Lion Links

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!


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