Lion Links

Lion Links: 3/22/23



Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. I’ll finally get to watch some soccer tonight as I’m going to check out Chicago House AC take on Bavarian United SC in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup. Let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando City midfielder Ivan Angulo! There is plenty to cover today so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City B Announces Roster

Orlando City announced the initial roster for its second team, Orlando City B, which is preparing for its second season in MLS NEXT Pro. The majority of the roster will have new faces and some academy players. Goalkeeper Dominic Pereira, defender Zakaria Taifi, and forward Chase Vazquez are a few of the academy players on the roster. There will also be nine players returning to the squad that played with OCB last year. Goalkeeper Javier Otero, midfielder Alejandro Granados, and forward Moises Tablante are some of the familiar faces you’ll see back on the team this season. Otero had a solid season last year, leading MLS NEXT Pro with 100 saves. Granados played in the MLS NEXT Pro All-Star game last season, while Tablante returns to lead the attack. Orlando City B’s first match will be this Sunday on the road against Philadelphia Union II.

MLS All-Stars Will Take On Arsenal

After playing the Liga MX All-Stars the past two years, the MLS All-Stars will play English Premier League side Arsenal in this year’s MLS All-Star Game at Audi Field on July 19. D.C. United Head Coach Wayne Rooney will coach the MLS All-Stars for the match. The MLS All-Star Skills Challenge is on July 18 and will feature the best of MLS and Arsenal. The last time these two sides faced each other was back in 2016 in San Jose, where Arsenal defeated the MLS All-Stars 2-1. Fans will be able to watch this match-up on MLS Season Pass.

Storylines to Watch in the 2023 NWSL Season

We are only a few days away from the National Women’s Soccer League season kicking off this Saturday. The Orlando Pride will start their season on the road this Sunday to battle the Portland Thorns. Following abuse allegations and investigations from the NWSL and U.S. Soccer, the league is ready to move forward with new policies and safeguards in place to better protect its players. The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is this summer in Australia and New Zealand and hopefully the trend of fan interest increasing after the tournament continues. VAR will also make its NWSL debut this year. There were many coaching changes across the league this off-season, and Seb Hines is fully at the helm of the Pride. It will be interesting to see how the NWSL clubs deal with the World Cup around the corner and the NWSL Challenge Cup running concurrently with the regular season. So many intriguing storylines ahead of this season should make things interesting in the NWSL.

2023 U.S. Open Cup Begins

The 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup kicked off last night in Pennsylvania with a match between West Chester United and the Ocean City Nor’easters. After trailing 1-0 early in the first half, the Nor’easters scored three unanswered goals to win 3-1 and move on to the second round to face the NISA’s Maryland Bobcats FC.

There will be 10 matches today, including a match-up between two clubs from the Orlando area. Club de Lyon FC 2 will take on USL League 2 side Nona FC tonight at 7 p.m. at Austin-Tindall Regional Park in Kissimmee. The winner of that match will play the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Tomorrow will feature another battle between two Florida clubs as the Jacksonville Armada face off against Miami United. Orlando City will enter the tournament in the round of 32.

Free Kicks

  • The latest MLS Power rankings have been released. The Lions moved up one spot to 13th despite their 2-1 loss to Charlotte FC this past weekend.
  • Here is the full slate of opening matches in MLS NEXT Pro this weekend, including a Monday night soccer match-up.
  • Manchester City’s Erling Haaland has pulled out of Norway’s upcoming Euro 2024 qualifying matches due to a groin injury. Haaland scored a hat-trick in Manchester City’s FA Cup match this past weekend against Burnley.
  • The LA Galaxy have acquired defender Julian Aude from Club Atletico Lanus of the Argentine Primera Division. The 19-year-old has agreed to a five-year contract through the 2027 season.
  • The Philadelphia Union reached an agreement with 2022 MLS Defender of the Year Jakob Glesnes on a new contract extension. The deal is through the 2025 season, with a club option for 2026 as well.
  • The San Diego Wave signed 15-year old forward Melanie Barcenas to a three-year contract. This deal makes Barcenas the youngest player to sign a contract in the NWSL.
  • Columbus Crew forward and former Lion Kevin Molino will be out for six to eight weeks after undergoing a meniscectomy due to knee injuries.

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


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