Happy-ish Tuesday, everyone. It wasn’t the weekend we were hoping for as Orlando City B was the only one of the club’s three major teams to record a victory (well, a shootout victory after a draw, anyway), but a new week provides a chance to keep moving forward. There’s plenty to discuss today, so let’s get into it.
Alexandre Pato Up for Goal of the Week
Alexandre Pato has been nominated for the most recent edition of the Goal of the Week for the volleyed opener he notched in Orlando City’s loss over the weekend to LAFC. Pato got Orlando City on the board in the 36th minute with a sublime volleyed strike after Ercan Kara headed a chipped entry ball back across the box. The Duck did everything right as he was patient enough to let the ball drop and his technique was flawless to smash it low into the far corner. Make sure you cast your vote before the polling closes, and here’s to Pato keeping up the form that he’s started the season with.
Concacaf Nations League Draw
The Concacaf Nations League draw is in the books, and that means the United States Men’s National Team knows what teams it will face in group stage play of the upcoming competition. One of those two teams is an extremely familiar face in El Salvador, which the USMNT faced twice in Octagonal play during qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. The other team, Granada, is a bit less familiar. The USMNT will play each team twice — once at home and once on the road — with games starting in June of this year and finishing in March of 2023. Mexico, Suriname, and Jamaica were drawn into group A; Costa Rica, Panama, and Martinique compose group B; and Canada, Honduras, and Curacao are in group C, while the U.S. will play in group D.
Tax-Break Package Favors Orlando in 2026
The city of Orlando may have just gotten a leg up when it comes to being awarded hosting duties for the 2026 World Cup. Florida lawmakers just approved a tax-cut package that includes a sales-tax abatement on tickets for the World Cup. The tax cut is similar to one that’s already in place for tickets for NFL, NBA, and NHL games and might make both Orlando and Miami more attractive when it comes to being awarded hosting duties. We should know whether or not that’s the case sooner rather than later, as it’s previously been rumored that FIFA might make a decision on host cities sometime in the next couple months.
Infantino Exploring Other Tournament Options
The rather maligned proposal of a biennial World Cup seems to be dead in the water for now, but FIFA president Gianni Infantino is busy brainstorming tweaks to existing tournaments, and workshopping the creation of new competitions altogether. One idea gaining steam is an expanded Club World Cup. It’s reported to be likely that a 32-team version of the competition will be agreed upon in the next few months and could begin as soon as 2025. Another competition being kicked around is an expanded version of the now-defunct Confederations Cup, or a global version of the Nations League. Whether or not any of those things will come to fruition is difficult to say, but don’t think Infantino is resting on his laurels.
- Orlando City dropped a spot to 19th in the latest edition of ESPN.com’s MLS power rankings.
- Freiburg has appealed the team’s 4-1 defeat to Bayern Munich over the weekend after the Bavarians played several seconds with 12 men on the field due to a substitution mix-up.
- Get up to speed on the schedule for the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League, which is set to take place this week.
That does it for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.
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.
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.
- 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!
Lion Links: 9/23/22
Lions and Herons meet again, Carly Nelson is writing a book, NWSL free agency opens, and more.
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.
- FC Cincinnati has signed its captain Luciano Acosta to a contract extension through the 2026 MLS season with an option for 2027.
- For the third-straight vote, an Inter Miami player has Goal of the Matchday honors as Robert Taylor got 44.5% of the vote for Matchday 33.
- FC Cincinnati wingback Álvaro Barreal has been nominated for the 2023 FIFA Púskas Award and is only the second-ever MLS player to earn a nomination after Zlatan Ibrahimovic became the first in 2019 with the LA Galaxy.
- The United States, Mexico, and Canada are joining forces to tackle any “collusive schemes” involving goods or services connected to the 2026 FIFA World Cup in an effort to avoid exploitation of the major event.
- Athletico Paranaense’s18-year-old Vitor Roque has likely played his last game for the club before his move to Barcelona after the striker has reportedly torn ligaments in his right ankle.
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!
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.
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.
- Enjoy the sights and sounds from the Orlando City Foundation’s annual celebrity golf and footgolf tournament.
- Borussia Dortmund reportedly has no interest in signing Jadon Sancho from Manchester United. The 23-year-old spent four years with the German club before making the move to United in 2021.
- American defender Mark McKenzie scored a late equalizer in Genk’s 2-2 draw with Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League.
- Xavi Hernandez has reportedly signed a one-year contract extension with Barcelona.
- Here’s an interesting look into the shortage of referees in Europe and how abuse at the youth levels may be to blame.
That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!
Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Five Takeaways
Lion Links: 9/25/23
Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Final Score 1-1 as McGuire’s Goal Lifts Lions to Home Point
Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, and More
Orlando City B vs. FC Cincinnati 2: Final Score 2-1 as OCB Clinches Fifth in Eastern Conference with Home Win
Orlando City at New York City FC: Five Takeaways
Orlando City1 day ago
Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, and More
Orlando City1 week ago
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Five Takeaways
Orlando City1 week ago
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Final Score 4-3 as Lions’ Comeback Extends Unbeaten Run to Six
Orlando City1 week ago
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Player Grades and Man of the Match
Orlando City1 week ago
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew SC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, and More
Orlando City2 weeks ago
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Three Keys to Victory
Orlando City5 days ago
Orlando City vs. New York City FC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, and More
Orlando City6 days ago
Orlando City vs. New York City FC: Intelligence Report