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Lion Links 3/29/23



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope you all are having a good week as we all get ready for another weekend filled with Orlando soccer. It’s been a busy past few days for me, but I’m looking forward to checking out a place not too far from me in Tampa that serves booze-infused ice cream. Is margarita ice cream a crime against nature? I plan on finding out for myself. But for now, let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world.

Orlando City Prepares for Nashville SC

After winning on the road against the Philadelphia Union this past weekend, Orlando City hosts Nashville SC this Saturday at Exploria Stadium. Martin Ojeda has scored in Orlando’s past two games and has 20 shots this season, the most in the league alongside Sporting Kansas City’s Erik Thommy. Center back Robin Jansson could make his 125th appearance across all competitions for Orlando City and spoke on how the team is getting ready to go up against Nashville’s offense.

“We know that [Hany Mukhtar] is a great soccer player and we need to be ready and aware of of the way Nashville is attacking and playing. We know them because we played them a lot in the last couple of years. It’s going to be an interesting game, we’re going to go out there and play our way and focus on our game first. Then we have to be aware of their strengths.”

– Orlando City center back Robin Jansson

Orlando City’s Theme Nights for 2023 Season

To celebrate April Fool’s Day, Saturday’s match with Nashville will be Sea Cows Night. It is one of seven themed nights scheduled to take place over the course of this Orlando City season. For Sea Cows Night, players will wear Sea Cows warm-up tops and there will be limited-edition merchandise available as well. Orlando’s match against the Colorado Rapids on June 10 will be Love Unites, which will recognize the seven-year remembrance of the victims of the Pulse shooting. Fan Appreciation Night will take place on Oct. 7, with the club dedicating Decision Day to its supporters.

Orlando Pride Acquire an International Roster Spot

The Orlando Pride traded away $70,000 in Allocation Money to Angel City FC in exchange for a 2023 international roster spot. Orlando Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter spoke on the PawedCast earlier this month about exciting things ahead for the Pride during the summer transfer window. This trade comes at an interesting time with the season underway and could be part of the Pride’s plans during that window.

Scarf the City is Underway Today

For those of you in the City Beautiful, be on the lookout today for Orlando Pride scarves. Over 1,000 are hidden around Central Florida as part of Scarf the City, a scavenger hunt of sorts where scarves are located at iconic locations and local areas to find. Fans who find a scarf can share it on social media for a ticket deal for the Pride’s home opener this Sunday against Angel City. As part of the event, Pride players Ally Watt, Mikayla Cluff, Emily Madril, and Summer Yates will be at local Publix locations this evening to give out scarves and sign autographs.

USWNT Roster Announced for April Friendlies

Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski called up 26 players for the United States Women’s National Team’s friendlies next month against Ireland. The roster includes Julie Ertz, who has not played for the USWNT since the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. It will be interesting to see how much she features across the team’s two matches. Sophia Smith, Kelley O’Hara, and Casey Krueger are a few other players returning to the team for these friendlies. The USWNT will take on Ireland in Austin on April 8 and then again on April 11 in St. Louis. These are the last USWNT matches before Andonovski names the roster for this summer’s World Cup.

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  • Pedro Gallese started in goal and had a save in Peru’s scoreless draw with Morocco in Madrid. Wilder Cartagena started against Germany, but didn’t appear in this one.
  • Mason Stajduhar’s save against Alejandro Bedoya was highlighted as one of the top saves from this past weekend.
  • Orlando City jumped up five spots to eighth in the MLS power rankings after its 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union.
  • Facundo Torres started and played for 60 minutes in Uruguay’s 2-1 win against South Korea.
  • Orlando City B placed sixth in the MLS NEXT Pro’s first top 10 rankings of the season. There were some stream issues in the team’s 3-1 win over Philadelphia Union II, but now you can check out Jack Lynn’s first goal of the year.
  • American midfielder Tyler Adams has undergone surgery for his hamstring injury and will be out for Leeds United for an extended period of time.
  • Scotland beat Spain 2-0 in Glasgow thanks to a brace from Scott McTominay. It was the first time Spain has lost a Euro qualifier since 2014 and this was the first time Scotland has won against Spain since 1984.
  • Kevin De Bruyne had two assists within the first 10 minutes and then added a goal of his own in the second half to lead Belgium to a 3-2 win over Germany.

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

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/9/23

Orlando City gets ready for the Colorado Rapids, OCB faces FC Cincinnati 2 on Sunday, U-20 World Cup final is set, and more.



How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope this Friday finds you well as we gear up for a weekend filled to the brim with Orlando soccer. My friends are taking me out for teppanyaki and scorpion bowls tonight, so it should be a pretty nice day on my end. Hopefully your Friday goes smoothly as well. Now, let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world.

Orlando City Prepares for the Colorado Rapids

The Lions are on a five-game unbeaten run as they get ready for a home match tomorrow night against the Colorado Rapids. Facundo Torres scored twice in the team’s 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls last weekend. Hopefully he can keep the momentum rolling against a Colorado team that’s allowed 25 goals this season and sits last in the league in points per game, with just two wins in 17 matches. Pedro Gallese also recorded his 26th clean sheet for Orlando in last week’s win, and could make his 100th appearance as a Lion tomorrow night. The Lions will have to keep an eye on Irish midfielder Connor Ronan, who has six assists in his first season with the Rapids.

Orlando City B Aims to Bounce Back at Home

After a 3-0 defeat to Toronto FC II in Canada this past weekend, Orlando City B will look to right the ship on Sunday at home against FC Cincinnati 2. The Young Lions are unbeaten at home this season, winning four of their six games at Osceola Heritage Park. The last time these two teams played was in August of last year, with Cincy winning in the penalty shootout following a 2-2 draw. Although he didn’t score in that match, OCB forward Jack Lynn scored three goals against Cincinnati last year and currently leads OCB with six goals this season. Sunday’s match should be a good opportunity for OCB’s offense to bounce back against a leaky Cincy defense.

USMNT Players Focused Despite Coaching Search

With European seasons over, American players who have been plying their trade abroad are back in the U.S. to prepare for the Concacaf Nations League and Gold Cup this month. The team will be coached by B.J. Callaghan in an interim capacity while the search for a head coach continues. Although not having a permanent head coach for these tournaments isn’t ideal, Nashville SC center back Walker Zimmerman spoke on how the team still knows how to get the job done.

“We’re a team that has a very strong team chemistry, strong culture within our group. And we know that for us, not much has changed right now,” said Zimmerman. “We know the same principles, style of play, expectations, accountability – all those things are the same. So I think that’s player-driven, to hold each other accountable to the standards that we’ve set over the past four years. BJ, he’s on top of it. He’s knowledgeable about what we want to do, how we’re going to go about these games.”

The roster includes many of the players who featured in the World Cup last year, but the striker position is one to watch due to the new faces involved. Folarin Balogun is with the team for the first time and it will be interesting to see how he measures up against Ricardo Pepi, Alex Zendejas, and Jesus Ferreira. We will get to see who spearheads the USMNT’s attack next Thursday, when the Yanks take on Mexico in Las Vegas.

Italy and Uruguay Reach U-20 World Cup Final

Only two teams remain in the U-20 World Cup after Italy and Uruguay each won their semifinals. Uruguay, which beat the U.S. in the quarterfinals, beat Israel 1-0, thanks to a goal in the second half from Anderson Duarte. In Italy’s semifinal against South Korea, Cesare Casadei’s terrific tournament continued as he gave Italy the lead in the 14th minute. South Korea equalized soon after with a penalty kick, but 17-year-old forward Simone Pafundi scored a nice free kick to send Italy into the final.

The final will take place on Sunday at 5 p.m., with the third-place match set for 1:30 p.m. It will be Italy’s first time playing in a U-20 World Cup final, while it will be Uruguay’s third time after losing in 1997 and 2013.

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That’s all I have for you today. Have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/8/23

Orlando Pride match postponed, Lionel Messi will join Inter Miami, West Ham wins Europa Conference League, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

It’s Thursday, which is a little worse than Friday, but still much better than Monday. I hope this week has been treating you well and that you have some fun to look forward to over the next few days. All three of Orlando’s soccer teams are in action this weekend as well. Let’s jump into today’s links!

Orlando Pride NWSL Challenge Cup Match Postponed

Wednesday’s NWSL Challenge Cup match between the Orlando Pride and NJ/NY Gotham FC had to be postponed due to poor air quality conditions in the New York metropolitan area. Wildfires in Canada were the cause of the hazy conditions that were expected to worsen when the match was set to take place. That match has now been postponed until Aug. 9, which is during the NWSL’s break for the Women’s World Cup. The Pride will be back in action this Sunday for a difficult match against the league-leading Portland Thorns.

“Pride in Our City” Kicks Off This Weekend

Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are both playing at home this weekend in matches that will also celebrate the LGBTQ community and remember the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. Players will wear jerseys with rainbow numbers, which is also available as a customization option when buying jerseys at The Den at Exploria Stadium and online. Both matches will feature national anthem and halftime performances by the Orlando Gay Chorus as well. Limited-time apparel, patches, and merchandise will be sold, with a portion of the proceeds going towards the Orlando City Foundation to support the LGBTQ community.

Lionel Messi Will Join Inter Miami

One of the greatest soccer players of all time is headed to MLS. Although not finalized yet, star forward Lionel Messi announced that he will join Inter Miami. There were many reported moving parts involved, including an option for part-ownership of the club, a cut of revenue from new MLS Season Pass subscribers, and a deal between Messi and Adidas. He joins a Miami side that sits last in the Eastern Conference and recently sacked Phil Neville. This does add an interesting layer to the reported talks between Miami and Tata Martino, who coached Messi during his time with Argentina and Barcelona.

It’s great to see MLS in a position to add one of the most sought-after free agents in the world, although I do wish he wasn’t playing for an Orlando rival. The Lions could face Messi for the first time when the two sides clash at Exploria Stadium on Sept. 24. Orlando updated the ticket information for that match as well, with priority access available starting today for new season ticket, group ticket, and match pack purchases. A limited number of single-game tickets will be made available as well, and season ticket members will receive pre-sale priority before the public.

West Ham Wins Europa Conference League

West Ham United lifted its first European trophy in 58 years by beating Fiorentina 2-1 in the Europa Conference League final in Prague. The two teams traded goals in the second half before Jarrod Bowen beat an offside trap to score the winner in the 90th minute. The win capped off a great tournament from the English club, which won 12 of its 13 games during the title-winning campaign. West Ham finished 14th in the English Premier League, but will play in the Europa League next season after this victory. Unfortunately, the match wasn’t without controversy, as Fiorentina captain Cristiano Biraghi was struck in the head by thrown objects that drew blood. Thankfully, he was able to get bandaged up to finish out the match.

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That’s all I have for you today. Make sure to hydrated out there as this summer heats up. Have a great Thursday!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/7/23

Orlando City moves up in MLS power rankings, Orlando Pride take on Gotham FC tonight, USMNT announces official Concacaf Nations League roster, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. How is everyone doing so far this week? I’ve been doing well and keeping myself busy lately. I’ll be working the Dead & Company concert this weekend at Wrigley Field. There is plenty to get to today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Moves Up in MLS Power Rankings

Orlando City moved up five spots to 10th in the latest MLS power rankings. The Lions defeated the New York Red Bulls 3-0 on the road this past Saturday. Ivan Angulo put together a stellar performance and Facundo Torres scored twice in the match to help the Lions extend their unbeaten run to five matches. Around the league, the Columbus Crew also moved up five spots, climbing to sixth after a 4-2 win against Charlotte FC. Cincinnati edged out LAFC for the top spot in the power rankings following its 1-0 shutout win against the Chicago Fire.

Orlando Pride Take on NJ/NY Gotham FC Tonight

The Orlando Pride will play NJ/NY Gotham FC tonight in their third group stage match of the 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup. The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Red Bull Arena and you can watch it on CBS Sports Network or stream it on Paramount+. The Pride are at the bottom of their group following a draw and a loss so far in the competition. Ally Watt scored in those first two matches for the Pride, with Summer Yates providing the assists on both of those goals. Gotham is unbeaten in the Challenge Cup and leads the group with four points. The Pride are unbeaten in their last six matches on the road in all competitions against Gotham, including a scoreless draw last month in league play.

USMNT Announces 23-Man Roster for Concacaf Nations League

The U.S. Soccer Federation officially announced the 23-man roster for the U.S. Men’s National Team before the 2023 Concacaf Nations League.

Goalkeeper Josh Cohen, who plays for Maccabi Haifa in Israel, was the lone player dropped from the preliminary roster announced last week. The USMNT will play rival Mexico on June 15 in the Concacaf Nations League semifinals at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. If the U.S. prevails in that match, it will face the winner of the match between Canada and Panama. The final is set to take place in Las Vegas on June 18.

U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals Begin

The quarterfinals of the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup kicked off last night with two matches. FC Cincinnati defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds out of the USL Championship, 3-1, with Brandon Vazquez, Alvaro Barreal, and Santiago Arias all scoring in the second half. The Houston Dynamo also booked their spot in the semifinals after winning 4-1 over the Fire. Nigerian winger Ibrahim Aliyu had a brace for Houston in the road win. Today, we have two more matches to determine who else will move on to the semifinals. Birmingham Legion FC of the USL Championship will take on Inter Miami, while Real Salt Lake will face the LA Galaxy.

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  • In case you missed it, check out the sights and sounds of Orlando’s road victory at Red Bull Arena this past weekend.

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

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