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Lion Links: 4/8/22

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How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope this Friday finds you well as we get ready for the weekend. I have tomorrow off from work so I’m looking forward to sleeping in, making French toast, and enjoying some reading before Orlando City takes on the Chicago Fire at 1 p.m. But for now, let’s enjoy these links from around the soccer world.

Antonio Carlos Out for Three to Four Months

Orlando City announced that center back Antonio Carlos will not require surgery for a hamstring injury and he will be sidelined for three to four months. Carlos sustained the injury in Orlando’s loss to LAFC this past weekend, exiting the match on a stretcher. It is a tough blow to Orlando’s back line as Carlos may not return to action until August, or possibly even September, but at least he would be available for a playoff push once he returns to game fitness. Rodrigo Schlegel is a solid replacement and will fill in for Carlos, but there’s not much depth at the position beyond 17-year-old Homegrown Player Thomas Williams. Suspensions or further injuries could put Orlando’s defense in a tight spot over the next few months.

Orlando’s Offense Faces a Tough Test Tomorrow

Orlando City’s attack is finding its footing as new players like Facundo Torres and Ercan Kara continue to build chemistry with the team’s other playmakers such as Alexandre Pato, Mauricio Pereyra, and Joao Moutinho. Miguel Gallardo and Evan Weston provided analysis on how Orlando’s attack is coming together as the team prepares for its match tomorrow.

The Fire are one of three MLS teams still undefeated this season, thanks in large part to its defense that has only allowed one goal and 11 shots in five games this season. However, center back and team captain Rafael Czichos is out as he undergoes MLS’s health and safety protocols. Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri is day-to-day due to a calf injury and Fire Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson is exercising caution regarding his return.

“We want to be careful, because he’s a very important player for us,” Hendrickson said. “So, we don’t want to rush that back too soon. We’re monitoring that, and he’s day-to-day right now.”

Shaqiri’s absence would take some of the bite out of a Chicago attack that’s been shut out three times this year, but Polish striker Kacper Przybylko has done well against the Lions in the past.

Orlando City Learns First U.S. Open Cup Opponent Today

With the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup done and dusted, 17 MLS clubs will now join the tournament for the third round and the draw takes place today. Orlando City did well in 2019 as it reached the semifinals in a deep tournament run that included the Running of the Wall as Orlando advanced past New York City FC in a penalty shootout. Orlando Head Coach Oscar Pareja won the U.S. Open Cup in 2016 with an FC Dallas team that included current Lion Tesho Akindele. He also led Dallas to deep runs in 2017 and 2014, so he knows what it takes to find success in the tournament while also managing regular season games.

Orlando will face a lower-division team in its geographic region as the draw aims to limit travel. The Tampa Bay Rowdies and Miami FC are the remaining Floridian clubs from lower divisions while Inter Miami joins the action this round as well. There is plenty to play for as the tournament champion qualifies for the 2023 Concacaf Champions League and wins $300,000 in prize money, along with the U.S. Open Cup trophy.

OCB Faces Inter Miami II on Sunday

Orlando City B’s road match with Inter Miami II this Sunday at 5:30 p.m. will be the MLS NEXT Pro Game of the Week, meaning viewers can enjoy multiple camera angles during the match. It is the first-ever meeting between the two sides and could be the start of a rivalry between the two Floridian clubs. The season is young, but the Young Lions are undefeated with five points from their first two matches. 2022 MLS SuperDraft pick Jack Lynn has two goals and an assist so far this season, while academy product Javier Otero has made 17 saves in goal, and made two big stops in a penalty shootout against New York City FC II. As for Miami, Romeo Beckham (David Beckham’s 19-year-old son) has three assists and can give Orlando issues from set piece situations. It all sets up for an exciting match in Fort Lauderdale so make sure to tune in and lend your support to the Young Lions.

USWNT Gets Ready for Pair of Friendlies

The United States Women’s National Team will take on Uzbekistan tomorrow and Tuesday in a pair of friendlies to prepare for the Concacaf Women’s Championship this summer. Tomorrow’s match will be the first meeting between the U.S. and Uzbekistan and will take place at 5:30 p.m. at Lower.com Field in Columbus. All but two players on the USWNT’s roster play in the National Women’s Soccer League, with Olympique Lyonnais midfielders Catarina Macario and Lindsey Horan as the exceptions. Uzbekistan is coached by former Japanese player Midori Honda and 19 of the players on its roster play in the domestic league while four play in Turkey. Tuesday’s match will be played at Subaru Park in Chester, PA. at 7 p.m.

Europa League Quarterfinals Get Started

Only eight teams remain in the Europa League as the first legs of the quarterfinals got underway. On the road in Germany against Eintracht Frankfurt, FC Barcelona fell behind early in the second half but Ferran Torres equalized with a nice assist from Frenkie de Jong. A second yellow card to Frankfurt defender Tuta opened the door for Barcelona to push for a win but the game ended 1-1. In London, West Ham United had to play the second half a man down after Aaron Cresswell was shown a red card just before halftime in a 1-1 draw against Lyon. The match between RB Leipzig and Atalanta also ended 1-1, but SC Braga was able to win 1-0 over Rangers FC.

Slavia Prague has quietly been lighting it up in the Europa Conference League. The Czech Republic side has scored at least three goals in each of its games during the knockout stage and that trend continued in a 3-3 draw with Feyenoord, with Prague’s Ibrahim Traore equalizing in stoppage time with a backheel. Elsewhere, AS Roma fell 2-1 on the road to Bodo-Glimt, Leicester City and PSV Eindhoven battled to a scoreless draw in England, and Marseille beat PAOK 2-1 in France, thanks to a stunning goal from Dimitri Payet.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando Pride midfielder Gunny Jonsdottir scored a goal as Iceland’s captain in her team’s 5-0 win over Belarus.


That’s all I have for you today! Have a great Friday and make sure to stay hydrated out there.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/20/24

Lions and Pride win, MLS weekend recap, Manchester City wins Premier League title, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. It was another good weekend for our teams, as Orlando City and the Pride both won their respective matches. I’ve been busy covering high school playoff action with soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, and softball. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Pull Out Late Win on the Road

Orlando City pulled out a late 1-0 win on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes at PayPal Park on Saturday. Jack Lynn came off the bench and scored the lone goal in this match for Orlando to grab the three points. Duncan McGuire started the match but had to be substituted out early in the first half due to injury and was replaced by Lynn. The Lions are on a three-match unbeaten streak after a scoreless draw at home against Inter Miami on Wednesday. Orlando City moves up to 10th in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. The Lions return to action on Saturday to face the Columbus Crew at Inter&Co Stadium.

Orlando Pride Win Against Seattle Reign FC

The Orlando Pride won their seventh straight match after a 3-2 win against the Seattle Reign at Lumen Field on Sunday. There were plenty of goals in this one, with Barbra Banda lifting the Pride to their first ever win in Washington against the Reign. Orlando remains undefeated in league play after 10 matches and the Pride sit atop the NWSL table with 24 points. The Pride return home for a Friday night matchup against the Portland Thorns at Inter&Co Stadium.

MLS Weekend Recap

It was another busy weekend in MLS, with four rivalry matches taking place. Let’s start with the Hudson River Derby, as New York City FC edged past the New York Red Bulls 2-1. Real Salt Lake got a thrilling 5-3 win against the Colorado Rapids in the Rocky Mountain Cup. In Canada, Toronto FC cruised past CF Montreal with a 5-1 victory. The Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas battled to a 1-1 draw down in Texas. FC Cincinnati defeated St. Louis City SC 3-1, while the Columbus Crew beat the Chicago Fire 3-1 as well.

The Philadelphia Union shut out the New England Revolution 3-0 to snap its six-match winless streak. Austin FC won 3-2 over Sporting Kansas City, Minnesota United handed the Portland Timbers a 2-1 defeat, and Inter Miami got a late goal from Leonardo Campana for a 1-0 win over D.C. United.

Manchester City Wins English Premier League

Manchester City defeated West Ham 3-1 to win a historic fourth consecutive Premier League title on Sunday with 91 points on the final day of the season. Phil Foden scored twice in this match as Manchester City became the first club to win four straight Premier League trophies. Arsenal defeated Everton 2-1 but ended up short of the title, finishing second with 89 points. Liverpool won in Jurgen Klopp’s final match as manager, beating Wolves 2-0 to finish third. Aston Villa finished fourth despite a 5-0 loss to Crystal Palace, Tottenham finished fifth, and Chelsea finished sixth in the table. Luton Town lost 4-2 at home to Fulham to finish 18th, officially joining Burnley and Sheffield United in being relegated to the EFL Championship next season. 

Free Kicks

  • Former Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner has agreed to a one-year contract extension with Manchester United, with an option for another year. Manchester United won its first major trophy earlier this month, winning the Women’s FA Cup.
  • Former USMNT player Jonathan Bornstein has agreed to play for NPSL side Tallahassee SC in their summer season. He made his debut on Saturday as the Battle Lions won their opener 2-0 against the Miami Dutch Lions FC.
  • According to Tom Bogert, new MLS expansion side San Diego FC is reportedly closer to sealing a move to sign Chucky Lozano over from PSV Eindhoven.
  • Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi announced he will leave the club after its Premier League season ended in a 2-0 loss to Manchester United on Sunday. 
  • Bayer Leverkusen completed its Bundesliga season unbeaten with a 2-1 win over FC Augsburg. The club also made history as the first team in the history of the Bundesliga to complete a full season without a loss. 

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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