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Lion Links: 3/16/22



How’s it going, Mane Landers? We’re officially halfway through the work week and the weekend can’t get here soon enough. I’m headed on vacation to Boston this weekend to enjoy lobster rolls and good company. Call me crazy, but I’m also looking forward to reading a book with some coffee at the airport since it’s been some time since I’ve gone on a trip. But for now, I’m excited to bring you these links from around the soccer world!

Orlando City Prepares for the LA Galaxy

After a 2-1 loss at home to FC Cincinnati, Orlando City heads west to take on the LA Galaxy this Saturday. The Galaxy are also coming off of a defeat, falling 3-2 on the road to the Seattle Sounders. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Douglas Costa both scored in that match and are dangerous threats in the Galaxy’s attack alongside 19-year-old midfielder Efrain Alvarez.

It will be the first meeting between these two teams since 2019, when the Galaxy came to Exploria Stadium and left with all three points in a 1-0 victory. The last time the Lions played the Galaxy in Los Angeles was in 2018, when they fell 4-3 in a game that featured a hat trick from Zlatan Ibrahimović. This will be the first of two consecutive road trips out west for the Lions as they face the Portland Timbers on March 27.

Orlando Pride Announce Opening Day Roster

The Orlando Pride return to competitive action this weekend and the team announced its 26-player roster. While the team experienced significant turnover during the off-season, 16 players are returning from the 2021 season. Marta, Sydney Leroux, and Erin McLeod are a few of the notable players back with the Pride this season. There are 10 new players on the roster, including defender Megan Montefusco, forward Darian Jenkins, and recent draft picks such as Mikayla Cluff and Caitlin Cosme. Also, Carrie Lawrence, Kaylie Collins, Kerry Abello, and Parker Roberts are all on the Pride’s Supplemental Roster and their salaries won’t count against the team’s salary cap.

NWSL Challenge Cup Begins This Weekend

SBNation’s All For Xi gave a breakdown of what to expect in the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup. The tournament kicks off this Friday as Racing Louisville hosts Kansas City before the Portland Thorns and OL Reign square off in Seattle. The Pride’s first game will be on Saturday in Exploria Stadium against the NWSL defending champion Washington Spirit. It’s a difficult group for the Pride as they will also have to play NJ/NY Gotham FC and the North Carolina Courage during the tournament.

The Pride are in a rebuilding stage and placed last in CBS Sports’ first NWSL power rankings of the year. While Orlando isn’t expected to compete for the top spot in the group, the tournament will still be a great chance for Head Coach Amanda Cromwell to see the players in competitive matches before the regular season. Austin David provided an update on which players participated in the Pride’s training.

MLS Clubs Aim for Champions League Semifinals

New York City FC advanced to the Concacaf Champions League semifinals by the skin of its teeth after a 4-2 loss in Guatemala against Comunicaciones FC. NYCFC took a 2-1 lead after a goal from Talles Magno in the 51st minute and Ronny Deila made four substitutions soon after. Comunicaciones then rallied for three goals, but NYCFC ended up advancing on aggregate due to scoring more away goals. It will face the winner between the Seattle Sounders and Club Leon. While NYCFC’s place in the next round is secured, the result was a warning sign for the other MLS clubs remaining in the tournament.

The New England Revolution have a 3-0 lead over Pumas UNAM. If the Revs score just one goal on the road, then Pumas will have to score at least five to advance. But New England Head Coach Bruce Arena is expecting a different kind of match tonight in Mexico than in the first leg.

“Weather conditions, last game was snowing and probably 30 degrees in Foxborough,” Arena said. “Here, it’ll probably be 65 degrees at kickoff on a good field and probably a good crowd, entirely different from the scene we saw in Foxborough. Their tactics are going to change. They’re down three goals in the competition, so they’ll be very aggressive and certainly in attack mode.”

CF Montreal is the only MLS side to fall in the first leg of its quarterfinal, although a 1-0 loss on the road against Cruz Azul is far from terrible. The Canadian club faced a similar deficit in the previous round against Santos Laguna before winning 3-0 at home to reach the quarterfinals. Montreal will hope for a similar reversal in tonight’s match.

Free Kicks

  • No team fell further in this week’s MLS power rankings than Orlando City, which dropped eight spots to 19th.
  • Former Orlando Pride defender Ally Haran was named Canberra United’s Player of the Year.

  • The Columbus Crew are reportedly open to trading forward Gyasi Zardes. The Designated Player hasn’t started in any of the Crew’s three games this season.
  • Manchester United was eliminated from the UEFA Champions League after a 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid. Meanwhile, Benfica was able to hold on for a 1-0 win against Ajax to reach the quarterfinals.
  • United’s loss means Ronaldo will end a season without a club trophy for the first time since 2010. The Portuguese forward also became the player with the most minutes played in the Champions League.

That’s all I have for you today. Have a wonderful rest of your week and stay safe out there. Go Orlando!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/24/24

Orlando City and Orlando Pride power rankings, USMNT player news, USWNT will host Costa Rica, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. It’s that time of the week for some tasty links. Two seven-point weekends for Orlando’s soccer teams is nothing to sneeze at, unlike the pollen that coats my hometown of Tallahassee. It’s the time of the year that I make my money back with the unlimited car wash next to my work. Enough with my weather-related car issues, let’s get to the links.

Lions Move Up (and Down) in Power Rankings

There’s nothing that shows the value of “power rankings” better than when you can compare two different ranking lists for the same week for any given club. We all know Orlando City is undefeated in its last four matches thanks to the late heroics of Ivan Angulo to draw CF Montreal over the weekend. But, did you know that was both good and bad?

In ESPN‘s MLS power rankings, Orlando City dropped a spot from 16th to 17th despite “treading water” with a point on the road in Montreal. Meanwhile, the Lions roared ahead three spots from 21st to 18th in’s power rankings. So, do you like that Orlando is 17th in the ESPN piece despite the drop? Or do you prefer the positivity of a three-spot jump to 18th in the rankings?

Orlando Pride Rise in Power Rankings

Forget everything I wrote up there regarding power rankings — at least as far as the Orlando Pride are concerned. After starting the season with three draws, the Pride now have two wins in a row. As such, ESPN moved the Pride up three spots from eighth to fifth in its NWSL power rankings. Their move up the list is entirely deserved and the writer was correct in their assessment. Of course, I’m kidding but it’s still nice to see the Pride get recognized for their results. Now, we just need the Pride to continue the winning streak.

Keeping Up With USMNT Players Abroad

As we shared yesterday, Sergino Dest will likely miss this summer’s Copa America thanks to a knee injury suffered during PSV Eindhoven training. That means the USMNT has a right back situation to address and there are quite a few well known candidates to step in for Dest.

Meanwhile, Weston McKennie has reportedly rejected Juventus’ latest extension offer. I can understand his decision given it doesn’t include any additional salary. McKennie has been very good for Juve, with 10 assists on the season. He’s not the only American making a difference, as Tim Weah provided the assist on Arkadiusz Milik’s goal to send Juventus to the Coppa Italia final.

USWNT Olympic Send-Off Match

The United States Women’s National Team will play a match against Costa Rica at Audi Field on July 16. It will be the final match for the USWNT prior to the Olympics that start nine days later against Zambia. New coach Emma Hayes will join the team on June 1, which isn’t a ton of time before the Olympics start, but she has been a part of the process for months.

Free Kicks

  • The New England Revolution have acquired veteran defender Xavier Arreaga from the Seattle Sounders for a 2025 international roster slot, and up to $75,000 in General Allocation Money depending on performance.
  • Inter Miami’s Jordi Alba will be out for several weeks due to a hamstring injury. Fortunately, he is expected to be back in time for the match against Orlando City on May 15. Where did I put the sarcasm font?

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the Pride’s match against the Washington Spirit this Friday, and Orlando City’s match against Toronto FC on Saturday. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/23/24

Ivan Angulo makes Team of the Matchday bench, Americans in action, Sergino Dest to miss Copa America, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It was an excellent weekend for Orlando’s soccer teams, as the three sides took seven of the nine points on offer. There’s no rest for the wicked this week as the Orlando Pride travel to play the Washington Spirit on Friday, Orlando City hosts Toronto FC on Saturday, and Orlando City B finishes things up at home against Toronto FC II on Sunday. Let’s take a look at today’s links.

Ivan Angulo Earns Recognition

Ivan Angulo has been named to the bench of the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday. The Colombian got the start on Saturday up in Montreal, and had a good game, going the distance and completing 82% of his passes and putting one of his two shots on target. That shot was an important one, as it gave the Lions a late equalizer and helped them salvage a valuable point on the road. Sean Rollins gave him a grade of 6 in his player grades from the match, a rating that likely would have been higher had Martin Ojeda’s pass been accurate enough to allow Angulo to grab a possible winner just a few minutes after he equalized. Here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Americans in Midweek Action

There are a number of Americans taking part in big games this week, and the good people over at Stars and Stripes FC have you covered with the whole rundown. First up, Weston McKennie, Tim Weah, and Juventus will try to advance to the Coppa Italia final this afternoon, as they enter the second leg of the semifinal against Lazio with a 2-0 lead on aggregate. Tomorrow sees Monaco and Folarin Balogun meet Lille in Ligue 1 action, while Chris Richards and Crystal Palace host Newcastle United in the Premier League. Things wrap up on Friday in Serie B when Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessman, and third-place Venezia face Cremonese as they try to overtake Como and finish in one of Serie B’s two guaranteed promotion places.

Sergino Dest Sidelined Long Term

Following up on a story from yesterday’s Lion Links, The Athletic is reporting that the knee injury suffered by Sergino Dest will keep him out of Copa America, and sideline him for the rest of the year. That would be a big blow for the United States Men’s National Team, as Dest has been the nailed-on starter at right back since winning a place in the team during the qualifying cycle for the 2022 World Cup. The Yanks aren’t without options at the position, as Joe Scally could step in for Dest, or Gregg Berhalter could try deploying Weah there, but neither of the two possesses Dest’s level of offensive threat.

Inter Milan Wins Serie A

Inter Milan dispatched rival AC Milan 2-1 guaranteed that Inter will win its 20th Serie A title in club history. Fikayo Tomori’s goal in the 80th minute was the closest Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah’s club could get to leveling the score, and Inter is now a whopping 17 points clear of AC Milan with five games left to play. Inter has been imperious on its way to a 20th Scudetto, scoring the most goals in the league while also conceding the fewest and losing only once this season.

Free Kicks

  • The Orlando Pride and Orlando City hosted a clean-up effort in honor of Earth Day on Monday.

That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/22/24

Orlando City draws CF Montreal, Pride and OCB win, FA Cup drama, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. Orlando City drew, while the Pride and OCB both won over the weekend. I had friends in town, so I went to Wrigley Field to check out a Cubs game and show them around Chicago. Let’s wish former Orlando City midfielder Kaka and Pride defender Brianna Martinez a happy birthday! There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Draw at CF Montreal

Orlando City again had to overcome a 2-1 deficit on the road when it faced CF Montreal Saturday night. The Lions needed a late stoppage-time goal from Ivan Angulo to walk out of Stade Saputo with a 2-2 draw. Orlando has now picked up points in each of the last four matches. Orlando City will face CF Montreal again on July 26 in the MLS Leagues Cup during the competition’s group stage. The Lions’ next match will be Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium as it takes on Toronto FC.

Orlando Pride Defeat San Diego Wave

The Orlando Pride shut out the San Diego Wave 1-0 on Friday at Inter&Co Stadium and got their second consecutive win with that same scoreline. Summer Yates scored the lone goal in the first half to seal the win for Orlando. Zambian international striker Barbra Banda made her debut for the Pride, coming off the bench in the second half. The Pride remain undefeated through five league matches and are fifth in the NWSL table with nine points. The team will be on the road to face the Washington Spirit Friday.

OCB Wins on the Road at Crown Legacy FC

Orlando City B got a 2-0 win against Crown Legacy FC at the Sportsplex at Matthews on Friday. Alex Freeman and Shak Mohammed scored for the Young Lions, and Javier Otero made six saves. OCB completed its two-match road trip, securing four out of a possible six points, and has kept its unbeaten streak on the road alive at four matches. OCB is in fifth in the MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference with nine points, while Crown Legacy is winless in five matches. OCB will be back in action this Sunday as it hosts Toronto FC II at Osceola County Stadium.

Manchester United and Manchester City Advance to FA Cup Final

Manchester United won 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw against Coventry City in the FA Cup semifinals to advance to the final. It was a thrilling match at Wembley as United had a 3-0 lead before Coventry City rallied to get back into the match. USMNT forward Haji Wright scored the equalizer to tie the match 3-3 late into stoppage time. Coventry City thought it scored the game-winning goal late into extra time from Victor Torp, but it was ruled offside after video review. Casemiro missed his penalty for United, while Wright and Torp gave Coventry City a 2-1 advantage. United converted four straight penalties while Coventry City missed two to seal the win for the Red Devils. Manchester City edged past Chelsea 1-0 in their semifinal matchup, with Bernardo Silva scoring the lone goal in the second half. The FA Cup final will be played at the end of May and will feature a Manchester Derby for the second consecutive time.

Free Kicks

  • In case you missed it, check out this video on Orlando City’s social media page on Ivan Angulo’s equalizer to tie the match in stoppage time against CF Montreal on Saturday.

According to OptaJack, the Pride have secured the most points at home during the regular season since last May, with 26.

  • USMNT defender Sergino Dest suffered a knee injury during training with PSV Eindhoven over the weekend. Dest will miss the remainder of the Eredivisie season and could miss the 2024 Copa America this summer.
  • Real Madrid came back from being 2-1 down to defeat Barcelona 3-2 and stay ahead of its rivals by 11 points with six league matches left.
  • Bayer Leverkusen extended its unbeaten run to 45 matches after scoring a late goal from Josip Stanisic in stoppage time to get a 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund.
  • Serie A side Udinese is reportedly set to hire former Juventus and Real Madrid player Fabio Cannavaro as its next head coach.

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

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