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Lion Links: 7/9/21



How’s it going, Mane Landers? July hasn’t been too kind to Orlando City or the Orlando Pride, but hopefully that starts turning around as the month rolls on. There’s plenty of soccer to look forward to throughout the month at least. Before we jump into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy 20th birthday to Orlando City Homegrown Player Jordan Bender, who is on loan with the Charlotte Independence.

Orlando Pride Sign Jodie Tyler

With Alex Morgan gone for the Olympics, the Pride have signed English forward Jodie Taylor to a deal that will keep her in Orlando through the 2021 season. The Pride acquired Taylor’s rights before the season in a trade that sent defender Carson Pickett to the North Carolina Courage. Taylor spent the 2020-2021 season in Europe, scoring once in six appearances for an Olympique Lyonnais squad loaded with talent. This isn’t Taylor’s first rodeo in the National Women’s Soccer League though, as she scored 14 goals in 47 matches with the club now known as OL Reign and had stints with the Washington Spirit and Portland Thorns.

The Pride have relied heavily on Morgan and Sydney Leroux on offense so far this season. The pair have scored eight of the team’s 12 goals this year and Taylor should take some of the pressure off of Leroux while Morgan is away.

The Pride Host Racing Louisville FC Tonight

Orlando will aim to bounce back when it takes on Racing Louisville at 7 p.m. tonight in Exploria Stadium. The Pride are coming off of their first shutout loss of the season, falling 2-0 at home to the Courage and relinquishing the top spot in the NWSL standings. They can reclaim that spot tonight with a win against a Louisville side that also lost last weekend. Although Louisville has lost four of its eight games this season, all have come at the hands of the impressive Courage and Thorns. This isn’t the first meeting between Orlando and Louisville in 2021, as the two sides fought to a 2-2 draw in the NWSL Challenge Cup’s group stage. Tonight’s match could end up being a battle between two of the league’s best goalkeepers, as Louisville’s Michelle Betos leads the NWSL with 48 saves while the Pride’s Ashlyn Harris secured yet another NWSL Save of the Week after denying a penalty — her third such stop this season.

Amy Turner Details Her Decision to Join the Pride

Pride defender Amy Turner made her NWSL debut in the team’s recent loss to the Courage. Although she only played a few minutes late in the match, it was a big moment for Turner as the entirety of her career was spent in England. After playing with various clubs as women’s soccer grew in England, Turner joined Manchester United for its inaugural season in 2018 and helped her team earn promotion and then a league title the following year. But she was urged to make a change by Americans Tobin Heath and Christen Press, who both joined United for the 2020-21 season.

“They used to say to me that I was probably the most recognizable player on the team for someone that they knew playing in the NWSL with the way I defend and the way I play, which was not something I’d really thought about too much before,” Turner said. “They reassured me that, in their opinion, it was a good decision for me and hopefully a good move in my career.”

Fellow Englishwoman Jade Moore has helped Turner settle in in Orlando, easing the transition between countries. As a center back, Turner’s addition should bring some organization to the back line and perhaps allow Ali Krieger to move to her preferred position at right back.

Getting Set for the Concacaf Gold Cup

The Gold Cup starts tomorrow and although the United States Men’s National Team and Mexico are expected to go far, there are plenty of teams that could potentially shake things up. The tournament opens with a match between El Salvador and Curacao at 5 p.m., with former Lion Darwin Ceren possibly in action for El Salvador. Later tomorrow night, at 10 p.m., Mexico’s campaign will start against Trinidad and Tobago. Unlike the USMNT, Mexico’s squad will be at nearly full strength for the tournament and is expected to easily top its group.

The USMNT is in a group with Canada, Haiti, and Martinique. Although the U.S. shouldn’t have much trouble claiming one of the top two spots, Canada’s and Haiti’s offenses should lead to some excitement in the group. On Sunday, Canada will take on Martinique at 6:30 p.m. and the USMNT plays Haiti at 8:30 p.m. The group match between the USMNT and Canada on July 18 could also give us an intriguing match-up between Orlando City forward Daryl Dike and former Lion Cyle Larin.

Exploria Stadium will host the majority of matches for the group that includes Costa Rica, Jamaica, Suriname, and Guadeloupe. The final group will feature guest nation Qatar along with Honduras, Panama, and Grenada.

Free Kicks

  • Alex Morgan wasn’t able to bring her daughter to Tokyo with her while playing in the Olympics.

  • Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli, who plays for Arsenal at the club level, named Marta as the player he most wants to meet while at the Olympics.

That’s going to be it for today, folks. I hope you all have a great Friday and enjoy all of the soccer this weekend. Go Orlando!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/6/23

Lions earn weekly honors, OCSC headed in the right direction, Kylie Strom lands on NWSL Best XI of May, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I got absolutely clattered during my Sunday league game over the weekend, and I’ve been hobbling around ever since. Fortunately, my fingers still work just fine, because there’s plenty of things to talk through this morning. Let’s get after it.

Lions Earn Weekly Honors

Orlando was well represented on the MLS Team of the Matchday following a 3-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls Saturday night. Facundo Torres and Ivan Angulo were both named to the starting lineup, while Oscar Pareja was given the nod as head coach. Torres scored two goals and Angulo recorded a goal and an assist in the victory. Dave Rohe gave Torres a 7.5 and Angulo an 8, along with the Man of the Match award, in our player grades. It was nice to see other people take notice of the performances they put in. Keep up the good work, fellas!

OCSC Heading in the Right Direction

Orlando City got the complete performance that it’s been looking for in recent weeks, and Oscar Pareja is very pleased with what he saw from his team. He went out of his way to highlight the fact that the Lions stayed vigilant and didn’t relax and give up a goal as the game went on, something that’s been a problem at times this year. While Pareja said that things aren’t perfect yet, he and Torres were both of the opinion that the team is playing better lately, and Torres felt that Saturday was OCSC’s best performance of the season.

Kylie Strom Earns Monthly Plaudits

Orlando Pride defender Kylie Strom has been named to the NWSL Best XI for the month of May. Strom started in each of the Pride’s four matches during May and went the full 90 minutes in all but one of them. She helped anchor a back line that only gave up two goals during those four games, but the highlight of her month came during the team’s home game against the Washington Spirit. Strom scored the winning goal in the second half as the Pride handed the Spirit their first loss of the season. Here’s hoping she continues the good form!

Fines and Bans Proposed for Vinicius’ Abusers

The four men accused of hanging an effigy of Vinicius Jr. from a bridge are set to have hefty punishments levied against them. Spain’s anti-violence commission has proposed fines of  €60,001 and two-year stadium bans as a result of their actions. Additionally, the three men accused of racially abusing the Brazilian winger during a match against Valencia may be given fines and a one-year stadium ban as well. All seven were arrested and, although they’ve been released, could still face criminal charges, although that would be unprecedented. The Real Madrid player has suffered repeated instances of racial abuse since arriving in Spain. Hopefully the punishments will do something to deter the ugly incidents from occurring.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City has picked up more points on the road than any other team in the Eastern Conference.

That’s all for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/5/23

Torres could be turning the corner, lights go out on OCB, U-20 USMNT knocked out of World Cup, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers. It was quite the packed weekend of soccer, so I won’t blame you if you’re a little tired starting out your week. Orlando City’s victory over the New York Red Bulls was certainly the highlight, and I hope the Lions’ form continues next weekend when I come down to Exploria Stadium for the match against the Colorado Rapids. Let’s get to the links.

Torres Could Be Turning a Corner

Facundo Torres scored a brace in the match against the New York City Red Bulls on Saturday night, and perhaps it is the type of performance that will kick his season into gear. We saw the same thing last season, as Torres started slowly but came on in the second half of the season. Hopefully, Saturday’s match serves as notice he is about to do the same in 2023.

Torres’ two goals doubled his production on the season, with three of the four goals coming against the Red Bulls, and two of them on penalty kicks. Orlando City has desperately needed Torres to find his form. His performance earned him a nomination for MLS Player of the Matchday, so vote early and vote often.

Toronto FC II Turns Lights Out on OCB

OCB traveled to the Great White North to take on Toronto FC II at York Lions Stadium in Toronto, Ontario. It was a difficult night for the Young Lions as Toronto took an early lead and then doubled it before the end of the half. Mason Stajduhar made the start for OCB since Javier Otero was on international duty with Venezuela, but he was unable to help OCB, as the team in front of him played poorly.

After Toronto scored the third goal of the match to go up 3-0, the lights in the stadium went out, much like the hopes of any chance at a comeback for the Young Lions. It was supposed to be a short delay, but that was not the case. Ultimately, lights or no lights it was a night to forget for OCB. The lights never came back on and the match was abandoned and ruled a 3-0 final due to a local curfew. Sean Rollins has your partial match recap.

U-20 USMNT Crashes Out of the U-20 World Cup

The U-20 USMNT team lost 2-0 to Uruguay in the quarterfinal match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup, continuing a trend of the U.S. bowing out in the same round. Heading into the match, the U.S. hadn’t given up a goal in the competition. That all changed in the 21st minute, when Uruguay’s Anderson Duarte scored to put his side up early. The U.S. didn’t help their cause in the second half thanks to an own goal by Joshua Wynder. Even when the U.S. started to get chances on goal, they would be blocked by their own teammates or take a bounce the wrong way. It was as if all the good luck and quality the team played with to get to the quarterfinal was turned against them. It was fun while it lasted.

U-20 USWNT Falls to Mexico in Concacaf Final

Two days after qualifying for the U-20 Women’s World Cup, thanks to a 2-1 win over Costa Rica, the U-20 USWNT lost to Mexico in the Concacaf U-20 Women’s Championship match by the same 2-1 score. Both teams left it late, with Mailin Orozco starting the scoring for Mexico and Onyeka Gamero equalizing for the U.S. A bit of poor defending allowed Mexico to get the game winning goal from Fatima Servin in the 87th minute.

Free Kicks

  • The U-16 Men’s Youth National Team closed out the 2023 International Dream Cup with a 2-1 win over the U-16 Nigeria Youth National Team. Orlando City academy goalkeeper Zackory Campagnolo got the start for the U.S.
  • Former Lion Cyle Larin’s Real Valladolid were relegated to La Liga 2 thanks to a final day 0-0 draw with Getafe. Larin Lead Real Valladolid with seven goals on the season in only 13 appearances.
  • LAFC took on Leon in the second leg of the Concacaf Champions League final Sunday night. Leon came into the match up 2-1 on aggregate and won the 2023 Concacaf Champions League.
  • During the Concacaf Champions League match, Aaron Long attempted a header for LAFC and had to be subbed off due to concussion protocols. It’s a good example of why the protocols are in place.
  • Israel shocked Brazil, defeating the favorites 3-2 in the quarterfinal of the U-20 World Cup. This is Israel’s first appearance at the competition and the team will now face Uruguay in the semifinals.
  • There were much bigger names in the $1 million, 7v7 The Soccer Tournament, but in the end it was Newtown Pride that captured the prize, outlasting teams like Wrexham AFC and a team made up of former USWNT players (which lost to Wrexham, 12-0). The club, which beat SLC FC in the final, will donate a portion of their winnings to Sandy Hook Elementary School charities.
  • Folarin Balogun scored in his final match for Reims in Ligue 1 and is now looking forward to a call-up to the USMNT at the Nations League competition.

That will do it for today. If you make it either the Orlando City or Orlando Pride match this weekend, I hope to see you. Please say hello.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/3/23

The Orlando Pride hit the road, OCB players called up, USMNT U-20 squad can make history, and more.



Merry match day morning, Mane Landers! I hope you have multiple screens ready as both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are in action this evening. Hopefully, it will be a weekend of better results for the clubs, as both are coming off difficult results. It’s been a busy week for me already and it won’t slow down anytime soon, so enjoying matches is a nice break. Let’s get to the links.

Orlando Pride Start a Busy Stretch

The Orlando Pride are heading west to play the Houston Dash tonight, followed by an NWSL Challenge Cup match against NJ/NY Gotham FC on Wednesday, and then back to Exploria Stadium to host the Portland Thorns next Sunday. Three games in nine days will test the club’s depth and it’s reasonable to expect a heavily rotated side in the Challenge Cup match. The Pride enter tonight looking for a second straight win over the Dash. To make that a reality the Pride will need to create and this time convert on the chances on goal.

OCB Venezuelan Call-ups

Goalkeeper Javier Otero and fullback/winger Moises Tablante have been called up to the Venezuelan National Football Team for a pair of friendlies this month (translate). Venezuela will face Honduras on June 15 in Washington, D.C. and Guatemala at Rentschler Field on June 18 in East Hartford, Connecticut.

Orlando City B may only be without them for one match, but the team will certainly miss the pair during the time they are on international duty. Otero has been very good in goal, and Tablante has been contributing to the attack. Of course, it is an honor for both to represent their national team and we wish them well.

Pride Month Kicks Off

Both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are celebrating Pride Month with logo changes for both squads. The Pride will be hosting the “Pride in our City” match against the Portland Thorns on June 11 in tribute to the victims of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy.

The Lions and the Pride are only two of many other sports teams to recognize and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ communities in June. Other teams include the Wilf-owned Minnesota Vikings and Florida-based Major League Baseball club, the Tampa Bay Rays.

USMNT U-20 Opportunities

When the U-20 USMNT squad meets Uruguay on Sunday there is the possibility that some of the players will also make an appearance for the senior squad in the 2026 World Cup. It’s also possible that this team can advance, possibly to the final. If so, they will make history. If the team makes it past Uruguay either Brazil or Israel will await in the semifinal. Of course, the U.S. is not the only team in Argentina with a path to the trophy.

Free Kicks

That will do it for today. Check back for our coverage of both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride. Vamos Orlando!

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