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Lion Links

Lion Links: 1/8/23



Happy Sunday, everyone. It’s been a minute since we’ve dropped a Sunday edition of Lion Links on you, but Saturday was an eventful day and I had a rare hour of free time for a change after taking down the Christmas tree, so I thought, ‘why not?’

I can’t promise this will be a regular thing. We simply don’t have the manpower at the moment, but if you’d like to get involved, we’re always looking for folks who love to talk about soccer to join the team. (Here’s how to do that.) And remember, if you can talk about soccer, you can probably write about it.

Today kicks off an exciting week as Orlando City begins training ahead of the 2023 season and we’re in the final days before the Orlando Pride get to add some talent in the NWSL Draft. So, let’s get to the news of the day.

Ojeda Officially Becomes a Lion

As you can tell from the photo above, Argentinian attacking midfielder Martin Ojeda has finally become an Orlando City player and he’ll be wearing Junior Urso’s old number 11 (there’s no official word on whether he’ll act like a bear if he scores a goal…stay tuned). Ojeda will address the Orlando media for the first time on Monday morning before training begins, so that’ll be cool, even if I have a real job that prevents me driving the hour from Sanford to Kissimmee to ask questions in person. Hear from the new guy, himself:

McGuire wins MAC Hermann Award

Creighton forward Duncan McGuire won the MAC Hermann Award on Friday as the nation’s best men’s soccer player in the collegiate ranks. That’s pretty cool, because it just so happens that he was a first-round selection of Orlando City in the MLS SuperDraft just days before Christmas. He scored 23 goals in 24 games with Creighton this past season, and Orlando City’s front office will be hoping he can continue to fill the net in Major League Soccer. McGuire was one of three new Lions selected in the first round on Dec. 21, as Orlando City picked him at No. 6 overall, just minutes after taking Shakur Mohammed at No. 2 and not too long before grabbing defender Abdi Salim at No. 17.

Muzzi Says He’s Happy with SuperDraft Haul

Speaking of the SuperDraft, the club dropped a short video on Saturday with some behind-the-scenes footage from Orlando City’s “war room” during the MLS SuperDraft. Executive Vice President and General Manager Luiz Muzzi spoke a little about the team’s 2023 draft class and stated that the Lions were able to get four of the top 20 players on their draft board that day. In addition to the three players mentioned in the section above, the club selected defender Luis Grassow out of Kentucky at No. 46 overall.

Zidane Reportedly Not Interested in USMNT Job

A story by L’Equipe reported Saturday that former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane or his agent was contacted to gauge his interest in the national team jobs of Brazil, Portugal, and the United States. The former French international player, who won championships in both the UEFA Champions League and La Liga at Real Madrid, reportedly doesn’t have much interest in any of those jobs due to having to relocate and the language barrier.

Wrexham A.F.C. Pulls Off FA Cup Stunner

Spoiler alert! Fans of the Welcome to Wrexham docuseries got an unexpected treat on Saturday when the fifth-tier Red Dragons upset second-tier side Coventry City on the road, 4-3, to advance to the fourth round in FA Cup play. Wrexham went up improbably 2-0 to start the game, increased its lead to 4-1 and went up a man, and still had to fend off a furious rally by the Sky Blues to hold on for the win. For those unaware, the club is owned by actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. ESPN+ threw a scare into viewers by losing the signal with the game still deep in stoppage time and Coventry absolutely all over Wrexham despite being down a man, but the Red Dragons prevailed.

Free Kicks

  • On the women’s side, Duke’s Michelle Cooper also won the MAC Hermann Award, joining McGuire at the top of the college game. It would be super cool if the Pride could draft her so that both senior sides would have the reigning trophy winner but Orlando traded out of the No. 2 spot and will pick third.
  • Liverpool and Wolves will have to play an FA Cup replay after a 2-2 draw at Anfield. Wolverhampton Wanderers appeared to score a late winner but the would-be winning goal was wiped out after video review as the corner taker hadn’t established himself onside before the recycled cross. The “rule of cool” should have allowed the backheel goal to stand, if you ask me.
  • Real Madrid fell on the road in La Liga play to Villarreal by a 2-1 scoreline.
  • Manchester United is reportedly interested in acquiring Netherlands forward Wout Weghorst on a short-term loan through the end of the Premier League season.

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Please enjoy what’s left of your weekend. There’s plenty of soccer action today, including huge match-ups like Manchester City vs. Chelsea in FA Cup play and Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona in La Liga.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/24/24

Orlando City and Orlando Pride power rankings, USMNT player news, USWNT will host Costa Rica, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. It’s that time of the week for some tasty links. Two seven-point weekends for Orlando’s soccer teams is nothing to sneeze at, unlike the pollen that coats my hometown of Tallahassee. It’s the time of the year that I make my money back with the unlimited car wash next to my work. Enough with my weather-related car issues, let’s get to the links.

Lions Move Up (and Down) in Power Rankings

There’s nothing that shows the value of “power rankings” better than when you can compare two different ranking lists for the same week for any given club. We all know Orlando City is undefeated in its last four matches thanks to the late heroics of Ivan Angulo to draw CF Montreal over the weekend. But, did you know that was both good and bad?

In ESPN‘s MLS power rankings, Orlando City dropped a spot from 16th to 17th despite “treading water” with a point on the road in Montreal. Meanwhile, the Lions roared ahead three spots from 21st to 18th in’s power rankings. So, do you like that Orlando is 17th in the ESPN piece despite the drop? Or do you prefer the positivity of a three-spot jump to 18th in the rankings?

Orlando Pride Rise in Power Rankings

Forget everything I wrote up there regarding power rankings — at least as far as the Orlando Pride are concerned. After starting the season with three draws, the Pride now have two wins in a row. As such, ESPN moved the Pride up three spots from eighth to fifth in its NWSL power rankings. Their move up the list is entirely deserved and the writer was correct in their assessment. Of course, I’m kidding but it’s still nice to see the Pride get recognized for their results. Now, we just need the Pride to continue the winning streak.

Keeping Up With USMNT Players Abroad

As we shared yesterday, Sergino Dest will likely miss this summer’s Copa America thanks to a knee injury suffered during PSV Eindhoven training. That means the USMNT has a right back situation to address and there are quite a few well known candidates to step in for Dest.

Meanwhile, Weston McKennie has reportedly rejected Juventus’ latest extension offer. I can understand his decision given it doesn’t include any additional salary. McKennie has been very good for Juve, with 10 assists on the season. He’s not the only American making a difference, as Tim Weah provided the assist on Arkadiusz Milik’s goal to send Juventus to the Coppa Italia final.

USWNT Olympic Send-Off Match

The United States Women’s National Team will play a match against Costa Rica at Audi Field on July 16. It will be the final match for the USWNT prior to the Olympics that start nine days later against Zambia. New coach Emma Hayes will join the team on June 1, which isn’t a ton of time before the Olympics start, but she has been a part of the process for months.

Free Kicks

  • The New England Revolution have acquired veteran defender Xavier Arreaga from the Seattle Sounders for a 2025 international roster slot, and up to $75,000 in General Allocation Money depending on performance.
  • Inter Miami’s Jordi Alba will be out for several weeks due to a hamstring injury. Fortunately, he is expected to be back in time for the match against Orlando City on May 15. Where did I put the sarcasm font?

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the Pride’s match against the Washington Spirit this Friday, and Orlando City’s match against Toronto FC on Saturday. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/23/24

Ivan Angulo makes Team of the Matchday bench, Americans in action, Sergino Dest to miss Copa America, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It was an excellent weekend for Orlando’s soccer teams, as the three sides took seven of the nine points on offer. There’s no rest for the wicked this week as the Orlando Pride travel to play the Washington Spirit on Friday, Orlando City hosts Toronto FC on Saturday, and Orlando City B finishes things up at home against Toronto FC II on Sunday. Let’s take a look at today’s links.

Ivan Angulo Earns Recognition

Ivan Angulo has been named to the bench of the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday. The Colombian got the start on Saturday up in Montreal, and had a good game, going the distance and completing 82% of his passes and putting one of his two shots on target. That shot was an important one, as it gave the Lions a late equalizer and helped them salvage a valuable point on the road. Sean Rollins gave him a grade of 6 in his player grades from the match, a rating that likely would have been higher had Martin Ojeda’s pass been accurate enough to allow Angulo to grab a possible winner just a few minutes after he equalized. Here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Americans in Midweek Action

There are a number of Americans taking part in big games this week, and the good people over at Stars and Stripes FC have you covered with the whole rundown. First up, Weston McKennie, Tim Weah, and Juventus will try to advance to the Coppa Italia final this afternoon, as they enter the second leg of the semifinal against Lazio with a 2-0 lead on aggregate. Tomorrow sees Monaco and Folarin Balogun meet Lille in Ligue 1 action, while Chris Richards and Crystal Palace host Newcastle United in the Premier League. Things wrap up on Friday in Serie B when Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessman, and third-place Venezia face Cremonese as they try to overtake Como and finish in one of Serie B’s two guaranteed promotion places.

Sergino Dest Sidelined Long Term

Following up on a story from yesterday’s Lion Links, The Athletic is reporting that the knee injury suffered by Sergino Dest will keep him out of Copa America, and sideline him for the rest of the year. That would be a big blow for the United States Men’s National Team, as Dest has been the nailed-on starter at right back since winning a place in the team during the qualifying cycle for the 2022 World Cup. The Yanks aren’t without options at the position, as Joe Scally could step in for Dest, or Gregg Berhalter could try deploying Weah there, but neither of the two possesses Dest’s level of offensive threat.

Inter Milan Wins Serie A

Inter Milan dispatched rival AC Milan 2-1 guaranteed that Inter will win its 20th Serie A title in club history. Fikayo Tomori’s goal in the 80th minute was the closest Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah’s club could get to leveling the score, and Inter is now a whopping 17 points clear of AC Milan with five games left to play. Inter has been imperious on its way to a 20th Scudetto, scoring the most goals in the league while also conceding the fewest and losing only once this season.

Free Kicks

  • The Orlando Pride and Orlando City hosted a clean-up effort in honor of Earth Day on Monday.

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/22/24

Orlando City draws CF Montreal, Pride and OCB win, FA Cup drama, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. Orlando City drew, while the Pride and OCB both won over the weekend. I had friends in town, so I went to Wrigley Field to check out a Cubs game and show them around Chicago. Let’s wish former Orlando City midfielder Kaka and Pride defender Brianna Martinez a happy birthday! There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Draw at CF Montreal

Orlando City again had to overcome a 2-1 deficit on the road when it faced CF Montreal Saturday night. The Lions needed a late stoppage-time goal from Ivan Angulo to walk out of Stade Saputo with a 2-2 draw. Orlando has now picked up points in each of the last four matches. Orlando City will face CF Montreal again on July 26 in the MLS Leagues Cup during the competition’s group stage. The Lions’ next match will be Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium as it takes on Toronto FC.

Orlando Pride Defeat San Diego Wave

The Orlando Pride shut out the San Diego Wave 1-0 on Friday at Inter&Co Stadium and got their second consecutive win with that same scoreline. Summer Yates scored the lone goal in the first half to seal the win for Orlando. Zambian international striker Barbra Banda made her debut for the Pride, coming off the bench in the second half. The Pride remain undefeated through five league matches and are fifth in the NWSL table with nine points. The team will be on the road to face the Washington Spirit Friday.

OCB Wins on the Road at Crown Legacy FC

Orlando City B got a 2-0 win against Crown Legacy FC at the Sportsplex at Matthews on Friday. Alex Freeman and Shak Mohammed scored for the Young Lions, and Javier Otero made six saves. OCB completed its two-match road trip, securing four out of a possible six points, and has kept its unbeaten streak on the road alive at four matches. OCB is in fifth in the MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference with nine points, while Crown Legacy is winless in five matches. OCB will be back in action this Sunday as it hosts Toronto FC II at Osceola County Stadium.

Manchester United and Manchester City Advance to FA Cup Final

Manchester United won 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw against Coventry City in the FA Cup semifinals to advance to the final. It was a thrilling match at Wembley as United had a 3-0 lead before Coventry City rallied to get back into the match. USMNT forward Haji Wright scored the equalizer to tie the match 3-3 late into stoppage time. Coventry City thought it scored the game-winning goal late into extra time from Victor Torp, but it was ruled offside after video review. Casemiro missed his penalty for United, while Wright and Torp gave Coventry City a 2-1 advantage. United converted four straight penalties while Coventry City missed two to seal the win for the Red Devils. Manchester City edged past Chelsea 1-0 in their semifinal matchup, with Bernardo Silva scoring the lone goal in the second half. The FA Cup final will be played at the end of May and will feature a Manchester Derby for the second consecutive time.

Free Kicks

  • In case you missed it, check out this video on Orlando City’s social media page on Ivan Angulo’s equalizer to tie the match in stoppage time against CF Montreal on Saturday.

According to OptaJack, the Pride have secured the most points at home during the regular season since last May, with 26.

  • USMNT defender Sergino Dest suffered a knee injury during training with PSV Eindhoven over the weekend. Dest will miss the remainder of the Eredivisie season and could miss the 2024 Copa America this summer.
  • Real Madrid came back from being 2-1 down to defeat Barcelona 3-2 and stay ahead of its rivals by 11 points with six league matches left.
  • Bayer Leverkusen extended its unbeaten run to 45 matches after scoring a late goal from Josip Stanisic in stoppage time to get a 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund.
  • Serie A side Udinese is reportedly set to hire former Juventus and Real Madrid player Fabio Cannavaro as its next head coach.

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

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