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Lion Links: 7/2/21

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How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope you all are staying dry after a pretty rainy week. It’s definitely a great time to be a sports fan with so many events going on and with even more slated for later this month. Before we jump into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan and Orlando City SuperDraft pick Brandon Hackenberg!

Orlando City Linked With Argentinian Left Back

Reports surfaced that the Lions are on the hunt for River Plate left back Nahuel Gallardo, although The Mane Land’s sources don’t indicate any truth to the rumors. The 23-year-old hasn’t played for River Plate since 2019 and his loan with Defensa y Justicia ended on June 30. The Lions could certainly use another left back on the roster, considering injury issues with Joao Moutinho. Kyle Smith has done well filling in at both fullback positions, but it will be interesting to see how the Lions address the needed depth in the future.

Daryl Dike Called Up for Gold Cup

United States Men’s National Team Head Coach Gregg Berhalter named his 23-man roster for the Concacaf Gold Cup this month and Orlando forward Daryl Dike was selected. Dike’s inclusion doesn’t come as much of a shock and the tournament will give him a great opportunity to make his case for the starting spot during World Cup qualifying later this year. The other center forwards on the roster include Gyasi Zardes, Matthew Hoppe, and Nicholas Gioacchini.

Of the 23 players, 19 are from MLS clubs as Berhalter will use the Gold Cup to get a better look at players other than the usual starters on the first team. Orlando’s Andres Perea and Chris Mueller were both named to the preliminary roster, but neither made the cut. Atlanta United and the Colorado Rapids both have three players on the roster, while New York City FC and D.C. United have two each. Notable names to keep an eye on apart from Dike include Sporting Kansas City’s Gianluca Busio, NYCFC’s James Sands, and the New England Revolution’s Matt Turner.

Orlando Pride Players Named to NWSL Team of the Month

Marta and Courtney Petersen were both selected for the NWSL’s Team of the Month after their impressive performances throughout June. Marta had three assists in the Pride’s four matches in June and now leads the league in assists, alongside former Pride player Carson Pickett. She also scored a stunning goal from range in the Pride’s 3-1 road win against Kansas City. Petersen also scored for the Pride last month, doing so in dramatic fashion late against NJ/NY Gotham FC to salvage a point in a 1-1 draw. While the Pride didn’t have any clean sheets in June, Petersen anchored the defense during a tough month that included three road games.

Sydney Leroux scored twice in the Pride’s win over Kansas City, but was beaten out by the Washington Spirit’s Trinity Rodman and the North Carolina Courage’s Lynn Williams. With four goals and an assist in June, Williams was also named NWSL Player of the Month.

Young Lions Advance to MLS NEXT Cup Final

Orlando’s U-17 squad won 2-1 against Sacramento Republic FC to book its place in the MLS NEXT Cup final. Ethan Subachan scored Orlando’s first goal in the 23rd minute and then assisted on Gonzalo Agustoni-Chagas’ goal in the 29th. Sacramento scored in the 38th minute to close the gap but the Lions held on for the win even though Orlando City Homegrown Player Thomas Williams was sent off in the 75th minute for a soft second yellow card. Williams won’t be available for the final tomorrow night at 6:05 p.m. against Players Development Academy and fellow center back Quembol Gaudalupe limped through the final stages of the match, so we will see if he can play.

USWNT Wins Over Mexico in Send-Off Series

The United States Women’s National Team won 4-0 against Mexico in the first of two matches as part of a Send-Off Series before the Olympics. In the 21st minute, Kristie Mewis found her sister Sam Mewis in front of goal, with the latter then burying the ball into the bottom right corner to get the scoring started. Christen Press then scored in the 39th minute with an assist from Megan Rapinoe to double the USWNT’s lead.

In the 74th minute, Morgan made a great assist after pouncing on a loose ball and Tobin Heath delivered a pinpoint strike from distance to score her first goal of 2021.

Morgan was subbed off in the 78th minute and Press scored again in the 85th to complete her brace. The two teams will play again on Monday night in the USWNT’s final match before heading to Tokyo.

Free Kicks

  • The Philadelphia Union’s Quinn Sullivan won MLS Goal of the Week for his great bicycle kick against the Chicago Fire. The 17-year-old received 42.8% of the vote, narrowly surpassing Nani’s 38.7% of the vote after his game-winning goal against Inter Miami.
  • In a puzzling decision, Carles Gil was named MLS Player of the Month for June after logging five assists in three matches. While Gil is certainly a great player, it’s bizarre that he received the distinction when Nani had three goals and three assists in June. One could argue that the Revolution faced tougher opponents in wins over NYCFC and the New York Red Bulls, but they also lost to FC Dallas while Orlando won all three of its games.
  • The Copa America quarterfinals start today with Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and Peru squaring off against Paraguay at 5 p.m., before Brazil plays Chile at 8 p.m. Tomorrow, Uruguay and Colombia will play at 6 p.m. and then Orlando’s Sebas Mendez and Ecuador will take on Lionel Messi and Argentina at 9 p.m.
  • Canada also named its Gold Cup roster, with 13 MLS players chosen. Former Lions Richie Laryea, Kamal Miller, and Cyle Larin are all on the roster. It’s worth noting that Toronto FC will be without Laryea, Ayo Akinola, and Jonathan Osorio when it plays Orlando on July 17.
  • The 2020 Euros continue today, with Switzerland taking on Spain at noon before a heavyweight match-up between Belgium and Italy at 3 p.m.
  • The NWSL is working on a rebrand to its visual identity that will be revealed later this year. The rebrand is being led by Soulsight, an agency based in Chicago with clients that include the Tennessee Titans, the NBA, and Gatorade.

That’s going to be it for today. I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and rest of your weekend. Make sure to get plenty of rest and to hydrate when you can. Go Orlando!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/28/23

Ajax is reportedly scouting Facundo Torres, Orlando Pride focus on upcoming matches, Houston Dynamo win U.S. Open Cup, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope this work week has gone smoothly for you as we get ready to bid farewell to September. It’s been a hectic week for me, but I started and then promptly devoured all of Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros. It was a nice read, albeit a bit intense at times. I’m not sure what I’ll read next as most of my reading list is packed up for a move, but if you have any recommendations then let me know in the comments below. Let’s dive into today’s links!

Ajax Reportedly Interested in Facundo Torres

Orlando City forward Facundo Torres has reportedly garnered the interest of Dutch club Ajax according to Fabrizio Romano.

It’s not too surprising that Ajax, which currently sits in 14th in the Eredivisie with just seven goals from five games, has scouts keeping tabs on Torres. The 23-year-old has scored 12 goals this season, powering Orlando to second in the Eastern Conference. It wouldn’t be the first time Torres has received attention from European clubs and likely won’t be the last as he continues to impress with the Lions

Orlando Pride Focus During Playoff Push

The Orlando Pride are back in action on Monday for a crucial road match with Angel City FC. Both teams have 25 points this season, one point from the sixth and final playoff spot currently held by the Washington Spirit. It will be the first of three remaining games for the Pride this season, with matches against fellow playoff hopefuls Racing Louisville and the Houston Dash set for later in October. As a result, there’s not much margin for error if the Pride wish to make the playoffs and Kylie Strom talked about how the team is focused for these games.

MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs Begin This Weekend

The first round of the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs kicks off this weekend with six matches that can all be watched on MLS Season Pass. Unlike last year, Orlando City B will be taking part and is set to face off with Columbus Crew 2 on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Although the Young Lions have struggled on the road against Columbus, Jack Lynn and Shak Mohammed can make things difficult for the hosts. Hopefully we’ll see OCB make Columbus regret its choice of opponent in the postseason. I like the wrinkle and mind games to the playoffs the new rule gave and am interested to see which of the lower seeds plays with a chip on their shoulder. The playoffs begin on Friday when Sporting Kansas City II hosts Austin FC II in a battle between the third and fourth seeds of the Western Conference.

Houston Dynamo Win U.S. Open Cup

The Houston Dynamo have lifted the U.S. Open Cup trophy after winning 2-1 on the road against Inter Miami. A pair of goals in the first half were enough for Houston to win its second U.S. Open Cup title after also winning in 2018. A goal in stoppage time from Josef Martinez made things interesting, but the Dynamo defense did well to secure the win and deny Miami its second tournament title this year. It was a strong end to a solid tournament campaign from the Dynamo, as they beat four MLS sides before taking down Miami in the final.

Albertin Montoya Hired as Bay FC Head Coach

Ahead of its inaugural NWSL season next year, Bay FC named Albertin Montoya as the club’s first head coach. Montoya, who has lived in California for most of his life, served as the interim coach for the Washington Spirit in 2022 and also coached the U.S. U-17 women’s national team in 2011. Bay FC General Manager Lucy Rushton spoke on how Montoya’s name came up often while the club searched for a head coach, as well as how his skill at developing players will help build the club’s foundation.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja called for the supporters to continue filling Exploria Stadium and pushing the Lions forward for the team’s remaining home games this season.
  • St. Louis City midfielder Njabulo Blom won MLS Goal of the Week for his winner against Minnesota United. It was also the 23-year-old’s first professional goal.

That’s all I have for you today. Have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!

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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.

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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.

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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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