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Lion Links: 5/14/21



How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope you all are looking forward to a weekend filled to the brim with soccer. As of today, I’m fully vaccinated and will probably celebrate with a trip to my favorite local coffeeshop for some idle reading. Congratulations to any graduates out there as well since it’s that time of the year. Now, let’s jump into today’s links from around the soccer world.

Orlando City Player Salaries Revealed

The Major League Soccer Players Association released the 2021 salary information for every player in the league as of April. Orlando City is 16th in total player salary commitments and Nani is 15th among all players, with a guaranteed 2021 salary of $2,486,250. As for a few of the players who became Lions this off-season, Alexandre Pato has a guaranteed salary of $272,727, Silvester van der Water will make $325,750 this year, and loaned goalkeeper Brandon Austin is set to make $279,477 if he’s in Orlando all season.

Inter Miami, Toronto FC, the LA Galaxy, Atlanta United, and FC Cincinnati are the league’s five biggest spenders this year. I believe player spending shouldn’t be looked at too closely when trying to set expectations for a team or a player given the many variables in play such as performance bonuses or the length of a contract. That being said, here’s a fantastic visual guide that turns those numbers into something a bit more consumable.

Lions Will Face D.C. United On the Road

The Lions will take on D.C. United this Sunday for their second road game of the season. Despite multiple injuries and the absence of Daryl Dike, Orlando remains unbeaten after four games this season. Many players have stepped up to the plate, particularly in the midfield as Sebas Mendez and Junior Urso have done well on both sides of the ball. Nani leads Orlando with three goals and Antonio Carlos continues to impress in the center of defense. Evan Weston and Miguel Gallardo broke down what to watch for in Orlando’s upcoming match.

As for Orlando’s opponents, D.C. United won 1-0 over the struggling Chicago Fire last night. The last time Orlando and D.C. faced off was in June of 2019 when Wayne Rooney scored the game’s only goal in the 10th minute. Rooney can no longer torment the Lions, but Ola Kamara is still in D.C. and has a decent track record against Orlando.

Orlando Pride Start Season This Sunday

At Exploria Stadium, the Pride will host the Washington Spirit on Sunday at 6 p.m. Although this will be the first game of the National Women’s Soccer League season for both sides, the Pride won 1-0 against the Spirit in the group stage of the NWSL Challenge Cup last month. In that match, Alex Morgan connected with Sydney Leroux for the Pride’s goal while Ashlyn Harris made nine saves, including one from a penalty. Marta is excited to get the season started at home as the Pride aim for all three points against the Spirit once more.

Concacaf Gold Cup Schedule Unveiled

Exploria Stadium will host six matches for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup this summer. The first matches in Orlando will take place on July 12 as Jamaica plays Suriname and Costa Rica takes on whichever nation advances from one of the preliminary matches. Those same teams will play again in Orlando on July 16, but July 20 will feature a clash between Costa Rica and Jamaica and then a match between Panama and Grenada.

The United States Men’s National Team will play all of its group matches in Kansas City, including a showdown with Canada on July 18. In the knockout stage, matches will take place in either Glendale, AZ or Arlington, TX and the final will be on Aug. 1 in Las Vegas.

Americans Abroad This Weekend

With seasons winding down across Europe, plenty of Americans have something to play for over the next few days. Orlando’s Dike and Barnsley FC will host Swansea City on Monday at 3:15 p.m. in the first leg of their English Football League Championship playoff matches. Elsewhere in England, Christian Pulisic and Chelsea will take on Leicester City in Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Three teams are fighting over two Champions League spots still up for grabs in the Bundesliga, with Giovanni Reyna, John Brooks, and Timothy Chandler all in the mix. Near the bottom of the table, Werder Bremen’s Josh Sargent has an important match against FC Augsburg with relegation still a possibility for either side.

Elsewhere, Weston McKennie and Juventus will have their Champions League qualification hopes on the line against Inter Milan. Sergino Dest and FC Barcelona will need a win against Celta Vigo and other results in their favor to remain in the La Liga title hunt. Timothy Weah has featured here and there during Lille’s remarkable Ligue 1 campaign and the club can clinch the title if it beats Saint-Étienne. Whew, there really is a lot of soccer worth watching this weekend.

Free Kicks

  • Nani earned 25.9% of the MLS Goal of the Week vote to finish second behind Real Salt Lake’s Rubio Rubin’s stellar bicycle kick. It was Nani’s third consecutive nomination as he continues to find the back of the net in style.
  • In Pride defender Ali Riley’s last episode of her video series, she spoke to Ali Krieger about the team’s expectations this year and motherhood. The video also features Krieger swaddling Riley in a blanket on the locker room floor.
  • Former Lion Dennis Chin is retiring from soccer and his announcement included a compilation of moments that will definitely make you nostalgic.

  • New York City FC and Valentin Castellanos agreed to a new contract that will keep the forward in the Big Apple through 2025.
  • The injuries just keep adding up for the Portland Timbers as goalkeeper Jeff Attinella is out for the season. The Timbers added Logan Ketterer on loan from the USL Championship’s El Paso Locomotive to help replace Attinella for the time being.
  • One of my favorite things in soccer is seeing coaches and players having fun and just being real people behind the scenes beyond what we get to see on television.

  • Let’s end our links with some training footage of Mason Stajduhar taking a blow of his own.

That’s going to be it for today, folks. Remember to stay hydrated out there and take care of yourselves and others. It should be a fun weekend, so enjoy the rest of your Friday!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/27/23

Orlando City falls in power rankings, OCB will take on Columbus Crew 2 in MLS NEXT Pro playoffs, U.S. Open Cup final preview, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. There’s not much new with me, I’m just staying busy at work lately and hoping to catch some soccer this weekend. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Drops Two Spots in Power Rankings

The latest MLS power rankings have been released and Orlando City fell two spots to fourth. The Lions lost their midweek matchup 2-0 on the road against New York City FC last Wednesday and closed out the weekend with a 1-1 draw against rival Inter Miami at Exploria Stadium. It wasn’t all bad this past week for the Lions, as Duncan McGuire scored his 11th goal of the year across all competitions. Despite losing to NYCFC a week ago, the Lions remain in second place in the Eastern Conference and are two points ahead of the Columbus Crew, Philadelphia Union, Atlanta United, and the New England Revolution.

OCB Will Take On Columbus Crew 2 in MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs

Orlando City B’s opponent for the first round of the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs was announced on Tuesday, as it will go on the road to take on defending champion Columbus Crew 2 on Oct. 1 at Historic Crew Stadium. As part of the new playoff format that lets higher seeds choose their opponents, Columbus chose to host OCB in the quarterfinals. The Young Lions closed out their regular season this past weekend with a 2-1 win against FC Cincinnati and finished fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Columbus Crew 2 finished its regular season with a 3-2 win against Atlanta United 2 to place third. The clubs split the regular season series, with OCB winning 4-1 on Aug. 27 and Columbus winning 4-0 on May 14. The conference semifinals will be on the following weekend, and the MLS NEXT Pro Cup final is set for Oct. 22.

U.S. Open Cup Final Preview

The 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will conclude tonight with the final at DRV PNK Stadium as Inter Miami takes on the Houston Dynamo. The match will kick off at 8:30 p.m. and you can watch the match on Paramount+ or CBS Sports Network. Inter Miami’s journey included edging out Nashville SC 2-1 in the Round of 16 and needing to go all the way to penalties to knock out FC Cincinnati after a thrilling 3-3 draw in the semifinals. The Houston Dynamo began their run with a pair of 1-0 wins against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Sporting Kansas City. Since the Round of 16, the Dynamo cruised past Minnesota United, the Chicago Fire, and Real Salt Lake to get to the final. Houston was on a seven-match unbeaten run before losing to Sporting Kansas City this past weekend. The Dynamo will look to add another U.S. Open Cup title after winning it back in 2018. Lionel Messi will reportedly be a game-time decision for tonight’s final after he didn’t play in Miami’s draw with Orlando.

Spain Wins First Home Match Since World Cup Victory

Spain’s women’s national team won its first match since lifting the World Cup trophy last month, cruising to a 5-0 win against Switzerland in a UEFA Nations League matchup. After dealing with the fallout of former Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales and players boycotting call-ups to the national team before a deal was reached last week, the team wore wristbands that read “Se Acabo,” meaning “this is over,” and players from both teams held a banner with the same phrase before the match. Spain celebrated its win in front of a record-breaking crowd of 14,194 fans that came out to support the team at Nuevo Arcangel Stadium.

Free Kicks

  • Carrie Lawrence and the Orlando Pride were hard at work preparing for the match on Monday against Angel City FC.
  • Angel City exercised its club option to extend former Pride forward Sydney Leroux’s contract through the end of the 2024 NWSL season.
  • The Canadian Women’s National Team defeated Jamaica 4-1 on aggregate to book a spot in next summer’s Olympics.
  • The Seattle Sounders have unveiled their new crest for next year.

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/26/23

Pedro Gallese honored, Orlando Pride and Lions celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Campeones Cup preview, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I won’t lie to you, I’m dragging a bit to start this week. I’m still recovering from being sick and frankly had to fight the urge to take Monday off. I’m soldiering on though, and there’s plenty of soccer happening this week to help keep me entertained and in good spirits. Let’s have a look at today’s links.

Pedro Gallese Recognized

Pedro Gallese turned in another superb performance during Orlando City’s 1-1 draw with Inter Miami on Sunday, and he’s been rewarded with a place in the most recent edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday. El Pulpo made four saves on the night, including a fantastic stop on a header from close range, and helped the Lions stay in the game until they could find the equalizer. Congratulations to Pedro, and here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Orlando Pride and Orlando City Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Orlando Pride defender Celia fielded questions for fans to learn more about both her and Spain. Celia is from Alicante, a port city in southern Spain, and shared her favorite food, music, and activity while in her home country. She also spoke on a common misconception about spices used in Spain being spicy.

Orlando City’s Facundo Torres also shared the meaning behind some of his tattoos, which include the Uruguayan flag and La Paz, the city he grew up in. Orlando City’s match with CF Montreal on Saturday will also be Hispanic Heritage Night at Exploria Stadium.

Campeones Cup Preview

You can be forgiven if you forgot that the Campeones Cup is still a thing, because I know I did. Here’s a little refresher on the annual match. It’s being played tomorrow night at BMO Stadium between LAFC and Tigres, the reigning MLS and Liga MX champions, respectively. The MLS representative has won three out of the four contests, with Tigres beating Toronto FC 3-1 in the first iteration of the competition in 2018. This match will also be a rematch of the 2020 Concacaf Champions League final, which saw Tigres emerge victorious 2-1 at Exploria Stadium.

Americans in Midweek Action

A number of Americans will be taking part in games for their clubs this week. Tim Weah and Weston McKennie’s Juventus will take on Lecce today in Serie A, while Chris Richards and Crystal Palace face Manchester United in the Carabao Cup. Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah have a league match when AC Milan plays Cagliari tomorrow. PSV Eindhoven has a game against Go Ahead Eagles tomorrow as well, which means Ricardo Pepi, Sergino Dest and Malik Tillman could all be involved. Friday closes out the week with Hoffenheim taking on Borussia Dortmund, which could see John Brooks matched up against Gio Reyna depending on Reyna’s fitness.

Spanish Players Will Testify Against Rubiales

Alexia Putellas, Irene Paredes, and Misa Rodriguez have all been called to testify as witnesses in the case against Luis Rubiales. Jenni Hermoso’s brother and a friend of the player both testified on Monday afternoon, as Rubiales is facing charges of sexual assault and coercion. Rubiales has already testified and maintains he did nothing wrong amid uproar that has led to a number of Spanish players refusing to return to the team until changes are made, and a general overshadowing of Spain’s victory at the Women’s World Cup. Putellas, Paredes, and Rodriguez will testify next Monday.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for today. Y’all stay safe out there!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/25/23

Orlando City draws with Inter Miami, Viviana Villacorta out for the season, OCB wins last game of the regular season, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Last night’s Orlando City match wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst either. It’s a pretty fitting feeling on a Monday, as we all get back into the swing of the work week after a nice weekend of soccer. There are plenty of ups and downs from a rollercoaster Sunday, so let’s dive right into today’s links!

Orlando City Draws With Inter Miami

In the latest edition of the Tropic Thunder rivalry, Orlando City and Inter Miami split the points at Exploria Stadium in a 1-1 result. Miami struck first, but the Lions did well to find an equalizer, even though they couldn’t find a winner in the end. It wasn’t Orlando’s best game by any means, but it was a decent response to a 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC. Orlando now has 51 points, tying its club record for the most points in a season, set in 2021. The Lions will have a chance to break that record on Saturday when they host CF Montreal.

Viviana Villacorta Out for the Season

Orlando Pride midfielder Viviana Villacorta will miss the remainder of the NWSL season after suffering an ACL tear in her left knee during training. The 24-year-old was selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, but was not able to make her debut until 2022 due to sustained an ACL tear in her right knee that kept her out for all of the 2021 season. This year, she has 21 appearances across all competitions for the Pride and notched the first assist of her career in a big road win against the San Diego Wave on April 29. This is a tough blow to the Pride’s midfield with just three games remaining as she has ended her season early due to injury for the third straight year. The Pride are only a point out of a playoff spot and are back in action on Oct. 2 against Angel City FC.

Orlando City B Wins On Decision Day

On the final day of the MLS NEXT Pro regular season, Orlando City B won 2-1 at home over FC Cincinnati 2. The Young Lions had already clinched a spot in the postseason heading into this match, but the win secured their spot as the fifth seed. Jack Lynn briefly held the Golden Boot lead after scoring, but ended up tied at 19 goals with New York City FC II’s Matt Myers and Colorado Rapids 2’s Remi Cabral. The trio ended in a three-way tie for the league’s Golden Boot honors. OCB will hit the road for its first MLS NEXT Pro playoff game, although the opponent is not yet known thanks to the new rule where higher seeds choose which team they want to face.

USWNT Wins in Megan Rapinoe’s Final Match

The United States Women’s National Team beat South Africa in a 2-0 win at Soldier Field. Trinity Rodman and Emily Sonnett scored and the defense did well to secure its second shutout against South Africa after a 3-0 win this past Thursday. This game also marked forward Megan Rapinoe’s final game with the USWNT, with the 38-year-old subbed off for the last time in the 54th minute. These were solid wins from the USWNT following the World Cup and it will aim to keep the momentum rolling next month in a pair of friendlies against Colombia.

Free Kicks

  • Three Orlando City academy sides came up with shutout victories this weekend.
  • Before the USWNT’s friendly with South Africa, U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Matt Crocker stated that plans remain in place for a new head coach to be at the helm in time for the training camp in December
  • American midfielder Yunus Musah did well in his AC Milan debut, playing all 90 minutes in a 1-0 win over Verona.
  • A match in the Netherlands between Ajax and Feyenoord had to be abandoned due to fans throwing fireworks onto the field while Feyenoord led 3-0. According to police, tear gas had to be used to stop unrest outside the stadium after the match, and Ajax later fired Sven Mislintat, its director of soccer.
  • Newcastle became the first English Premier League team to have eight different players score in a match after crushing Sheffield United, 8-0.
  • Atletico Madrid ended Real Madrid’s perfect start to the season by beating its rival 3-1, with Alvaro Morata bagging a brace.

That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have an easy Monday and rest of your week!

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