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Lion Links: 8/11/21



Hello, Mane Landers. I hope you all are doing well down in Florida. I just got back from a weekend trip in Detroit. I have family in Michigan, so it was a great weekend all around. We’ve got lots to cover today so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City SC Prepares for Leagues Cup

Orlando City SC will play its first international competition tomorrow in the 2021 Leagues Cup against Santos Laguna. The game will start at 7 p.m. at Exploria Stadium and you can watch the match on ESPN+ or TUDN. The Lions head into this match after back-to-back draws against Inter Miami and FC Cincinnati. This will be the first time Orlando has ever faced a Mexican club in an official match. Santos Laguna is in good form as its 2021 Apertura season began with a 3-0 win against Necaxa, followed by draws against Cruz Azul and Tigres UANL. We were able to see the submitted rosters for each club and Orlando’s biggest absences are Daryl Dike, Sebas Mendez, Uri Rosell, and Alexandre Pato. As for Santos, Fernando Gorriarán and Diego Valdés are the players to keep an eye on in the midfield while winger Ferney Otero is a threat out wide.

The winner will face the Seattle Sounders in the semifinals. The Sounders won their Leagues Cup quarterfinal match against Tigres last night, shutting out the Liga MX side 3-0.

Orlando Pride Hold Playoff Spot at NWSL’s Midpoint

With the first 12 weeks of the National Women’s Soccer League over, the Pride are in playoff position despite a rollercoaster of a season. After a seven-game unbeaten streak to start the season, the Pride endured a six-game winless run before a recent win on the road against the Chicago Red Stars. Marc Skinner departed for Manchester United and Becky Burleigh was brought on as an interim coach to see out the rest of the season.

Hopefully United States Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan will return to the field for the Pride soon after picking up an injury in the bronze medal game of the Tokyo Olympics. Marta and Ali Riley have already returned and backup goalkeeper Erin McLeod is expected back soon as well. Sydney Leroux has been a force on offense, leading the league with seven goals to help keep the Pride in playoff contention. The Pride have 10 games left this season and sit fourth in the NWSL standings.

Gregg Berhalter Gets Ready for World Cup Qualifying

The United States Men’s National Team managed to defeat Mexico twice this summer to win the Nations League and Gold Cup. Now, USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter turns his attention to Concacaf World Cup qualifying. He expects a grind as the Yanks try to make it back to the World Cup.

“I think it’s a big step for this young player pool,” Berhalter said. “We have one of the youngest national teams in the world right now, and for these guys to get used to winning but also believing that they can do it is really important.

“Our next step now is World Cup qualifying in the fall and there’s 14 games. In World Cup qualifying there’s going to be 14 finals. I think as a coaching staff, one thing that we’re pleased with is that these guys have been in this situation before and we’re ready to go, ready to handle it.”

Berhalter has a large player pool to choose from for these matches, including those playing in Europe. From England, Christian Pulisic watched the USMNT win the Gold Cup and expressed his thoughts on the USMNT before World Cup qualifying begins on Sept. 2.

“I think there’s just a different kind of fight in the team that you’re seeing,” he said. ”I mean the last two competitions that we’ve seen, even watching this Gold Cup, the team just has… Yeah, there’s always that feeling that we’re going to come out with that result. We’re going to fight till the end. We’re going to just find that result in the end. And I think that’s the difference and there’s just so much passion and growth that’s been in the team.”

Lionel Messi Signs with Paris Saint-Germain

After an emotional goodbye to FC Barcelona on Sunday, Lionel Messi officially signed with Paris Saint-Germain. Messi’s contract with Barcelona expired in June and he will join PSG on a two-year contract with an option for a third year. PSG will formally introduce the Argentine legend in a press conference today and he spoke about this next move in his career.

“I am excited to begin a new chapter of my career at Paris Saint-Germain. Everything about the club matches my football ambitions. I know how talented the squad and the coaching staff are here. I am determined to help build something special for the club and the fans, and I am looking forward to stepping out onto the pitch at the Parc des Princes,” Messi said in a statement.

Free Kicks

  • In the latest MLS power rankings, Orlando City fell two spots to seventh after a pair of draws.
  • Sporting Kansas City started seven Homegrown Players in a 6-1 loss to Club Leon in Leagues Cup action last night. The competition continues tonight with New York City FC taking on Pumas UNAM at 8 p.m.
  • The Washington Spirit announced that Richie Burke stepped down as head coach due to health concerns. Burke will be reassigned to a front office role and the Spirit will begin the search for their next head coach.
  • Former USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo weighed in on the futures of Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, and Becky Sauerbrunn after their Olympic tournament.

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

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/17/24

MLSPA releases player salaries, Duncan McGuire discusses move to Blackburn, Orlando Pride prepare for the Seattle Reign, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Friday! The weekend is nearly here, with plenty of soccer both here in the domestic leagues and abroad. I have a pretty packed weekend but am looking forward to watching Orlando City and the Orlando Pride in action. It should be a nice next few days, so let’s get it started with today’s links!

MLSPA Releases Player Salaries

The Major League Soccer Players Association unveiled the base salary and guaranteed compensation information for every player under contract with the league as of April 25 — except Wilder Cartagena, apparently. Luis Muriel is the highest-paid Orlando City player, and his $4.3 million in guaranteed compensation is the 12th most in the league, while his base salary is just over $2.83. As for other Orlando newcomers, Nico Lodeiro’s compensation is $800,000 and David Brekalo’s is $683,000.

Lionel Messi predictably tops the list of all players with $20.4 million guaranteed for playing with Inter Miami. To put that number into perspective, it’s more than the compensation of every team in the league except his own team (Miami), Toronto FC, Nashville SC, and the Chicago Fire. Orlando City is 22nd in the league in compensation, clocking in at $15.07 million.

Duncan McGuire Weighs In on Moving to Blackburn

Orlando City forward Duncan McGuire had a hurricane of an off-season due to a transfer saga that nearly saw him join Blackburn Rovers in England. An administration error by Blackburn prevented the move from going through, and McGuire ultimately returned to Orlando. In the time since, there have been reports that Orlando offered him a new contract and that Blackburn still wants him to join in the summer. McGuire spoke about whether he is still interested in a move to Blackburn after the difficult experience.

“It’s tough to say,” McGuire told GOAL.”That was a pretty bad mistake, a pretty bad mistake by them. I’d be open to maybe having a conversation but it would have to be a lot to get me to go back there. On the plane ride back, I just felt like my tail was between my legs. I asked my agent how often this happens and he was like ‘This doesn’t happen’.

“I didn’t burn bridges with my teammates or have it be like ‘Oh you wanted to leave and now you’re back’. When I got back, it was like I never left.”

Orlando Pride Prepare for the Seattle Reign

The Orlando Pride will take their six-game win streak on the road for a match against the Seattle Reign Sunday night. The Reign are coming off of a 4-0 loss to the Portland Thorns in their sixth defeat of the season, but Pride Head Coach Seb Hines discussed how the Reign played better in that match than the score suggests. The Pride have also never won in Washington, and the turf and atmosphere of Lumen Field could give Orlando some trouble after a long trip. Injuries, particularly to the midfield, have made things difficult for the Pride, but midfielder Morgan Gautrat detailed how the team’s chemistry has helped them get results despite the adversity.

Nashville SC Fires Gary Smith

Nashville SC has parted ways with Gary Smith, who had been the club’s only head coach while in MLS. Smith joined Nashville back in 2018, coaching the team for two seasons in the USL Championship before. With a defensive style, Smith led the team to MLS playoff appearances in all four years but couldn’t put together a deep run. Nashville is currently 10th in the Eastern Conference and Rumba Munthali will serve as the club’s interim head coach while the club searches for a new permanent coach.

Charlotte FC Transfers Enzo Copetti Out

Another Designated Player is leaving Charlotte FC, as the club transferred Enzo Copetti to Rosario Central in Argentina’s top flight. The forward recorded eight goals and three assists across all competitions while with Charlotte, and has played less than 500 minutes this season. Copetti is the latest Designated Player transferred out since Dean Smith took over as Charlotte’s head coach, with Kamil Jozwiak sent to Granada and Karol Swiderski loaned to Hellas Verona. Despite the turnover, Charlotte sits fifth in the Eastern Conference and could make some noise this season if it brings in the right players in the summer transfer window.

Free Kicks

  • Former Lion Miguel Gallardo spoke with the folks over at The Blazing Musket about the New England Revolution and the art of goalkeeping.
  • Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Derek Sanderson, who played for many teams across many leagues back in the 1980s, including the American Soccer League’s Orlando Lions.

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/16/24

Orlando City draws with Inter Miami, Orlando City B loses in Ohio, Austin awarded 2025 MLS All-Star Game, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

I hope you’re all having a nice and easy start to your Thursday morning. Orlando City’s match Wednesday night could’ve gone worse, but could’ve gone better as well. As far as rivalry games go, it probably won’t be all too memorable, but I still hope you enjoyed yourself if you went to the game. Let’s dive into today’s links!

Orlando City Draws Inter Miami at Home

The Lions hosted rival Inter Miami and had to settle for a scoreless draw that featured solid chances for both sides. Orlando remains shorthanded defensively, but Pedro Gallese and the back line of Rodrigo Schlegel, Wilder Cartagena, and David Brekalo did well to get a clean sheet against a Miami side that leads the league in goals by a wide margin. Familiar attacking struggles plagued the Lions though with many chances going unfinished. The Lions will now turn their attention to a trip across the country for a match with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

Orlando City B Falls On the Road

After earning its first home win last week, Orlando City B was handed its first road defeat of the season in a 4-3 loss against Columbus Crew 2. OCB was without Yutaro Tsukada, who made his debut with the first team, but the team still did well generating chances on offense. The Young Lions took the lead on two different occasions in the match, but they ultimately couldn’t hold on for a result in a rollercoaster of a match. There’s plenty of time for Head Coach Manuel Goldberg to get his team ready for its next match, which is set to take place at Osceola County Stadium on May 26 against Huntsville City FC.

Orlando City Fined After Match in Philadelphia

Following Orlando City’s win over the Philadelphia Union, the club and Head Coach Oscar Pareja have been issued fines by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for the team violating the mass confrontation policy for the second time this season. The violation took place in the 86th minute at Philadelphia, when the Union were awarded their second penalty of the game. Gallese, Nicolas Lodeiro, Ivan Angulo, and Duncan McGuire were issued fines for their role in things as well.

Luis Muriel was also fined an undisclosed amount for embellishment during an incident with Damion Lowe in the 81st minute of the match. You can judge for yourself if the MLS Disciplinary Committee got it right, but what’s not up for debate is that the Lions got the job done on the road and survived an obscene amount of stoppage time.

Austin Will Host 2025 MLS All-Star Game

MLS announced that next year’s MLS All-Star Game will take place at Q2 Stadium in Austin. It will be the first time the event is held there and the first time Texas has hosted it since Houston had it back in 2010. The official date, along with what team the MLS All-Stars will play against, will be announced at a later time. Austin FC entered the league in 2021 and every game played at Q2 Stadium has sold out. There is a strong soccer community there, and I’m glad it will get a chance to show the league what it is all about. I also really like the graphic promoting the event and feel it captures Austin fairly well.

Free Kicks

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/15/24

Tropic Thunder is tonight, OCB plays away today, Americans playing abroad, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to Wednesday Mane Landers. The next installment of the Tropic Thunder rivalry between the good guys (Orlando City) and the bad guys (Inter Miami) is tonight. I hope you can make it out to the match since there will probably be a bunch of Lionel Messi fans there and more purple in the stands is needed. To get ready for the match, you can listen to the latest edition of The Mane Land PawedCast, and check out our match preview later today . For now, let’s get to the links.

Lions Host Tropic Thunder Tonight

I don’t know why others insist on calling matches between Orlando City and Inter Miami the “Florida Derby.” Our name for the match — Tropic Thunder — is just so much better. Regardless, the Lions host the Herons tonight at Inter&Co Stadium looking to avenge the 5-0 loss from earlier in the season. The spotlight might be on Miami, but the pressure is on Orlando City. The Lions surprised me with their win over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. Let’s hope the club can keep the momentum going.

Miami May Be Without Messi Today

While I never want anyone to get seriously injured, I’m not sorry to hear that there is a chance Messi will be unavailable for tonight’s match. It seems that Miami’s magician picked up a minor knee injury in the match against CF Montreal on Saturday. Say what you want, but he is a competitor and could still take the field tonight. Hopefully, he remembers the welcome Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena gave him when he joined the league and decides it’s not worth aggravating the knee.

OCB Back in Action On the Road

The senior squad isn’t the only team playing today as Orlando City B is in Ohio to take on Columbus Crew II at Field. You’ll need to take a long lunch to watch this one because kickoff is set for noon. There will be plenty to watch since the two clubs are only separated by one point in the standings, with OCB sitting in sixth place (3-2-3, 13 points) and Crew II in eighth place (3-3-2, 12 points).

Keeping Up With Americans Abroad

Most of us know that Christian Pulisic had a great season with AC Milan after moving to the Serie A club from Chelsea. What I did not know is that Pulisic is the first AC Milan midfielder to score more than 10 goals in a season since former Orlando City star Kaká did it when he was there.

Things are not as bright for Giovanni Reyna at Nottingham Forest. He hasn’t played a ton of minutes for the Premier League side and hasn’t done much when he has played. It was a loan without a purchase option, but Forest is reportedly not interested in making an offer for him regardless.

Free Kicks

  • Let’s all give a big congratulations to Orlando City Vice President of Soccer Operations and Technical Director Ricardo Moreira. He was accepted into the third edition of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management.
  • We believe once a Lion, always a Lion, but I didn’t know MLS thought the same thing. Richie Laryea getting the biggest suspension is on brand for anyone related to Orlando City.

That will do it for today. Let’s hope that the Lions can get a second win in a row. Vamos Orlando!

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