Lion Links

Lion Links: 3/23/23



How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope this week has been treating you well as we look forward to a weekend filled to the brim with Orlando soccer. I don’t have many plans over the next few days beyond working, but I have been enjoying some walks in the afternoons now that it doesn’t get dark so early. For now though, let’s dive into today’s links.

Orlando Pride Reveal Highway Woman Kit

Ahead of their season opener this weekend, the Orlando Pride unveiled their primary kit for the upcoming 2023 season. The Highway Woman Kit has both the top and shorts in a deep purple color, with a lighter purple sweeping across the top as if applied by a paintbrush. It honors Mary Ann Carroll, who was the only woman in a group of Black artists known as the Highwaymen. Operating in the 1950s, the Highwaymen had to sell paintings out of their car trunks as galleries wouldn’t allow works from Black artists. I love the new kit, particularly the tag in the bottom right that features a Royal Poinciana tree in the Pride’s colors and Carroll’s signature.

Mason Stajduhar Ready to Step Up

With Pedro Gallese on international duty with Peru, Mason Stajduhar will serve as Orlando City’s goalkeeper Saturday night against the Philadelphia Union. It will be the Homegrown Player’s first appearance of the season. The 25-year-old has been with the club for the past eight years, learning the tricks of the trade from many different Orlando goalkeepers over the years. Stajduhar spoke on the importance of preparation ahead of this weekend’s match.

“You always have to be ready no matter what, whether you don’t think you’re gonna play, you think you’re gonna play, you always got to be ready, always being prepared and treating every game like you’re going to be the one playing,” Stajduhar said. “I think it’s also taught me patience. No situation is permanent and things can change like that. So, I’d say patience and preparedness for sure.”

USMNT Faces Grenada Tomorrow

In its first competitive match of 2023, the United States Men’s National Team will take on Grenada tomorrow at 8 p.m. in the Concacaf Nations League. The U.S. has won all four of its previous meetings with Grenada and has more than enough talent on the roster to do so again. Grenada’s offense will likely revolve around Regan Charles-Cook and Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong creating chances for striker Jamal Charles to put away. As for the USMNT’s offense, there will be plenty of focus on which player will spearhead the attack. These games are a great opportunity for Ricardo Pepi or former Lion Daryl Dike to make a statement after missing the World Cup.

The Power of Meat in MLS

Orlando City Assistant Coach Josema Bazan discussed the importance of asado, which brings people together to enjoy good company and great grilled meats. A fixture in South American culture, particularly in Argentina, asado has become a part of MLS clubs all over the country. Former San Jose Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda used it to rally his team in 2019 and FC Cincinnati midfielder Luciano Acosta worked with a local chef to introduce his teammates to it during the off-season. Even after Bazan left FC Dallas with Oscar Pareja, the club continues the practice. Now in Orlando, Bazan helps unify a team of players from many different backgrounds.

“You try the meat, and you keep having conversations that are maybe a bit more intimate,” Bazan said. “They’re not superficial: they’re deeper than you’d have at a restaurant or just have normally. You leave your comfort zone, but go into an even more comfortable zone.”

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City defender Thomas Williams started in the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team’s 4-0 loss to France’s U-20 side. Michael Halliday came on as a substitute in the 59th minute.
  • The Orlando Pride’s Ally Watt was highlighted as one of several NWSL players to watch this season.
  • Lake Nona FC’s goal in the second minute by former OCB player William Eyang was enough to beat Club de Lyon in the U.S. Open Cup’s first round. The team will take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the next round.
  • Minnesota United signed South Korean forward Sang Bin Jeong from Wolverhampton. The 20-year-old will be an MLS U22 Initiative player and signed a contract through the 2025 season.
  • Mesut Ozil is retiring after nearly 17 years of playing professional soccer. The 34-year-old won the World Cup with Germany in 2014 and excelled at the club level with Arsenal and Real Madrid.
  • Columbus Crew forward Cucho Hernandez could be out for three to five weeks according to Head Coach Wilfried Nancy.

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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