell’s assistants also have Orlando ties (naturally). Original MLS Lion Martin Paterson will assist Powell and former OCB assistant and OCSC academy coach Chris Barocas will be Fort Lauderdale’s goalkeeping coach.
- The Orlando Pride’s Marta showed why she is still the greatest.
— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) March 16, 2021
- Stumptown Footy graded every crest in MLS, giving Orlando City’s design a B.
- Concacaf plans to launch a women’s champions league competition once the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is finished.
- Toronto FC II announced it will start its 2021 USL League One campaign in Arizona.
- AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is coming out of international duty retirement to play for Sweden in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers this month.
- Former Lion Cyle Larin has been on fire as of late for Besiktas.
I’m sounding like a broken record, but Cyle Larin has scored again today for Besiktas.
— Rudi Schuller (@RudiSchuller) March 16, 2021
- Two European Leagues are looking into joining forces.
Big moment in Belgian football, as 25 professional clubs vote in favour of establishing Beneliga = a merger with Dutch Eredivisie. @ProLeagueBE to play 'active role' in the project. Domestic TV deals end in 2025 in both 🇧🇪 and 🇳🇱
— Jon Rest (@jonrest) March 16, 2021
That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday, stay safe, and I’ll see you next time.
Lion Links: 12/7/23
Mauricio Pereyra and Orlando City part ways, Belgian club reportedly interested in Duncan McGuire, Marta scores in Brazil’s win, and more.
How’s it going, Mane Landers? It’s been another hectic week for me and I’m hoping things start to slow down as December rolls on. It’s hard to believe we’re already a week into the month. I’ve enjoyed this colder weather over the past few days though. Let’s dive right into today’s links from around the soccer world.
Mauricio Pereyra and Orlando City Part Ways
Orlando City captain Mauricio Pereyra will not be returning to the team for the 2024 season after he and the club mutually agreed to terminate his contract. The Uruguayan midfielder joined the Lions in the summer of 2019, going on to make 136 appearances across all competitions as a Lion. His 47 career assists were the most in club history and he led the Lions with 12 assists this past MLS season. Pereyra was a key part of Orlando’s turnaround over the past few years, and I’ll miss watching him break opposing back lines with his passing. That being said, his departure opens up some interesting possibilities in Orlando’s midfield. This could open the door for Martin Ojeda to fit in a bit more easily in the lineup, but the team also has an open Designated Player spot that could be used to bring in an attacking midfielder who can take the offense to another level. The club released a video thanking Pereyra for his time in Orlando, including some of his highlights and appreciation from teammates and staff.
Belgian Club Reportedly Interested in Duncan McGuire
Orlando City forward Duncan McGuire was one of the best young players in MLS this past year, so it’s not a surprise that European clubs are taking notice. Dutch and Belgian clubs reportedly had scouts at Orlando’s final game of 2023, and American Soccer Now‘s Brian Sciaretta stated that RWD Molenbeek is interested in McGuire.
The club has an American owner and is currently 11th in Belgium’s top flight after earning promotion last season. McGuire scored 13 goals in his rookie season and was a finalist for 2023 MLS Young Player of the Year. Hopefully the 22-year-old stays in Orlando for a while longer before making the jump to Europe.
Marta Scores in Brazil’s Win Over Nicaragua
The Orlando Pride’s Marta started and scored as Brazil’s captain in the team’s 4-0 friendly win over Nicaragua. She doubled Brazil’s lead in the 40th minute and came off in the second half for Pride teammate Adriana. Brazil then found two more goals and the defense secured the shutout in its final game of the year.
It was a nice way for Brazil to end the year after losing 2-0 Japan this past Sunday. Brazil has already qualified for next year’s Olympics after winning the 2022 Copa America and will shift its focus to doing well in the tournament after an early exit in this year’s World Cup.
Luis Rubiales Was Accused of Inappropriate Conduct With English Players
FIFA’s report of the Disciplinary Committee’s decision regarding former Spain federation president Luis Rubiales became public and England FA Chair England Debbie Hewitt’s testimony detailed inappropriate misconduct towards English players as well. According to Hewitt’s testimony, Rubiales seemingly forcefully kissed Lucy Bronze and stroked Laura Coombs face at the 2023 World Cup’s medal ceremony. FIFA stated that more severe sanctions than the three-year ban Rubiales was handed were considered.
- As a result of pyrotechnics being used by LAFC supporters group 3252, the club was fined $100,000 and 3252 will have all supporter privileges suspended pending a review by the club and LAFC.
- MLS unveiled the ball that will be used next season and I like the design well enough to want to kick it.
- UEFA announced that it is creating a health panel to gain insight on why ACL injuries occur so frequently in women’s soccer.
- In the DFB Pokal, third-division side Saarbruecken beat Eintracht Frankfurt to reach the quarterfinals.
- Newcastle United goalkeeper Nick Pope is estimated to miss the next four months after dislocating his left shoulder and requiring surgery.
- Kevin de Bruyne was named to Manchester City’s roster for the Club World Cup later this month, meaning he may make his return from a hamstring injury before the year’s end.
- Liverpool center back Joel Matip may miss the rest of the season after an ACL injury in his team’s win this past weekend.
That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week.
Lion Links: 12/6/23
Antonio Carlos linked with move to Fluminense, Emily Madril agrees to new contract with the Pride, USWNT beats China, and more.
Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. There is not much new with me, I’ve just been staying busy working at Under Armour and covering high school basketball and wrestling lately. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.
Antonio Carlos Linked with Fluminense
Orlando City center back Antonio Carlos was linked with a move back to Brazil, with Fluminense reportedly close to finalizing a deal to sign him.
Carlos initially joined Orlando on loan from Palmeiras before the 2020 season. Following that season, the club signed him to a three-year contract with an option for an additional year. The 30-year-old has been a key part of Orlando’s defense under Head Coach Oscar Pareja, although Carlos missed some time this past season due to injury.
Emily Madril Agrees to New Contract With the Pride
The Orlando Pride announced that defender Emily Madril has reached an agreement with the club on a new three-year contract through the 2026 NWSL season. Madril just finished her first season with the Pride, making 27 appearances for the club across all competitions and leading all rookies with 1,977 minutes played in the NWSL regular season. She was already signed to a three-year deal through 2025, but the Pride were able to find a way to keep her with the club for another year. Now the club can work on retooling its roster with a back line anchored by Madril and Rafaelle.
MLS 2023 College Showcase Begins Today
Major League Soccer announced the 44 invitees for the 2023 MLS College Showcase. The event will kick off today through Dec. 9 in Phoenix. One local player to keep an eye on is defender Jahlane Forbes out of Wake Forest. Forbes is from Clermont, FL and joined Orlando City’s academy in 2016. He has also played for Orlando City B, making three appearances. Forbes made 19 appearances for Wake Forest in the 2023 season, recording five goals and seven assists. Other top prospects to watch include Louisville defender Josh Jones, High Point’s Jefferson Amaya, and Marshall forward Matthew Bell.
USWNT Beats China in Final Friendly of 2023
The U.S. Women’s National team defeated China 2-1 at Toyota Stadium in its final match of 2023. The USWNT trailed 1-0 at halftime, but bounced back in the second half thanks to a pair of goals and a solid defensive effort. Jaedyn Shaw gave the USWNT its winner in the 79th minute, scoring in her hometown in a memorable moment for the 19-year-old. It was the USWNT’s second win over China this month after winning the first match 3-0 this past Saturday in Fort Lauderdale.
Former Lion Daryl Dike Nears Return with West Brom
After being sidelined with an Achilles injury since March, former Lion Daryl Dike could make his return to West Brom this month. Dike has been back at training with the club since last month to work his way back to fitness, and West Brom’s manager, Carlos Corberan, stated that that he would be an option in the squad by the end of the December if he keeps progressing well. The 23-year-old joined West Brom in December of 2021, but injuries have limited his playing time while in England.
- The Orlando Pride had a message for former Pride goalkeeper Erin McLeod after her farewell ceremony with the Canadian Women’s National Team during its friendly against Australia on Tuesday.
- The Chicago Fire have announced that Frank Klopas will return to the club to serve as head coach for the second time. Klopas was the head coach for the Fire from 2011 to 2013 and was the interim coach this past season after Ezra Hendrickson’s departure in May.
- Minnesota United announced that Sean McAuley will remain with the club as its interim head coach going into the 2024 season.
- Former Portland Timbers Head Coach Gio Savarese is reportedly in consideration for the open head coach position with the New England Revolution.
- The Seattle Sounders have reached an agreement with goalkeeper Stefan Frei on a new two-year contract that will keep him at the club through the 2025 season.
That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.
Lion Links: 12/5/23
Exploria Stadium will host Copa America games, Pride reportedly make offer for Crystal Dunn, Americans in midweek action, and more.
Good morning, everyone. I’m still dragging a little bit after having a shortened weekend due to work, but I hope all of you were able to hit the ground running yesterday and started your weeks off on the right note. As usual, there’s a lot of interesting things to discuss today, so let’s get after it.
Exploria Stadium Picked as Copa America Venue
The host cities and venues for next summer’s Copa America tournament were revealed and Orlando City’s Exploria Stadium has been chosen. The Lions’ home will have games on June 29 and July 1, and both games could be very important ones as they will take place during the final day of play for Groups A and C. We also know that the USMNT will play its group stage games in Atlanta, Dallas, and Kansas City. The semifinal matches will be held at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey and at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, with Charlotte also hosting the third-place game. We’ll know very soon which teams will be playing in Orlando, as the draw will take place on Thursday.
Orlando Pride Reportedly Make an Offer for Crystal Dunn
The Orlando Pride have reportedly made a large offer to bring Crystal Dunn to Orlando, with CBS Sports reporting the amount prepared by the Pride to be more than $400,000. However, negotiations between the Pride and Dunn are reportedly no longer ongoing.
The 31-year-old is a free agent after announcing that she was not returning to the Portland Thorns after three seasons there. She is one of the more notable free agents this off-season and the Washington Spirit and NJ/NY Gotham FC are also interested in signing her ahead of the 2024 season.
Americans in Midweek Action
There are a number of American players who will be playing games this week, so make sure you have some of these marked down on your calendar. First up is a match that could feature up to three players currently in the USMNT pool, as Jordan Pefok, Joe Scally, and Borussia Monchengladbach will face Kevin Paredes and Wolfsburg in the DFB Pokal. Tomorrow sees Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson, and Fulham playing Matt Turner’s Nottingham Forest, although the USMNT’s starting goalkeeper is not likely to play. The week finishes with Juventus and Weston McKennie facing Napoli in league play, although Tim Weah is still an injury doubt.
USWNT Aims for Change in Mentality
The 2024 calendar year is going to be an important one for the United States Women’s National Team, and the team wants to start it off on the right foot. Interim head coach Twila Kilgore is viewing today’s match against China as a chance for the team to continue building a new identity and to keep developing tactically after a disappointing early exit from this summer’s World Cup. While Emma Hayes has been named the team’s new head coach, she won’t officially join up until Chelsea’s club season ends in May. Until that happens, there’s plenty of work to be done with the Gold Cup just around the corner in March, followed by the Olympics in Paris in July.
The Soccer Tournament Adds Women’s Competition
Following the success of last year’s first edition of The Soccer Tournament, the organizers have added a women’s competition for next summer’s event. The seven-a-side tournament will now also feature an eight-team women’s bracket which will also have a $1 million prize up for grabs. The decision was made after an all-women’s team led by Heather O’Reilly drew significant support when it competed last year, despite not picking up a win. The men’s tournament will also be expanding to 48 teams for this year’s competition, after featuring 32 participants during the summer.
- Ramiro Enrique has been called up to Argentina’s training camp for its 2024 Olympic team.
- Orlando City’s documentary about the 2022 U.S. Open Cup victory has won a Suncoast Emmy.
- In the 2023 Women’s College Cup final, Florida State beat Stanford 5-1 to win its fourth national championship.
- David de Gea is reportedly open to signing for Newcastle United following Nick Pope’s shoulder dislocation.
- The English FA has charged Manchester City with failing to control its players, following Erling Haaland’s reaction on social media to a decision made by referee Simon Hooper.
That’s all that I have for today. Y’all stay safe out there.
Orlando Pride Sign Kylie Strom to Three-Year Deal
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