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Lion Links: 7/16/21



How’s it going, Mane Landers? Thank gosh it’s Friday so we can start shifting gears from the work week to the weekend. I personally don’t have much planned this weekend, but it will be nice to relax and enjoy Orlando City and the Orlando Pride in action. The Olympics are also only a week away now, although the United States Women’s National Team will play before the opening ceremony as its first game is against Sweden on July 21. But for now, enjoy today’s links from around the soccer world.

Daryl Dike Scores Brace in U.S. Win Against Martinique

Orlando forward Daryl Dike scored twice in the United States Men’s National Team’s 5-1 win over Martinique in the Concacaf Gold Cup. In the 14th minute, Matthew Hoppe delivered a nice cross from the left side and Dike headed it in to give the U.S. an early lead.

Later, in the 23rd minute, Hoppe pounced on a loose ball in the box and made a nice backheel pass to a wide open Gianluca Busio, whose shot hit the crossbar. Dike got to the rebound first with his head and Martinique defender Samuel Camille couldn’t keep it out. There was some debate on if Dike would be credited with the goal, but it was ultimately decided to be an own goal. Regardless, Dike ended up getting his brace anyway in the 59th minute after a give-and-go with Cristian Roldan. While powering past defenders, Dike made three perfect touches on the ball to become the second-youngest USMNT player to score two goals in a Gold Cup game.

Center back Miles Robinson, forward Gyasi Zardes, and Nicholas Gioacchini scored the USMNT’s other three goals. Hoppe, Eryk Williamson, Roldan, and Gianluca Busio all earned their first assists with the USMNT as well. However, midfielder Kellyn Acosta conceded a penalty, which Martinique converted, and although the U.S. leveled Canada in goal difference, the Canadians still own the goals scored tiebreaker. The U.S. can only win the group with a win on Sunday but is through to the quarterfinals regardless.

Speaking of Canada, it secured its spot in the next round after winning 4-1 against Haiti. Former Lion Cyle Larin scored a brace and leads the tournament with three goals so far. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see a showdown between Dike and Larin.

In the quarterfinals, the U.S. and Canada will take on the top two teams from Group C. You can see those nations in action tonight at Exploria Stadium as Jamaica plays Guadeloupe at 6:30 p.m. and Costa Rica takes on Suriname at 8:30 p.m. The Mane Land will be out there providing coverage.

Orlando City Faces Toronto FC Tomorrow Night

For the first time since 2019, the Lions are headed to Canada for a game against Toronto FC tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. This is the third time the two sides meet this season, with Orlando winning both of the previous matches played at Exploria Stadium. Although the two teams are on opposite ends of the Eastern Conference standings, the Lions are on a two-game losing streak while Toronto is coming off of a big 3-2 win against the New England Revolution. Toronto is missing five players due to the Gold Cup, including forward Ayo Akinola and former Lion Richie Laryea. But the Canadian club will still have Designated Players Alejandro Pozuelo, Yeferson Soteldo, and Jozy Altidore available for tomorrow’s match.

Those players will certainly test an Orlando defense that has conceded five goals in its past two matches. The defense is focused on returning to the strong defensive play that Orlando started the season with.

“We need to work on it and try to just get back to the winning feeling,” center back Robin Jansson said. “It’s going back to the base of our way to play and keeping the team together and just starting from the ground and doing the basic stuff.”

Orlando will also benefit from the returns of defensive midfielder Sebas Mendez and goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and fullbacks Joao Moutinho and Ruan could see some minutes tomorrow as well.

Orlando Pride Face the Portland Thorns This Sunday

The Lions aren’t the only ones taking a long-distance trip this weekend. The Pride will head west for a match-up against the Portland Thorns at 10:30 p.m. this Sunday night. Both teams are tied with the North Carolina Courage for first place in the NWSL standings so there is plenty to play for. The Pride came out on top in the most recent meeting between the two, winning 2-1 at Exploria Stadium. After starting the season with seven straight games without a loss, the Pride are winless in their last three and face a Thorns defense that has shut out its last two opponents. Like the Pride, the Thorns are without some of the better players due to the Olympics, as Crystal Dunn, Christine Sinclair, Lindsey Horan, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Adrianna Franch are all in Tokyo.

With Alex Morgan at the Olympics, the Pride’s other forwards will need to step up to take some of the load off of Sydney Leroux. Forward Jodie Taylor was signed by the Pride last week and discussed how she is settling in with the team.

Americans Are Becoming the Popular Kids

FC Dallas Homegrown Player Tanner Tessmann was signed by Serie A club Venezia FC. The 19-year-old midfielder is the latest young American player to head abroad as more European clubs look to the U.S. for potential talent. The Colorado Rapids are in the final stages of an agreement with Belgian club Royal Antwerp for left back Sam Vines, who is currently with the USMNT for the Gold Cup. D.C. United Homegrown Players Kevin Paredes and Moses Nyeman are reportedly generating some interest from Europe as well. In Orlando, Dike and Chris Mueller have both attracted attention from overseas this year. Gregg Berhalter weighed in on how a spotlight is starting to fall on young Americans in MLS.

“It seems like, from my experience in Europe, my experience in MLS,” said USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter in a Wednesday night media availability, “we’ve gotten to a point where there is critical mass. And what I mean by that is, we’ve had enough American players that have been successful overseas in Europe that now clubs are looking at the United States as a market.”

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  • Check out some footage of recently acquired left back Emmanuel Mas training with the squad.

That’s going to be all I have for you today. Make sure to stay safe and hydrated out there during this hot summer. Enjoy all of the soccer this weekend!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/23/22

Lions and Herons meet again, Carly Nelson is writing a book, NWSL free agency opens, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

Happy Founder’s Day, Mane Landers! It was on this day in 2014 that our fearless leader and Managing Editor Michael Citro started our first ever WordPress website. It’s safe to say that I’m sure The Mane Land has impacted your life as much as it has mine over the years, whether that be through daily reading or weekly podcasts. Cheers to Michael and all those who have come before me.

In my own personal news, I have been grinding away on the new EA FC 24 (the franchise formerly known as EA’s FIFA.) So far, the gameplay and updates have been great in my initial 15+ hours of play, and my online Ultimate Team is starting to really take its shape. I’m sure in a couple weeks that I’ll transition to a traditional Career Mode and take the Lions all the way to an MLS Cup and beyond.

Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a very happy birthday to everyone’s favorite defensive midfielder, Wilder Cartagena!

Third Bout for Orlando City and Inter Miami

Orlando City and Inter Miami have already met twice this campaign. Sunday’s match will look to break the deadlock between the two rivals as both clubs have a victory to their name in this year’s series. In May, the Lions grabbed a 3-1 victory over the Fort Lauderdale-based club. The two sides met for a second time in the knockout round of Leagues Cup 2023 with Inter Miami taking the 3-1 result at DRV PNK Stadium. No matter the result this time around, Orlando City has already clinched a playoff spot, however, the Herons need every point they can get to attempt to do the same.

Carly Nelson, Goalkeeper and Author

It isn’t unheard of to learn that an athlete might have tried another sport before finding soccer, Orlando Pride goalkeeper Carly Nelson came from a background of gymnastics, tennis, basketball, and baseball before her father started a club soccer team with her in mind. While Nelson might have idolized USWNT legend Hope Solo as a child, she started her playing days as a forward, winger, and midfielder. Outside of protecting the Pride’s net, Nelson is spending time writing a book about her life growing up in Utah and the issues her family faced to hopefully help others that might find themselves in similar situations.

NWSL Opens 2024 Free Agency

The National Women’s Soccer League has officially opened the league’s unrestricted and restricted free agency periods. In accordance with the NWSL Players’ Association’s collective bargaining agreement, eligible free agents can begin negotiations for their 2024 Standard Player Agreements. Players eligible for unrestricted free agency include all who have at least five years of service within the NWSL and contracts expiring in 2023, while players eligible for restricted free agency include those who have at least three years of service. For the Orlando Pride, defender Kylie Strom is set to be an unrestricted free agent and midfielder Jordyn Listro is under restricted terms. Any club that currently holds the rights of a restricted free agent has a seven-day period to match an incoming offer from another club or else the player may sign with the new club under the terms of the offer.

USMNT’s Tyler Adams Nearing Return

Tyler Adams will not make his Bournemouth debut this weekend, but he could return as early as next week. Bournemouth’s manager, Andoni Iraola, provided a positive update on the U.S. Men’s National Team captain as he finishes up rehabbing a long-term hamstring injury.

“He has started this week at least to train partially with the group, so probably we can have a chance of having him next week or two weeks, something like this. Tyler is really close because once you start training partially with the group, it’s a matter of sensations, and if you are physically good enough. He has a very good physical base. So I think it will take not a long time to see Tyler with the team.”

Adams has not played since March after having a hamstring surgery. Even with a known injury, the 24-year-old still completed a move from Leeds United to Bournemouth following Leeds’ relegation to keep him in the top flight.

MLS Weekend Preview

Aside from the Florida derby, there are plenty of matches to be excited about around the league this weekend. Personally, I’m looking forward to catching a bit of the D.C. United and New York Red Bulls match. Manager Wayne Rooney’s club is right on the bubble in a tight Eastern Conference race while the Red Bulls can do themselves a huge service and come back into the playoff picture with a win. Out in the Western Conference, there is a real buzz around a Portland Timbers squad after a manager sacking. It could be a huge win for the Timbers and likely push them above the play-in round should they find a result against the Colorado Rapids.

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That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a fantastic Saturday. Be safe on Sunday at the match. Stay hydrated and look out for those around you. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/22/23

Orlando City prepares for Inter Miami, MLS NEXT Pro Decision Day is Sunday, USWNT wins against South Africa, and much more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B / Mark Thor

Happy Friday! It’s been a pretty busy week of apartment hunting and work for me, so I’m looking forward to some rest and relaxation this weekend. I don’t have many plans, but I did make sure to carve out a few hours to make a drink and get some reading done. My book club is fairly low maintenance, but I’ll be behind if I don’t finish Fourth Wing before the second book in the series comes out in November. Let’s get into today’s links!

Orlando City Takes On Inter Miami This Weekend

Following a 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC earlier this week, Orlando City will aim to bounce back when it hosts rival Inter Miami this Sunday. Orlando has a chance to set club records for the most wins and points in a season since it joined MLS in 2015. It will be the third meeting between the two clubs this season, with Orlando beating Miami 3-1 in May before falling 3-1 in the Leagues Cup’s knockout stage. Although Miami will be without Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba according to Head Coach Tata Martino, the Herons still have plenty of attacking talent in the form of Sergio Busquets, Leonardo Campana, and Josef Martinez.

Orlando City B Readies for MLS NEXT Pro Decision Day

Sunday will also be the final day of the MLS NEXT Pro regular season, with nearly every team in action. Here’s everything you need to know about Decision Day across the league, with playoff spots still up for grabs. Orlando City B has already clinched its spot in the postseason, but can secure fifth in the Eastern Conference when it takes on FC Cincinnati 2. However, the difference between fifth and a lower seed won’t matter too much due to a new rule this year where the second and third seed in each conference choose which lower seed it wants to host in the playoffs. The Golden Boot race is competitive as well, with OCB’s Jack Lynn tied at the top with New York City FC II’s Matt Myers. We’ll see if Lynn takes part in Sunday’s match after giving the first team needed depth last weekend.

USWNT Beats South Africa in Julie Ertz’s Finale

The United States Women’s National Team won 3-0 against South Africa in the first of two friendlies this month. All three of the USWNT’s goals came in the first half, with Lynn Williams bagging a brace. In her final USWNT game, Julie Ertz started and earned plenty of applause from the crowd at TQL Stadium when she was subbed off in the 36h minute. M.A. Vignola made her USWNT debut in the match as well, coming on at halftime. The two nations will play again on Sunday in what will be forward Megan Rapinoe’s last game with the USWNT.

Europa League Group Stage Kicks Off

The first round of Europa League group stage matches is over, with all 32 teams getting things started across Europe. Brighton & Hove Albion’s first Europa League match was a rough one, as the English club fell 3-2 at home against AEK Athens. The Spanish clubs also struggled, with Villarreal getting shut out 2-0 by Panathinaikos and Real Betis losing 1-0 to Rangers. Elsewhere, AS Roma beat Sheriff Tiraspol 2-1 thanks to a winner from Romelu Lukaku, Liverpool won 3-1 over Austrian club LASK after trailing early on, and Marseille drew 3-3 with Ajax in a thriller. West Ham, Atalanta, Bayer Leverkusen, and SC Freiburg also won their group openers.

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  • Enjoy the sights and sounds from the Orlando City Foundation’s annual celebrity golf and footgolf tournament.

That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/21/23

Orlando City clinches playoff berth despite loss, Eastern Conference standings remain close, USWNT plays South Africa tonight, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Last night’s result wasn’t the best outcome by any means, but losing on the road on short rest after a huge win isn’t the worst thing in the world. We’ll just have to shake that loss off and look forward to more soccer while we have it. Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando City B midfielder Imanol Almaguer!

Orlando City Clinch Playoff Spot Despite Loss

The Lions weren’t able to put together a comeback in their 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC. Playing at a narrow Citi Field, Orlando was not able to get much of anything going on offense and was shut out for the first time since July 8. The loss snapped Orlando’s six-game unbeaten streak in MLS play as well. Although the Lions are headed back to Florida emptyhanded, they did qualify for the playoffs due to other results in the league. Orlando will look to right the ship when it hosts Inter Miami this Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

Eastern Conference Remains Tight After Midweek Matches

Orlando wasn’t the only Eastern Conference team to clinch its spot in the playoffs after the latest midweek matches, with the Columbus Crew and Philadelphia Union both qualifying. Cucho Hernandez had a hat trick within the first 23 minutes of the Crew’s 3-0 win at home against the Chicago Fire. A penalty kick in stoppage time by Daniel Gazdag salvaged a point for the Union in a 2-2 draw with Charlotte FC. FC Cincinnati also needed a late equalizer from the penalty spot in its 1-1 draw with CF Montreal. As for how Orlando’s rivals fared, Atlanta United drew 1-1 with D.C. United and Miami beat Toronto FC, 4-0. Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba both exited in the first half and Miami Head Coach Tata Martino stated that neither will play against Orlando this weekend. Of course, that could just be misdirection. We’ll know for certain come Sunday.

USWNT Plays South Africa Tonight

The United States Women’s National Team will play its first match since the World Cup tonight when it faces South Africa tonight at 7:30 p.m. at TQL Stadium. Following Vlatko Andonovski’s departure last month, Twila Kilgore will coach the team for these friendlies. It will also be Julie Ertz’s final game after 10 years of playing for the USWNT. The 31-year-old announced her retirement last month and spoke more about her decision ahead of tonight’s match. After tonight, the USWNT will play South Africa again on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Champions League Group Stage Rolls On

More clubs got their first taste of this year’s Champions League action as the group stage kicked off this week. Arsenal’s campaign got off on the right foot, with a 4-0 win over PSV Eindhoven that put the English club at the top of its group after a 1-1 draw between Sevilla and Lens. Manchester United had a rougher time, falling 4-3 on the road to Bayern Munich. Goalkeeper Andre Onana struggled and blamed himself for the loss. Real Madrid needed a goal from Jude Bellingham in stoppage time to win 1-0 over Union Berlin at home, while Lautaro Martinez scored a late equalizer in Inter Milan’s 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad. Elsewhere, Napoli beat Braga 2-1, RB Leipzig won 2-0 against a Benfica side that was reduced to 10 men early on, and Galatasaray and Copenhagen split the points in a 2-2 result.

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That’s all I have for you today. Be like a goldfish and enjoy your Thursday!

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