Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/11/22



Hello, Mane Landers. I hope everyone is doing well after Orlando City’s win last night. I’m excited and hope the Lions can keep this run going in the U.S. Open Cup. There is plenty to cover today so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Reaches the Open Cup Round of 16

Orlando City advanced to the Round of 16 in the U.S. Open Cup with a 2-1 win against the Philadelphia Union. Both teams had their chances in the first half but it was all square, 0-0, at halftime despite the Lions dominating possession. In the second half, Ercan Kara put the Lions in the lead in the 54th minute and Andres Perea scored an absolute rocket from distance just three minutes later. The Union were able to get one back when Stuart Findlay scored to make it 2-1 in the 77th minute. Late in stoppage time, Lions goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar made an excellent save at the death to prevent the equalizer for the Union and secure the win for the Lions. After the match, Stajduhar made another big move and proposed to his girlfriend, Tatiana, on the field.

Five Other Teams Advance in Open Cup

The Lions weren’t the only MLS club in action in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup as there were five other matches last night. The New York Red Bulls were able to shut out D.C. United on the road 3-0, although captain Aaron Long left the match early in the first half with an injury. Inter Miami won 3-1 against USL League One side South Georgia Tormenta FC in a match that featured both teams going down to 10 men in the 65th minute.

FC Dallas scored twice in the first half, but Sporting Kansas City rallied back with a goal from Nikola Vujnović in the 60th minute and an equalizer from Marinos Tzionis deep in stoppage time. SKC added two more goals in extra time to win 4-2 at home and advance to the next round. LAFC cruised to a 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers thanks to goals from Cristian Arango and Mamadou Fall.

In the match between USL Championship sides, Detroit City FC and Louisville City FC went to extra time but the match still finished 1-1 and had to be decided by penalty kicks. Louisville was victorious in the shootout to reach the next round. There will be 10 more Open Cup matches to watch on ESPN+ today, with the Houston Dynamo hosting San Antonio FC, Nashville SC taking on Atlanta United, and the Seattle Sounders facing the San Jose Earthquakes.

Orlando City Soccer School-Seminole Joins Elite 64

Orlando City Soccer School-Seminole will join the U.S. Youth Soccer National League Elite 64. The league will launch this fall and will feature six age groups for the top boys and girls clubs in the country to compete in a 10-month season. Orlando City Boys Technical Director Paul Shaw spoke about the benefits of the young players showcasing their talent on a national stage to develop for playing at the next level.

USMNT Players to Keep an Eye on This Summer’s Tom Bogert shared his insights on the United States Men’s National Team players who may be on the move this summer. RB Salzburg’s Brenden Aaronson has many suitors, including English Premier League side Leeds United. However, Leeds is in a relegation fight and Aaronson may go elsewhere if the club ends up going down to the EFL Championship. Chicago Fire goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina has received attention from clubs in Europe as the 17-year-old continues to earn minutes in MLS.

Tyler Adams hasn’t secured his starting spot with RB Leipzig, only starting 12 of the club's 33 Bundesliga matches. Leipzig may opt for a younger player to fill his role and allow Adams to move on to another club. Sergino Dest and Christian Pulisic have both had their ups and downs with FC Barcelona and Chelsea, respectively, this season and are also players to keep an eye on this summer.

Free Kicks

  • The latest MLS power rankings have been released. The Lions dropped four spots to 15th after their 4-1 loss to CF Montreal this past weekend.
  • The NWSL power rankings were unveiled as well after a second weekend of action. The Orlando Pride moved up to 10th after getting their first win of the season against Angel City FC.
  • UEFA has reached an agreement with its clubs and leagues on revisions for the expanded Champions League format. This will include increasing the number of group stage matches to eight starting in 2024.
  • FIFA and EA Sports were unable to reach an agreement on a new licensing deal and have ended their video game partnership. The popular video game series will be known as EA Sports FC starting in 2023.
  • LA Galaxy defender Jorge Villafaña, who has been dealing with a knee injury, was placed on the season-ending injury list and won’t play for the rest of this season.
  • Inter Milan has a chance at a trophy later today when it faces Juventus in the Coppa Italia final in Rome. You can check out the match at 3 p.m. on Paramount+.

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


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