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Lion Links: 10/27/22

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How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope this Thursday finds you well as we make our way through the work week. I haven’t had much time to get any reading or binge watching done, although my roommate has been singing the praises of Andor. If you have any show or book recommendations, feel free to let me know in the comments as I’m always on the hunt. Now, let’s enjoy these links from around the soccer world.

Haley Hanson Re-Signs With the Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride re-signed defender Haley Hanson to a two-year contract that will keep her in Orlando through the 2024 season. The 26-year-old joined the Pride after a trade with the Houston Dash this past August and she made six appearances for the Pride, starting in four games. Able to play at fullback or in the midfield, Hanson’s versatility and five years of experience in the league are important factors for a Pride side undergoing a rebuild.

Orlando City’s Future is Bright

Although the pandemic stalled things at the start, Orlando City’s youth system is making considerable progress. The club’s training ground, where academy players can train under the same roof as the first team, has been a fundamental part of developing young players. Orlando City U-17 Head Coach Javier Carrillo has also been critical to development, especially after receiving his Elite Formation Coaching License in France. Favian Loyola, who was named MVP of the MLS NEXT All-Star Game, credited Carrillo for helping him take his game to the next level. Carrillo guided the U-17 team to an MLS Cup championship in 2021 and the semifinals this past summer. Although this success hasn’t reached Orlando City B in MLS NEXT Pro just yet, Academy Director Marcelo Neveleff has high expectations.

“We want to grab our players’ hands, and take them through [this journey],” said Neveleff. “At the same time, if I take a player and walk them through it, at some point they’re going to have to walk and run on their own. By 2025 or 2026, the idea is that 50-60% of the First Team of Orlando City is composed of Academy players.”

San Diego Wave FC Head Coach and Goalkeeper Win NWSL Awards

The San Diego Wave certainly made a splash in their first year in the NWSL, finishing third in the league standings and reaching the semifinals of the playoffs. As a result of leading an expansion team to the playoffs for the first time in league history, Wave Head Coach Casey Stoney was named NWSL Coach of the Year. Although the club had many players unfamiliar with one another, Stoney helped the team get off to a strong start to the season with four wins in the first five matches. She becomes the second woman to receive the honor, joining OL Reign’s Laura Harvey.

The Wave’s Kailen Sheridan was named NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year as well. Joining the team from NJ/NY Gotham FC via a trade, Sheridan helped the Wave allow just 21 goals this past season. Sheridan had a 75% save percentage and stopped three of the four penalty kicks she faced. Her distribution was also stellar as she led all goalkeepers in successful long balls and even contributed an assist.

FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid Ousted From Champions League

Barcelona is headed to the Europa League for a second straight year after Inter Milan beat Viktoria Plzen 4-0. Its fate already sealed, Barcelona then went out and lost 3-0 to Bayern Munich. Atletico Madrid’s Champions League campaign also came to a close after a 2-2 draw with Bayer Leverkusen. That match had a dramatic finish as Atletico was awarded a penalty after a handball on the final play of the game, but Yannick Carrasco’s penalty was saved. With Sevilla also headed to the Europa League, Real Madrid will be La Liga’s lone representative in the knockout stage.

In Group A, Napoli and Liverpool cruised to 3-0 wins over Rangers and Ajax, respectively. FC Porto advanced to the next round after a convincing 4-0 win against Club Brugge. Tottenham could have claimed its spot in the knockout stage as well, but it drew 1-1 with Sporting CP. It looked as if Harry Kane gave Tottenham a winner in stoppage time, but he was determined to be offside by the finest of margins.

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  • Charlotte FC removed Christian Lattanzio’s interim tag to make him head coach moving forward. Lattanzio’s contract was extended through the 2024 season, with an option for 2025 as well.
  • Sporting Kansas City signed defensive midfielder Nemanja Radoja to a three-year contract. The 29-year-old has 181 appearances in La Liga and will give Kansas City some strength in the center of the field.
  • The Portland Timbers signed Giovanni Savarese to a contract extension that will keep him in Portland through at least 2025, with an additional year as an option.
  • American forward Mia Fishel became the first foreign-born player to win the Liga MX Femenil’s Golden Boot, scoring 17 goals in her first year. Fishel was drafted by the Pride earlier this year, but chose to join Tigres in Mexico instead.
  • A USL League Two team is coming to Sarasota and will begin play next year. The team will host games at Sarasota High School and joins the Southeast Division with Tampa Bay United and The Villages SC.

That’s all I have for you for now. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/29/24

Orlando City faces the Chicago Fire tonight, Kaká to be honored, Pride linked to Grace Chanda, and more.

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Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. It’s match day for Orlando City as the Lions travel to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Fire. Orlando City looks to get back to its winning ways in the midweek matchup and we will have all the coverage you need during the match on our Twitter account, and after the match right here at The Mane Land.

We would also like to wish Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines a very happy birthday! Frankly, it’s the least we can do given everything he has done so far this NWSL season. For now, let’s get to the links.

Lions Prepare for the Fire

Orlando City faces the Chicago Fire tonight at 8:30 p.m. at Soldier Field. The Lions will look to extend a three-match winning streak over the Fire. Facundo Torres has been particularly effective against Chicago, so hopefully he can start scoring some more goals as well. We will have our match preview a little later today.

Kaká to Become First Member of Legends Terrace at Inter&Co Stadium

Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are creating a “Legends Terrace” at Inter&Co Stadium to permanently honor those who have made a lasting impact with either club. Unsurprisingly, the first inductee will be the one and only Kaká. The ceremony will take place following the July 6 match against D.C. United. There will also be a concert featuring Latin performer Jota Quest in the Publix Mane Street Plaza outside the stadium prior to the match.

Orlando Pride Linked With Grace Chanda

Do you like Barbra Banda and what she has done since joining the Pride? Do you find yourself wondering, “got anymore of those Zambian strikers?” Well, it just so happens that the Orlando Pride are reportedly interested in signing Zambian forward Grace Chanda. According to the report, the San Diego Wave, Racing Louisville, and the Pride are all interested in signing Chanda. Given the Pride are serious about contending for a title this season, adding another quality attacker is a good move. Let’s hope the rumor is true.

Pride’s Summer Cup Schedule Adjusted

The Olympics won’t be the only women’s soccer competition this summer, as the inaugural NWSL x LIGA MX Femenil Summer Cup will start on July 19. We have learned that the Orlando Pride match against C.F. Monterrey at Inter&Co Stadium has been moved up from Sunday, July 28 to Saturday, July 27. The move does not affect Orlando City’s schedule, as the Lions play a rare Friday match that week. You can check out more information on the competition here.

Free Kicks

  • I know that there are those who are upset with the Leagues Cup as it definitely impacted the U.S. Open Cup this year. However, if you do decide to go to a match, at least part of the ticket price will go to a good cause.
  • Congratulations to Felipe. That is a lot of matches and we appreciate him being with our beloved Orlando City.
  • Congratulations also go out to Orlando City academy player Camilio Guerrero for earning a call-up to a U.S. U-14 national talent identification camp.
  • USMNT winger Tim Weah is making money moves in the Big Apple.

That will do it for today. We will see you on the other side of the match tonight. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/28/24

Yutaro Tsukada earns recognition, Americans in midweek action, European coaching updates, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you all had a restful holiday weekend, and if you didn’t, then I hope you’re well on the way to recovery. We’ve got an exciting schedule this week, with two Orlando City games before an Orlando City B game on Sunday. It’s also OCB forward Yeiler Valencia’s birthday today, so let’s wish him well and jump into today’s links!

Yutaro Tsukada Earns MLS NEXT Pro Honors

OCB winger Yutaro Tsukada was named MLS NEXT Pro Player of Matchweek 11 for his performance in the team’s 5-0 home win against Huntsville City FC. The 22-year-old provided the assist on OCB’s first goal after using some nice skill on the ball to shake his defender. Tsukada then scored a goal of his own off of a free kick in the second half. The rookie has been electric for the Young Lions this season, recording four goals and four assists so far. Hopefully he can keep the momentum rolling when OCB faces Inter Miami II this Sunday.

Major League Soccer Stock Watch

Every week gives us a better idea of each MLS team’s capabilities, so let’s check in on how things are looking following the latest matchday. LAFC is on a great trajectory, as it’s won three consecutive league games and five straight in all competitions. Elsewhere in the Western Conference, Real Salt Lake scored three goals in the final 30 minutes of play to stretch its unbeaten streak to 11 games, and Cristian Arango didn’t have to do all of the heavy lifting. At the other end of things, the New England Revolution have lost three straight games, and six of their last seven. Likewise, the shine looks to have worn off from St. Louis City’s expansion season, as the team has also lost three straight games and simply doesn’t look the same as last year.

Americans in Midweek Action

With most of the European club seasons having concluded, there aren’t as many United States Men’s National Team players in action during the working week, but there are still some important games to make note of. Chief among those is Venezia’s game against Cremonese on Thursday. Tanner Tessmann, Gianluca Busio and Venezia will take on Cremonese over two legs, with the winner gaining promotion to Serie A. Left back Jonathan Gomez may take the field tomorrow morning in Real Sociedad’s friendly against Tokyo Verde as well.

In a pair of friendlies on Friday, Mexico plays Bolivia and Uruguay takes on Costa Rica. With the USMNT set to face both Bolivia and Uruguay in group play of this summer’s Copa America, the two matches present a good chance to better gauge the Yanks’ opponents.

European Coaching Updates

Several notable European club teams have coaching vacancies to fill this summer, and there are some updates on a few of those positions. Chelsea has reportedly made an approach for Leicester City’s Enzo Maresca, and has requested permission to talk to the manager who guided the Foxes back to the Premier League in his first year with the club. Meanwhile, despite interest from Manchester United, Kieran McKenna is reportedly set to stay at Ipswich Town, and has had talks about extending his contract. Finally, Aston Villa has extended Unai Emery’s contract, with his new deal keeping him at the club until 2029.

Transfer Rumor Roundup

Transfer season is kicking into gear, and we have several rumors to sift through this morning. Up first, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich are reportedly all in hot pursuit of Stade Rennais winger Desire Doue. Casemiro reportedly has a deal lined up with a team in the Saudi Pro League, and may have played his last game for Manchester United. Newly promoted Southampton is reportedly interested in signing Adam Lallana as a free agent. Finally, Paris Saint-Germain is said to have entered the race to sign Bruno Guimaraes, and will face stiff competition from Manchester City and Arsenal.

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That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/27/24

Orlando City loses to the Crew, Pride and OCB win, Southampton seals return to Premier League, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Happy Memorial Day, Mane Landers! I hope you all had a good holiday weekend. I worked at Under Armour all weekend while wrapping up my high school sports coverage for the spring season. It was a mixed weekend for our teams. Orlando City lost, but both the Pride and OCB won their matches. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Lions Lose at Home to Columbus Crew

Orlando City lost 2-0 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium and saw its three-match unbeaten streak end. The match’s first goal was controversial as the referee, Jair Marrufo, initially awarded the Lions a penalty late in the first half but went to the monitor and reviewed a play at the other end of the pitch. He instead awarded Columbus a penalty kick. Diego Rossi scored from the spot to put the Crew ahead 1-0 before halftime. Columbus extended its winning streak to three matches. Orlando has struggled at home, going just 1-3-4 so far this season. The Lions have not scored a goal at home since April 27. Despite the loss, the Lions still remain in 10th in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Next up for Orlando is a pair of road matches this week, starting Wednesday at the Chicago Fire, followed by a Saturday night matchup against the New York Red Bulls. 

Pride Win at Home Over Portland Thorns

The Orlando Pride won their record-setting eighth straight match with a 2-1 victory at Inter&Co Stadium against the Portland Thorns Friday. Barbra Banda scored two goals in the first half to give the Pride a 2-0 lead going into halftime. Portland pulled one back, but the Pride held on for the victory and claimed three points. Orlando remains undefeated in league play after 11 matches, and the Pride stay atop the NWSL table with 27 points. The Pride are off this week but will return to action on the road next Friday, June 7, against the San Diego Wave.

OCB Win at Home against Huntsville City FC

On Sunday, Orlando City B bounced back with a season-high five goals in a 5-0 win over Hunstville City FC at Osceola County Stadium. Jhon Solis, Yutaro Tsukada, and Shak Mohammed put OCB ahead 3-0, while Yeiler Valencia scored his first two OCB goals to seal the win for the Young Lions. OCB is now in sixth in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Meanwhile, Huntsville City FC remains winless through 10 matches and stays at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. OCB’s next match will be on the road Sunday at Inter Miami CF II. 

Southampton Clinches Promotion to Premier League

Southampton booked its return to the Premier League with a 1-0 over Leeds United in the EFL Championship playoff final at Wembley Sunday. Adam Armstrong scored the lone goal in this match as the Saints returned to the top flight after being relegated the previous season. Southampton joins Leicester City and Ipswich Town, securing promotion to the Premier League. Despite finishing third in the table, Leeds’ playoff woes continue as this is the sixth time it missed out on securing promotion and finished its season with only one win out of its last six matches. 

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

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