Connect with us

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/20/22



Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. The Lions will be in action tonight in their U.S. Open Cup third-round match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and I’m looking forward to it. There is plenty to cover today so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Takes On the Rowdies Tonight

The third round of the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup continues at Exploria Stadium tonight as the Lions host the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the I-4 Derby. This will be the first competitive game between the two rivals since 2014. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. and you can watch it on ESPN+. The Rowdies are coming into tonight’s match in good form after defeating FC Tulsa 3-1 this past weekend in the USL Championship, and they are in third place in the USL Eastern Conference with 12 points. One player to keep an eye on is Jake LaCava, who is on loan from the New York Red Bulls and is the Rowdies’ leading scorer with three goals. Orlando City has not lost to the Rowdies going back to 2013. The last time the U.S. Open Cup was played back in 2019, the Lions made it all the way to the semifinals before falling to Atlanta United. If Mauricio Pereyra gets an assist tonight, it will give him the all-time club record across all competitions for Orlando City.

Orlando City to Host Arsenal This Summer in Friendly

Orlando City announced that the club will play a midseason friendly against English Premier League club Arsenal in July. The match will be on July 20 at Exploria Stadium and this will be the first meeting between these two clubs. The last time the Lions faced an English Premier League opponent in a friendly was back in 2016 when the Lions hosted Stoke City in Melbourne. This match will be part of the “FC Series,” which is a national expansion of the Florida Cup, featuring clubs from around the globe. The other match fans in Orlando can check out will be the London Derby on July 23 when Arsenal takes on Chelsea at Camping World Stadium as part of the Florida Cup.

Gaston Gonzalez Injures Knee

You will need a translation for the full details as 20-year-old Argentine winger Gaston Gonzalez injured his knee in Union Santa Fe’s game against San Lorenzo and had to exit the match on a stretcher. This news comes after reports that Orlando City signed the winger as a U22 Initiative signing and that he would join the Lions in early May following discussions between Orlando and Union Santa Fe dating back to December. Medical tests will be conducted to determine the full extent of his injury and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Third Round U.S. Open Cup Action Begins

The third round of the U.S. Open Cup kicked off last night with 11 matches as MLS teams entered the tournament. Union Omaha became the first USL League One team to oust an MLS side in the Open Cup after winning a penalty shootout against the Chicago Fire. The Columbus Crew were also eliminated after Detroit City FC came back from a goal down to win 2-1. All other MLS sides survived their matches though. Inter Miami advanced past Miami FC thanks to a late goal from Leonardo Campana, DC United won 3-0 over Flower City Union, and FC Cincinnati needed extra time to defeat the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2-0. In Texas, FC Dallas beat FC Tulsa 2-1 while Houston Dynamo left back Sam Junqua scored in stoppage time to help his team win 2-1 against the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros. In California, the San Jose Earthquakes cruised to a 5-0 win over Bay Cities FC and the LA Galaxy held on for a 1-0 victory against Landon Donovan’s San Diego Loyal SC.

USWNT Learns Its Group for Concacaf Women’s Championship

The United States Women’s National Team now knows its opponents for the 2022 Concacaf Women’s Championship in Monterrey this summer. The USWNT was drawn into Group A and will face Mexico, Jamaica, and Haiti in the group stage that will begin on either July 4 or July 5. Canada, Costa Rica, Panama, and Trinidad & Tobago were drawn into Group B. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the semifinals and also qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The third-place teams in each group will go to a World Cup playoff that will take place next February. The winner of this tournament will qualify directly to the 2024 Olympics as well.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City remained in seventh place this week in the latest MLS power rankings after winning 2-0 against the Columbus Crew on the road.
  • Orlando forward Tesho Akindele was noted as a player who can make an impact in the U.S. Open Cup.
  • gave a breakdown on which goalkeepers are helping or hurting their MLS teams through seven weeks of the 2022 MLS season. Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese is ranked third among those helping after a strong start to the year.
  • Orlando City winger Facundo Torres was recognized as one of the top young players from this past weekend in MLS.
  • The Attacking Third podcast released its latest NWSL power rankings, placing the Orlando Pride at 11th. Let me know in the comments below if you agree.

  • Former Lion Will Johnson will return to Central Florida Panthers SC for the upcoming 2022 National Premier Soccer League season.

  • U.S. Soccer has appointed former Reading and Chicago Fire assistant coach Marko Mitrović as its new manager of the U.S. U-19 Men’s Youth National Team.
  • Former Lion and current Atlanta United chief scout Jonathan Spector was in Spain to watch Mallorca as Atlanta reportedly aims to acquire USMNT winger Matthew Hoppe.
  • Manchester United and Liverpool fans united to pay tribute to Cristiano Ronaldo following the death of his newborn son. In the seventh minute of their match, supporters sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

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

Lion Links

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.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B / Mark Thor

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.

Free Kicks

  • Enjoy the sights and sounds from the Orlando City Foundation’s annual celebrity golf and footgolf tournament.

That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/21/23

Orlando City clinches playoff berth despite loss, Eastern Conference standings remain close, USWNT plays South Africa tonight, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Last night’s result wasn’t the best outcome by any means, but losing on the road on short rest after a huge win isn’t the worst thing in the world. We’ll just have to shake that loss off and look forward to more soccer while we have it. Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando City B midfielder Imanol Almaguer!

Orlando City Clinch Playoff Spot Despite Loss

The Lions weren’t able to put together a comeback in their 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC. Playing at a narrow Citi Field, Orlando was not able to get much of anything going on offense and was shut out for the first time since July 8. The loss snapped Orlando’s six-game unbeaten streak in MLS play as well. Although the Lions are headed back to Florida emptyhanded, they did qualify for the playoffs due to other results in the league. Orlando will look to right the ship when it hosts Inter Miami this Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

Eastern Conference Remains Tight After Midweek Matches

Orlando wasn’t the only Eastern Conference team to clinch its spot in the playoffs after the latest midweek matches, with the Columbus Crew and Philadelphia Union both qualifying. Cucho Hernandez had a hat trick within the first 23 minutes of the Crew’s 3-0 win at home against the Chicago Fire. A penalty kick in stoppage time by Daniel Gazdag salvaged a point for the Union in a 2-2 draw with Charlotte FC. FC Cincinnati also needed a late equalizer from the penalty spot in its 1-1 draw with CF Montreal. As for how Orlando’s rivals fared, Atlanta United drew 1-1 with D.C. United and Miami beat Toronto FC, 4-0. Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba both exited in the first half and Miami Head Coach Tata Martino stated that neither will play against Orlando this weekend. Of course, that could just be misdirection. We’ll know for certain come Sunday.

USWNT Plays South Africa Tonight

The United States Women’s National Team will play its first match since the World Cup tonight when it faces South Africa tonight at 7:30 p.m. at TQL Stadium. Following Vlatko Andonovski’s departure last month, Twila Kilgore will coach the team for these friendlies. It will also be Julie Ertz’s final game after 10 years of playing for the USWNT. The 31-year-old announced her retirement last month and spoke more about her decision ahead of tonight’s match. After tonight, the USWNT will play South Africa again on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Champions League Group Stage Rolls On

More clubs got their first taste of this year’s Champions League action as the group stage kicked off this week. Arsenal’s campaign got off on the right foot, with a 4-0 win over PSV Eindhoven that put the English club at the top of its group after a 1-1 draw between Sevilla and Lens. Manchester United had a rougher time, falling 4-3 on the road to Bayern Munich. Goalkeeper Andre Onana struggled and blamed himself for the loss. Real Madrid needed a goal from Jude Bellingham in stoppage time to win 1-0 over Union Berlin at home, while Lautaro Martinez scored a late equalizer in Inter Milan’s 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad. Elsewhere, Napoli beat Braga 2-1, RB Leipzig won 2-0 against a Benfica side that was reduced to 10 men early on, and Galatasaray and Copenhagen split the points in a 2-2 result.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you today. Be like a goldfish and enjoy your Thursday!

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/20/23

Orlando City takes on New York City FC tonight, USWNT prepares for friendlies with South Africa, Boston awarded NWSL expansion team, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope you all are excited for another midweek matchup for Orlando City tonight. I’ve been busy covering high school football, golf, and soccer this week and will be back working at Wrigley Field this weekend. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Takes On New York City FC Tonight

Orlando City will be on the road tonight at Citi Field as it takes on New York City FC for a midweek matchup. The Lions won in thrilling fashion this past weekend, edging out the Columbus Crew, 4-3. That win was the Lions’ second consecutive win and extended its unbeaten run at Exploria Stadium to 11 matches. The Lions are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 50 points, while NYCFC sits in 12th on 31 points. NYCFC comes into this match off a scoreless draw against the New York Red Bulls. The last time these two sides met was back on May 17 at Exploria Stadium in a 1-1 draw. We could also see former Lion Andres Perea suit up for NYCFC to face his former club tonight. After tonight, the Lions will play Inter Miami on Sunday at Exploria Stadium.

USWNT Prepares to Face South Africa in Friendlies

The United States Women’s National Team will be back in action tomorrow for the first of two friendlies with South Africa. It will be the USWNT’s first match since the 2023 Women’s World Cup. South Africa achieved its best finish at a World Cup in the recent tournament, making it out of the group stage before losing 2-0 to the Netherlands in the round of 16. The roster for South Africa features 19 of the 22 players that participated in the Women’s World Cup, including Racing Louisville’s Thembi Kgatlana. The last time South Africa played the U.S. was back in 2019, losing 3-0 to the USWNT. South Africa is preparing for the 2024 CAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament’s second round next month.

NWSL Will Expand to Boston in 2026

The National Women’s Soccer League officially announced that it will expand in 2026, with Boston becoming the league’s 15th club. NWSL soccer returns to Boston for the first time in six years after its previous club, the Boston Breakers, folded prior to the 2018 season. The club’s ownership group is Boston Unity Soccer Partners, with the core being all women with local ties, including Jennifer Epstein who owns a minority stake in the Boston Celtics. The expansion fee paid to the league was undisclosed, and the ownership group has 95% of its capital being invested by women and 40% from investors of color. The ownership group reportedly plans to invest significant resources into renovating George R. White Stadium in Boston. The ownership group plans to reveal the club’s branding as it gets closer to play in 2026.

UEFA Champions League Roundup

The UEFA Champions League returned with the start of the group stages and plenty of notable matches. Christian Pulisic’s AC Milan played Newcastle United to a scoreless draw at home. Paris Saint-Germain shut out Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in its opener. Manchester City was trailing 1-0 at halftime, but stormed back to beat Red Star Belgrade 3-1. Atletico Madrid was leading 1-0 late into stoppage time before Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel scored the equalizer to help his side escape with a 1-1 draw. FC Barcelona, RB Leipzig, FC Porto, and Feyenoord all won their opening matchups as well. Today’s notable games include Bayern Munich facing Manchester United, Arsenal taking on PSV Eindhoven, and Real Madrid hosting Union Berlin.

Free Kicks

  • The latest MLS Power rankings have been released. Orlando City moved up four spots to second after its comeback win against the Columbus Crew.
  • In case you missed it, check out the sights and sounds as the Lions got another win against a taem from Ohio.
  • Enjoy play-by-play commentator Sergio Ruiz’s reaction when Ramiro Enrique scored the winner for the Lions against the Crew.
  • The Seattle Sounders have teased an announcement on social media about a possible change to their brand next week.

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

Continue Reading