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Lion Links: 12/15/22

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How’s it going Mane Landers? I’m starting to feel the time crunch to get so many things done this time of year, but I’m battling the stress with some daily walks and time with friends. It’s still hard to believe that December is nearly halfway over and 2023 is lurking around the corner. Let’s ignore the slow march of time for now and instead dive into today’s links!

NWSL and NWSLPA Joint Investigation Report Released

The final report from a joint investigation unit looking into systemic abuse in the NWSL unveiled further details on misconduct against players in the league. The findings dove into what was uncovered in an investigation conducted by former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, as well as how the NWSL and its clubs contributed to the abuse. NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman did not mince words when addressing the league’s failure.

“This report clearly reflects how our league systemically failed to protect our players,” NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman said in a news release on Wednesday. “[L]et me first and foremost sincerely apologize to our players for those failures and missteps. They deserve, at a minimum, a safe and secure environment to participate at the highest level in a sport they love.”

The report also detailed how former Orlando Pride coach Amanda Cromwell and her assistant coach, Sam Greene, retaliated against players who took part in an earlier investigation into their misconduct. The Pride made a statement on how the team is working to make positive changes and thanked the investigation team. The Houston Dash also released a statement and will not be renewing the contract of Head Coach James Clarkson, who was suspended indefinitely in April pending the results of this investigation. The report found Clarkson took part in emotional misconduct while serving as head coach.

Facundo Torres Was Crucial to Orlando City’s Year

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Torres was chosen as Orlando’s best signing of 2022 by MLSsoccer.com’s Jonathan Sigal. Signed from Peñarol in January, the young Uruguayan had nine goals and 10 assists in his first season with Orlando. Torres came through time and time again for the Lions during their U.S. Open Cup run and provided two goals and an assist in the final to give Orlando its first trophy since joining MLS.

There were plenty of other attackers who joined Eastern Conference teams this past year and made an immediate impact. Charlotte FC’s Karol Swiderski, the Philadelphia Union’s Julian Carranza, and Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada are just a few of the players who had strong first years in MLS. It will be interesting to see if all of these players can take a step forward in 2023 after a year of getting used to the league.

FIFA World Cup Final is Set

France claimed its spot in Sunday’s World Cup final after beating Morocco, 2-0. Theo Hernandez put France in front early in the match and Randal Kolo Muani scored his first international goal less than a minute after coming on as a substitute in the second half. The loss ends Morocco’s hopes of winning it all, although the African team will take on Croatia in the third-place match on Saturday. The final between Argentina and France should be an exciting one with plenty of storylines to watch for, including Paris-Saint Germain teammates Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe going against each other. Both Messi and Mbappe have five goals this tournament to lead the Golden Boot race, with Argentina’s Julian Alvarez and France’s Olivier Giroud each sitting at four. If France wins on Sunday, it will become the first country to win consecutive World Cups since Brazil in 1962.

Grant Wahl Died From an Aortic Aneurysm

Dr. Celine Gounder, the wife of late soccer journalist Grant Wahl, stated that her husband died of an aortic aneurysm that ruptured. The autopsy was done by the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office and Gounder also stated that there was nothing nefarious about Wahl’s death in Qatar and that CPR or shocks would not have saved him. His death was not related to his vaccination status or COVID-19. Gounder thanked those who have offered support to Wahl’s family, friends, and the many others impacted by this loss. While many knew Wahl as a journalist, Gounder also shared the ways he was a kind husband, brother, and advocate as well.

Free Kicks

  • D.C. United signed goalkeeper Alex Bono to a two-year contract, with an option for a third. It’s an interesting landing spot for the veteran considering D.C. added Tyler Miller this off-season as well.
  • Only 12 players have played for an MLS team and also won the World Cup, including former Lion Kaká. Take a trip down memory live to remember how each player won it all and how their MLS careers went.
  • Speaking of Kaká, he weighed in on the difficulty Cristiano Ronaldo, his former teammate at Real Madrid, is facing at this point in his career.


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

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/30/24

Orlando City draws on the road, Duncan McGuire called up, Grace Chanda will reportedly sign with the Orlando Pride, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

For those of you who watched Orlando City’s game Wednesday night, I hope the universe repays you with good fortune in some way today. The week rolls on though, as we get ready for more Orlando soccer this weekend, along with international friendlies around the world to enjoy. For now though, let’s get to the links!

Orlando City Draws Against the Chicago Fire

The Lions went on the road and had to settle for a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire. Neither goal was anything to write home about in a match that was highlighted by sloppy play and yet another controversial refereeing decision the Lions had to deal with. A draw on the road while on short rest generally isn’t the worst result in the world, but it was a poor performance from the Lions. They’ll aim to get back in the winning column this Saturday when they travel to play the New York Red Bulls.

Duncan McGuire Called Up For Training Camp

Orlando City forward Duncan McGuire was one of 25 players called up for the United States Men’s Olympic Soccer Team’s training camp ahead of a friendly with Japan on June 11. McGuire has earned his spot on the team during a solid second season with the Lions that has included five goals. Columbus Crew goalkeeper Patrick Schulte, Koln forward Damion Downs, and LA Galaxy defender Jalen Neal are a few of the other notable players called up. Nashville SC center back Walker Zimmerman is the only player over 23 that was called up for this camp.

Grace Chanda Will Reportedly Join the Pride

An agreement was reportedly reached between the Orlando Pride and Zambian attacker Grace Chanda for her to join the club on a deal through 2025, with an option for 2026 as well. It would be a free transfer, but she would not join the Pride until after the Olympics. Chanda was named to the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations Best XI and was also on the shortlist for the 2022 Best CAF Women’s Player of the Year Award. The 26-year-old did not play in last year’s World Cup due to an illness, but has come off the bench in Madrid CFF’s past two games. The Pride are having a historic year and Chanda should help them push for a title if she does end up joining her international teammate, Barbra Banda.

Getting to Know Emily Sams

Pride defender Emily Sams is the latest player to field questions as part of the club’s video series for fans to learn more about the players. Sams spoke about the disappointment in how the team’s season ended last year after missing out on the playoffs on a goal differential tiebreaker. She also talked about the team’s aspiration to not only make the playoffs but contend for a title this year. It’s her second season with the Pride and she’s been a key reason why Orlando has done so well so far. Sams discussed what the team’s atmosphere is like, as well as how she likes to spend time outdoors exploring Orlando’s many lakes when not on the field.

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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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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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