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Gold Cup 2021: Jamaica, Costa Rica Advance to Quarterfinals After Difficult Wins



The second match day for Group C took place in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup at Exploria Stadium, pitting Guadeloupe against Jamaica in the early match and Suriname versus Costa Rica in the nightcap. Jamaica stayed unbeaten with a 2-1 win over Guadeloupe in the first game and Costa Rica surviving a stubborn Suriname side.

The underdogs put up a much better fight on the second match day in Group C, but in the end both were eliminated. Costa Rica and Jamaica will play each other next Tuesday for the top of the group.

Jamaica 2, Guadeloupe 1

Guadeloupe wasted no time letting the Jamaicans know they’d be in for a fight. In just the fourth minute, Edwing Malpon sent Dimitri Ramothe down the right in all alone on Andre Blake’s goal. Ramothe took a shot that took a slight deflection off a defender, hit the right post and went in to give Guadeloupe an early 1-0 lead. Concacaf somehow decided that despite defender Amari’i Bell being directly between Ramothe and the goal, that the deflection made it an own goal by Bell rather than Ramothe’s.

It took the Jamaicans 10 minutes to respond but they did so emphatically. Philadelphia Union striker Cory Burke smashed a cannon shot just inside the right post from outside the penalty area to tie the match at 1-1 in the 14th minute.

Leon Bailey thought he gave Jamaica the lead in the 25th minute. After an initial chip attempt was stopped by goalkeeper Yohann Thuram, the ball rebounded back to Bailey. His second chip had more air under it and found the net but the flag came up and replay showed Bailey was well offside on the play.

Minutes later, there was a scary moment when Burke went down after a clash of heads in the penalty area on a set piece but he was able to continue.

Shamar Nicholson nearly gave the Reggae Boyz the lead in the 39th minute with a soft shot back against the grain but Thuram was able to make the save.

The last good chance of the first half fell to Guadeloupe’s Malpon, who sizzled a shot toward goal from the left corner of the box. Blake went up and made a strong fingertip save to keep the game knotted at 1-1.

Jamaica out-shot Guadeloupe 7-5 in the opening half (3-2 on goal) and had more possession (54%-46%). Guadeloupe had more corners (2-1) and was more accurate in passing (85%-83%).

Nicholson should have given Jamaica the lead in the 62nd minute. Burke broke in down the left and no one was covering Nicholson streaking down the right in transition. Burke got a good pass across and Nicholson completely flubbed his lines, sending his shot high into the stands from about 10 yards out in front of goal.

The second half got a bit sloppy from both teams, with Jamaica applying pressure at times but unable to pick out a final pass. Guadeloupe didn’t get forward as much and when it did, things generally unraveled before a shot could be taken.

However, substitute Vikash Tille lashed a strong shot on target in the 81st minute that forced Blake into a good save to preserve the deadlock for Jamaica. It was Guadeloupe’s only shot of the second half and the Gwada Boys didn’t seem particularly interested in going for the win on a late corner kick, sending only three players into the area for the set piece.

Jamaica fashioned the winning goal with a good individual move. Junior Flemmings made a nice move in the box to get down the left side but had very little angle to shoot. He shot anyway and the strike went straight at Thuram but the Guadeloupe keeper let the ball go right through his legs for the go-ahead goal in the 87th minute. It was Thuram’s second howler in as many matches.

Thuram did keep his team in the game in stoppage time, as Andre Gray cut in from left to right and fired a shot in the 93rd minute. Thuram did well to make a diving save to keep Guadeloupe in it but his teammates couldn’t get a good look at goal over the final moments of the match.

Jamaica improved to 2-0-0 in the group with six points and a +3 goal differential. The Reggae Boyz out-shot Guadeloupe 16-6 (6-3 on target) and held more possession (54%-46%). Each team had three corners and Guadeloupe was the more accurate passing team (88%-82%).

Costa Rica 2, Suriname 1

For the first time in the tournament, a Group C match did not feature a goal inside the first 10 minutes. Suriname held possession well for the opening 20 minutes but didn’t do much with it. Even when the Natio got into good positions, they tried playing safe and turned down shooting opportunities in favor of back passing, looking for the perfect shot to present itself.

Costa Rica took advantage by trying to strike on the counter, with Luis Diaz firing over the bar from a promising attack in the 16th minute.

Much of the first half was played between the two penalty areas but Suriname fashioned the first excellent scoring chance in the 40th minute when Sheraldo Becker got down the left side, cut in and fired a shot toward the far post. Esteban Alvarado, the Costa Rican goalkeeper, did well to get a hand to the shot and the Ticos were able to clear the danger. Ignore the caption, the save was for Costa Rica to deny Suriname.

Marc Jozefzoon fired a free kick just wide of Alvarado’s goal from a free kick in first-half stoppage time and that was the last good opportunity of the opening period. The teams went into the break deadlocked at 0-0.

Suriname led in shot attempts (5-4), shots on target (4-2), and possession (57%-43%), with Costa Rica holding an advantage in corners (2-0) and passing accuracy (91%-82%).

The second half began and a tight match opened up considerably. Suriname struck first when Geofilo Vlijter sent a spinning shot past Alvarado and into the far side of the net in the 52nd.

It was a deserved lead for Suriname, which had been the better side to that point in the match, but that was about to change.

Costa Rica struck back in the 58th minute when a cross in from Ronald Matarrita on the left found Joel Campbell, who got across his defender and headed in to make it 1-1.

A minute later, the Ticos were ahead. A bad pass out of the back ignited the Costa Rica break and Campbell took a shot after getting in behind. Warner Hahn got a hand to the shot but left a rebound out in front of the net. Celso Borges was first to the loose ball and smashed it home to make it 2-1 to Costa Rica in the 59th minute.

Suriname had a chance to equalize in the 63rd minute. Substitute Nigel Hasselbaink got down the left side and crossed in past Alvarado. Kelvin Leerdam just needed to touch it home and he made contact with the ball but sent the shot wide of the post.

DIon Malone nodded over the bar on a set piece in the 73rd as Suriname continued to chase the game.

Two minutes later, Costa Rica should have salted the match away. A great cross through the box by Ariel Lassiter found Borges all alone on the right side of goal but the Costa Rican captain hit his shot wide of the far post, leaving Suriname with a chance.

Ivenzo Comvalius split two defenders on the right in the 83rd minute and fired, forcing a diving clearance by the Costa Rica defense that led to a corner. On the ensuing set piece, Costa Rica defender Francisco Calvo hit Ryan Donk in the face. After video review, Calvo was sent off and even though the foul was in the area, the ball hadn’t yet been put in play so it wasn’t a penalty.

Calvo will miss the Jamaica match on Tuesday and so will his replacement, Kendall Waston, who subbed on but entered the pitch without getting waved on by the referee and picked up a silly second yellow in the tournament as a result.

Comvalius nearly became a national hero for Suriname in stoppage time, cutting in and smashing a shot that hit the right post. Costa Rica withstood a late corner and held on to win the match and advance to the quarterfinals. Suriname was eliminated in cruel fashion, as the upstarts in their first ever Gold Cup were the better side for much of the game.

Each team fired 11 shot attempts, with Suriname getting more on target (7-5). Suriname held more possession (53%-47%) and won more corners (3-2). Costa Rica held the advantage in passing accuracy (89%-84%).

Group C action will conclude on Tuesday. Jamaica and Costa Rica will meet in the early match at Exploria Stadium, while Guadeloupe and Suriname will square off in Houston at BBVA Stadium. Panama and Grenada from Group D will be the late match at Exploria Stadium on Tuesday. The reason for the venue switches is that all of the final match day games in each group have to be played at the same time.

Group C Standings

Costa Rica:  2-0-0, 6 points, +3 GD

Jamaica: 2-0-0, 6 points, +3 GD

Guadeloupe:  0-2-0, 0 points, -3 GD

Suriname:  0-2-0, 0 points, -3 GD


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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