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Lion Links: 11/29/21



How’s it going, Mane Landers? It’s the last Monday of November as December is just around the corner. It feels like I doubled my weight after this holiday weekend filled with food and lazing around watching sports. I’m out of leftovers, so a grocery trip is definitely the first thing on my to-do list. But enough about my errands, let’s dive into today’s links!

Philadelphia Union and Real Salt Lake Advance

The Philadelphia Union booked their ticket to the Eastern Conference final after beating Nashville SC in a penalty shootout. The game itself finished even at 1-1 as Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar scored in the 38th minute before Daniel Gazdag equalized right before halftime. In the shootout, Union goalkeeper Andre Blake denied Mukhtar and Aníbal Godoy as Nashville failed to convert any of its attempts. After this solid performance, the Union will take on the winner of tomorrow’s match between the New England Revolution and New York City FC.

Real Salt Lake went on the road and won 2-1 against Sporting Kansas City to advance to the Western Conference final. Johnny Russell gave Kansas City a lead after converting a penalty in the 24th minute, but RSL fought back in the second half. Anderson Julio scored an equalizer in the 72nd minute and then former Lion Justin Meram found Bobby Wood in stoppage time for the game winner. RSL will now head to Providence Park to take on the Portland Timbers.

USWNT Prepares for 2021 Finale in Australia

The United States Women’s National Team will play its final game of 2021 in Newcastle against Australia. The game is set for 4:05 a.m. tomorrow morning, meaning you will either need to stay up very late tonight or wake up very early in order to catch some of the game. The USWNT did well in a 3-0 victory against Australia on Friday night, with Ashley Hatch, Rose Lavelle, and Lindsey Horan all finding the back of the net. Pride midfielder Emily van Egmond and the rest of Australia’s offense will aim for a better performance in front of their home fans after being shut out. It will be interesting to see how much rotation will be done for the USWNT roster, but it seems USWNT Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski will still be without two of his phenoms.

Orange County SC Wins USL Championship Title

In front of a sellout crowd at Al Lang Stadium in Tampa, Orange County SC won 3-1 against the Tampa Bay Rowdies to claim its first USL Championship title. Haitian forward Ronaldo Damus stole the show by scoring a brace in the first half for Orange County. Former Lion Dillon Powers also started for Orange County and played all 90 minutes, helping defensively in the midfield with three tackles, three clearances, and two interceptions. For the Rowdies, it was a disappointing ending to an otherwise stellar season as they missed a penalty and couldn’t complete their comeback in the second half.

In other USL news, there could be a major change to future seasons.

If that comes to pass, it would give MLS fans additional soccer to watch during the off-season. Orlando City loaned three players to the USL Championship this past season to help them develop. If the USL changes to a winter season, it could result in more young MLS players going on loan for minutes during the off-season. USL President Jake Edwards also spoke to ESPN about how the league and its players are gaining European interest as the USL grows.

Europe’s Biggest Clubs Earn Results This Weekend

After missing over five weeks due to injury, Erling Haaland scored just seven minutes into his return for Borussia Dortmund. The Norwegian forward’s goal put a bow on Dortmund’s 3-1 comeback win over Wolfsburg and he can help his club overtake Bayern Munich for the top spot in the Bundesliga when they meet this Saturday.

In the English Premier League, Cristiano Ronaldo was an unused substitute as Manchester United drew 1-1 with Chelsea. The result helped Manchester City and Liverpool close the gap at the top of the table after they both won this weekend. Leicester City and Brentford also picked up important wins while Newcastle United remained at the bottom of the table after a 2-0 loss to Arsenal.

Sergio Ramos made his debut and Lionel Messi bagged three assists in Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-1 win over Saint-Etienne, but Neymar had to leave the game on a stretcher after an ankle injury. La Liga’s biggest clubs had nice weekends as Atletico Madrid, FC Barcelona, and Real Madrid all won. In Italy, Napoli returned to its winning form with a 4-0 victory against Lazio on the first anniversary of Diego Maradona’s death.

Free Kicks

  • Pride midfielder Marta came on as a substitute in Brazil’s 4-1 win against Venezuela. Debinha had a goal and two assists to help Brazil overcome an early goal from Venezuela in the third minute.
  • Carli Lloyd spoke about how she’s adjusting to retirement after a playing career that demanded plenty of training and focus. The 39-year-old also stated that she wants to stay involved in the game when choosing the next step of her career.
  • Tests done on Weston McKennie determined that there were no capsule ligament injuries to his knee, although Juventus will keep a close eye on his condition.
  • If this leak for the United States Men’s National Team’s home jersey next year is true, it would be fairly lackluster in my opinion.

  • A pair of Tottenham Hotspur fans made a 31-hour trip from Dallas to Burnley only for the game to be postponed an hour before kickoff due to a blizzard. Tottenham striker Harry Kane heard about the Americans’ journey and made a nice gesture through Twitter.

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

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/26/23

Pedro Gallese honored, Orlando Pride and Lions celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Campeones Cup preview, and more.



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, which are 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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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/25/23

Orlando City draws with Inter Miami, Viviana Villacorta out for the season, OCB wins last game of the regular season, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Last night’s Orlando City match wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst either. It’s a pretty fitting feeling on a Monday, as we all get back into the swing of the work week after a nice weekend of soccer. There are plenty of ups and downs from a rollercoaster Sunday, so let’s dive right into today’s links!

Orlando City Draws With Inter Miami

In the latest edition of the Tropic Thunder rivalry, Orlando City and Inter Miami split the points at Exploria Stadium in a 1-1 result. Miami struck first, but the Lions did well to find an equalizer, even though they couldn’t find a winner in the end. It wasn’t Orlando’s best game by any means, but it was a decent response to a 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC. Orlando now has 51 points, tying its club record for the most points in a season, set in 2021. The Lions will have a chance to break that record on Saturday when they host CF Montreal.

Viviana Villacorta Out for the Season

Orlando Pride midfielder Viviana Villacorta will miss the remainder of the NWSL season after suffering an ACL tear in her left knee during training. The 24-year-old was selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, but was not able to make her debut until 2022 due to sustained an ACL tear in her right knee that kept her out for all of the 2021 season. This year, she has 21 appearances across all competitions for the Pride and notched the first assist of her career in a big road win against the San Diego Wave on April 29. This is a tough blow to the Pride’s midfield with just three games remaining as she has ended her season early due to injury for the third straight year. The Pride are only a point out of a playoff spot and are back in action on Oct. 2 against Angel City FC.

Orlando City B Wins On Decision Day

On the final day of the MLS NEXT Pro regular season, Orlando City B won 2-1 at home over FC Cincinnati 2. The Young Lions had already clinched a spot in the postseason heading into this match, but the win secured their spot as the fifth seed. Jack Lynn briefly held the Golden Boot lead after scoring, but ended up tied at 19 goals with New York City FC II’s Matt Myers and Colorado Rapids 2’s Remi Cabral. The trio ended in a three-way tie for the league’s Golden Boot honors. OCB will hit the road for its first MLS NEXT Pro playoff game, although the opponent is not yet known thanks to the new rule where higher seeds choose which team they want to face.

USWNT Wins in Megan Rapinoe’s Final Match

The United States Women’s National Team beat South Africa in a 2-0 win at Soldier Field. Trinity Rodman and Emily Sonnett scored and the defense did well to secure its second shutout against South Africa after a 3-0 win this past Thursday. This game also marked forward Megan Rapinoe’s final game with the USWNT, with the 38-year-old subbed off for the last time in the 54th minute. These were solid wins from the USWNT following the World Cup and it will aim to keep the momentum rolling next month in a pair of friendlies against Colombia.

Free Kicks

  • Three Orlando City academy sides came up with shutout victories this weekend.
  • Before the USWNT’s friendly with South Africa, U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Matt Crocker stated that plans remain in place for a new head coach to be at the helm in time for the training camp in December
  • American midfielder Yunus Musah did well in his AC Milan debut, playing all 90 minutes in a 1-0 win over Verona.
  • A match in the Netherlands between Ajax and Feyenoord had to be abandoned due to fans throwing fireworks onto the field while Feyenoord led 3-0. According to police, tear gas had to be used to stop unrest outside the stadium after the match, and Ajax later fired Sven Mislintat, its director of soccer.
  • Newcastle became the first English Premier League team to have eight different players score in a match after crushing Sheffield United, 8-0.
  • Atletico Madrid ended Real Madrid’s perfect start to the season by beating its rival 3-1, with Alvaro Morata bagging a brace.

That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have an easy Monday and rest of your week!

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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.

Free Kicks

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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