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Lion Links: 11/16/22

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Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all of you are doing well down in Florida. I’ve been busy with work lately, but there are only a few days to go before the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando Pride Announce Roster Decisions

The Orlando Pride announced their roster decisions following the 2022 NWSL season. While there were no major surprises, we can expect another rebuilding year next season for the Pride. The Pride picked up the options for Julie Doyle, Gunny Jonsdottir, and Kylie Strom for the 2023 NWSL season. The Pride made new offers to Jordyn Listro, Viviana Villacorta, Celia, Carrie Lawrence, and Courtney Petersen. The club decided not to bring back Thais Reiss, Parker Roberts, and Chelsee Washington, and they will enter the waiver wire. Meggie Dougherty Howard, Toni Pressley, Erika Tymrak, and Marta will be eligible to test NWSL free agency for the first time, but the club is in discussions with all four players about returning to the Pride in 2023. There are 12 Pride players who remain under contract, including Haley Bugeja, Darian Jenkins, Leah Pruitt, Ally Watt, Mikayla Cluff, Kerry Abello, Caitlin Cosme, Haley Hanson, and Megan Montefusco. Goalkeepers Kaylie Collins, Erin McLeod, and Anna Moorhouse also remain under contract.

Pride Sign Ally Watt to a New Contract

The Orlando Pride and Ally Watt agreed to a new contract that will keep her at the club through the 2024 NWSL season. Watt joined the club three months ago when she was acquired in a trade with the OL Reign in exchange for $125,000 in Allocation Money. Watt made six appearances for the Pride after the trade, starting in one match and playing 219 minutes. Watt also scored a goal in her debut but didn’t have any assists for the Pride. She missed the season finale for the Pride due to a wrist injury. The 25-year-old has potential and brings pace up front in the attack. Hopefully, if Watt can stay healthy next season, it can be a huge boost for the Pride offensively.

Kelley O’Hara Signs with Gotham FC

Former Washington Spirit defender Kelley O’Hara announced that she has signed with NJ/NY Gotham FC.

O’Hara makes NWSL history as the first player to sign with a new team via free agency. She previously played with the club from 2013 to 2017 when it was known as Sky Blue FC. O’Hara made 24 appearances for the Spirit and scored the game-winning goal in the 2021 NWSL Championship game to clinch the Spirit their first title. O’Hara will boost a Gotham defense that conceded 46 goals this past season.

Ashlyn Harris Gets a New Gig with Gotham FC

NJ/NY Gotham FC announced that former Orlando Pride and USWNT goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris will move up to the front office in a new role as the club’s global creative advisor. Harris announced her retirement from professional soccer earlier this week. In her new role, Harris will drive collaborations between Gotham FC and brands to steer the club’s artistic direction alongside the marketing team. Harris has experience as a brand ambassador for Adidas and worked as a model for Elite Model Management. Harris also did brand ambassador work and marketing collaboration for Ally Bank, Hertz, and Procter & Gamble.

Potential Breakout Stars to Keep an Eye on at the World Cup

Stars and Stripes FC identified some players who can impress in the World Cup. Almoez Ali has 42 goals in 85 appearances with Qatar and could be the star of the tournament’s first match on Sunday. In Group B, American midfielder Yunus Musah could be crucial for the USMNT to succeed in a group that also includes England’s Jude Bellingham and Welsh midfielder Daniel James. Mexico’s Uriel Antuna, Polish forward Karol Swiderski, and Swiss forward Breel Embolo are a few of the other players to watch in Qatar. It will also be the World Cup debut for Canada’s Alphonso Davies, who will play as a forward for his team.

More MLS Clubs Make Roster Decisions

FC Cincinnati announced that it declined the option of defender Geoff Cameron. New York City FC declined the options on midfielders Matias Pellegrini and Gedion Zelalem, while goalkeeper Sean Johnson is out of contract. Sporting Kansas City re-signed goalkeeper Tim Melia and is working on retaining Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza, and Andreu Fontas as well. The runners-up in this year's MLS Cup final, the Philadelphia Union, picked up the option on Kai Wagner and are conversing with forward Corey Burke and former Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik on returning next season. MLS Cup champion LAFC exercised the options for Kellyn Acosta, Latif Blessing, Mamadou Fall, and goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau.

Free Kicks

  • The NWSL announced that the 2023 NWSL Draft will be held during the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Philadelphia on Jan. 12.
  • France and RB Leipzig star Christopher Nkunku will miss the World Cup after suffering a sprain on his left knee in training less than a week before France's first match against Australia.
  • Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has reportedly informed his bosses that Cristiano Ronaldo should not play for the club again.
  • Some USMNT players shared their memories of dealing with trash talk over the years and goalkeeper Matt Turner mentioned his experience playing against Orlando.


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

Lion Links

Lion Links: 7/15/24

Lion Links: Orlando City tops New England, OCB wins shootout after Miami draw, Euro and Copa America champions crowned, 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. I’ve been working at Under Armour all weekend and managing broadcast operations for tournament matches for the NISA Independent Cup.

Before we get started, let’s wish Orlando Pride defender Carrie Lawrence a happy birthday. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Lions Beat New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium

Orlando City overturned a poor first half and a 1-0 deficit to defeat the New England Revolution 3-1 and secure its first win at Gillette Stadium. All the Lions’ goals came in the second half, as Facundo Torres found the back of the net twice and Ramiro Enrique added one as well. Orlando won its third consecutive game and fourth in its past five matches. Orlando stays in seventh in the Eastern Conference with 30 points, while New England dropped to 13th with 22 points. The Lions will be on the road for a clash against Nashville SC on Wednesday at Geodis Park.

Barbra Banda, Anna Moorhouse named to NWSL Best XI

Orlando Pride forward Barbra Banda and goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse were named to the NWSL’s Best XI for June. Banda scored three goals and added three assists in four matches. She also became the first player in league history to score 12 goals in her first 12 appearances. Moorhouse recorded 20 saves and only allowed one goal last month. She also has seven clean sheets this year and has tied the club record for most clean sheets in a single season. Orlando’s next match will be on the road on Saturday against the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL x Liga MX Femenil Summer Cup.

OCB Draws at Home Against Inter Miami CF II

Orlando City B and Inter Miami CF II battled to a 1-1 draw at Osceola County Stadium on Sunday. Inter Miami CF II struck first, but the Young Lions came up with a great Wilfredo Rivera goal to equalize and send the game to penalty kicks. In the shootout, OCB won 2-0 to grab the extra point. OCB remains 10th in the Eastern Conference with 23 points, and its next match will be on the road on Sunday against New York Red Bulls II.

USWNT Beats Mexico in Friendly

The U.S. Women’s National Team avenged its loss to Mexico in the Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup earlier this year with a 1-0 victory in a friendly at Red Bull Arena on Saturday. Sophia Smith scored the lone goal in the second half. The USWNT has not conceded a goal in its last three matches with Emma Hayes on the sidelines. Also, the USWNT that won the 1999 Women’s World Cup was honored before the match as it was the 25th anniversary. The USWNT will have one more match against Costa Rica on Tuesday before it travels to Paris for the Olympics.

Spain Wins Its Fourth European Championship

Spain edged past England 2-1 in the Euro 2024 final in Berlin to win its fourth European Championship. Nico Willams put Spain in front before Cole Palmer got an equalizer for England. It looked like we were about to go to extra time until Mikel Oyarzabal struck late in the second half to seal the win for Spain. This was Spain’s first major title since winning Euro 2012. Spain won all seven of its matches and is the first team to score 15 goals in a tournament. As for England, it has lost consecutive European Championship finals and extended its major trophy drought to 58 years.

Argentina Wins Copa America Final

This year’s Copa America also came to a close, with Argentina beating Colombia 1-0 to win its 16th title. It took extra time to determine a winner after a scoreless 90 minutes. Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez, who led the tournament in goals, came off the bench and scored the winner. The result snapped Colombia’s 28-game unbeaten streak and it was the first time Colombia was shut out in this tournament. Lionel Messi exited the game in the second half due to an apparent ankle injury as well.

Free Kicks

  • Former Orlando City defender Ruan scored the winning goal for CF Montreal against Atlanta United over the weekend.
  • Kickoff for the 2024 Copa America final was delayed after fans without tickets breached one of the security gates at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium. Police secured the gate, and kickoff for the match was delayed an hour and 20 minutes.
  • Celtic is reportedly close to an agreement to add former Leicester City, Nice, and Anderlecht goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
  • England manager Gareth Southgate stated he would discuss his future with the national team with important people behind the scenes, even though the English FA has indicated it prefers him to stay on. Southgate’s contract expires in December.

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: 7/12/24

Orlando City prepares for the New England Revolution, Summer Yates signs new contract, USWNT faces Mexico on Saturday, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Friday! I’m working for most of the weekend but am still looking forward to a smorgasbord of soccer over the next few days. I’m also hoping to get some reading done, as I’ve fallen a bit behind in my reading goals for the year during this summer. But for now, let’s dive into today’s links from across the soccer world!

Orlando City Prepares for the New England Revolution

The Lions are on the road this weekend for a tough match against the New England Revolution on Saturday. It will be a clash between Eastern Conference teams that have clawed their way back up the table after slow starts to the season. Orlando has won three of its past four games, while the Revolution have won five of their last seven. While Orlando’s offense may be finding its groove this summer, the Lions have never won at Gillette Stadium in the eight games they’ve played there. No team has scored fewer goals this season than New England, which has scored 20 goals in 20 games.

Summer Yates Signs New Contract

The Orlando Pride have signed midfielder Summer Yates to a new contract that will keep her in the City Beautiful through the 2025 season, with an option for 2026. Yates fell farther than expected in the 2023 NWSL Draft and the Pride selected her in the fourth round. It’s proven to be a major steal for the Pride, as Yates has scored four goals in 15 appearances this year. She’s filled the shoes of some of the team’s best attacking midfielders and I’m glad she will be staying in Orlando beyond this year. The Pride also signed Cori Dyke to a new contract earlier this week, so it’s clear the Pride are looking ahead to the future during a historic season.

USWNT Plays Mexico On Saturday

The United States Women’s National Team will play the first of two friendlies before the Olympics when it takes on Mexico on Saturday at Red Bull Arena. The last time these two teams squared off was back in February in the inaugural Concacaf W Gold Cup, with Mexico winning 2-0. That loss raised plenty of eyebrows, but the USWNT went on to win the tournament and hasn’t lost since. The U.S. staff and team that won the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team will also be honored prior to the match for the 25th anniversary. The USWNT will take on Costa Rica on Tuesday in its final game before the Olympics.

Jurgen Klopp Reportedly Declines USMNT Job

There wasn’t much time for fans to get hopeful about reports that U.S. Soccer had reached out to former Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to replace Gregg Berhalter, as more reports surfaced that Klopp turned down interest in the job. It’s not too surprising considering how Klopp has spoken in the past about wanting a break from soccer after leaving Liverpool this year. While I’m obviously interested in who will fill the role, I’m also hoping this search reveals how appealing the job is to other candidates around the world. I don’t think Klopp turning this down particularly means much in the grand scheme of things though, beyond U.S. Soccer doing its due diligence.

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That’s all I have for you this time around. I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and rest of your weekend!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 7/11/24

Cori Dyke signs new contract with Orlando Pride, Barbra Banda leads NWSL MVP race, Gregg Berhalter fired, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

How’s it going, Mane Landers? It’s been a fairly busy week for me, and I’m looking forward to some upcoming time off from work. I’m also looking forward to the conclusion of international tournaments this weekend. It should be a nice next few days. For now, let’s dive into today’s links!

Cori Dyke Signs New Contract With the Pride

The Orlando Pride have signed rookie midfielder Cori Dyke to a new contract through the 2025 season, with an option for 2026 as well. She has found her footing with the team and in the NWSL, making 11 appearances so far this season. The Pride selected her with the No. 22 overall pick of the 2024 NWSL Draft, signing her to a one-year contract back in March. She’s one of many versatile midfielders added this past off-season, and she’s done well providing relief where needed as a substitute.

NWSL MVP Race Heats Up

ESPN‘s Jeff Kassouf updated the rankings of NWSL MVP candidates for this season and Orlando Pride forward Barbra Banda remains at the top. Kansas City forward Temwa Chawinga moved up a spot to second, and she and Banda currently lead the league with 12 goals each. Both players scored on Saturday, and I’m expecting a close MVP and Golden Boot race over the next few months.

Pride defender Emily Sams deservedly moved up in the rankings and is now in seventh. She’s been phenomenal as the anchor of the Pride’s league-leading defense and it’s great to see her garner more recognition as the season goes on. Marta is on the list for the first time this season, ranking 13th for her prominent role in the Pride’s undefeated season so far.

Gregg Berhalter Out as USMNT Head Coach

It’s the end of an era for the United States Men’s National Team, as Gregg Berhalter was relieved of his duties as head coach. This decision comes after a disappointing Copa America run that ended in the group stage after losses to Panama and Uruguay. There’s certainly been success for the USMNT under Berhalter, particularly against Mexico, as he led the team to two Nations League titles and the 2021 Gold Cup trophy. But it never felt like the USMNT was playing to its full potential and could win against the top 10 teams in the world. Hopefully this search for who will replace Berhalter will go better than the last one, and a new coach can come in and take the team to the next level in time for the 2026 World Cup.

England Claims Spot in Euro 2024 Final

This year’s Euro final is set, with Spain and England set to clash in Berlin on Sunday at 3 p.m. England booked its ticket after another dramatic finish in a 2-1 win against the Netherlands. Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins gave England the winning goal in the 90th minute after coming on as a substitute. I would love to know how many minutes England has been in the lead this tournament, as there have been many late comebacks along its path to the final. Meanwhile, Spain has beaten Germany and France en route to the final after winning a group that included Italy and Croatia. The final should be a good one and I’m looking forward to it.

Colombia Holds On to Reach Copa America Final

The Copa America semifinal between Colombia and Uruguay was a tense affair and Colombia won 1-0. James Rodriguez provided his sixth assist of the tournament on the only goal of the game, but the game turned on its head when Daniel Munoz was sent off late in the second half. Colombia then had to spend the entire second half holding onto its lead and survived, despite good chances from Uruguay’s Darwin Nunez and Luis Suarez. There was mayhem after the match, as there was an altercation between fans and Uruguayan players in the stands.

Colombia has now extended its unbeaten streak to 28 games and will take on Argentina in the Copa America final on Sunday at 8 p.m. The last team that beat Colombia? Argentina back in 2022.

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That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic day and rest of your week.

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