Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/5/23

Cesar Araujo fined by MLS, NWSL expands in California (again), CCL and USOC results, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida these days. It’s finally getting to feel like spring up here in Chicago and I am looking forward to some warmer weather. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Cesar Araujo Fined for Embellishment

Orlando City midfielder Cesar Araujo received an undisclosed fine following Orlando’s loss to Nashville SC this past weekend. The MLS Disciplinary Committee determined Araujo was guilty of simulation. Araujo went down inside the penalty box in the 39th minute and covered his face with his hands. The referee did not give the Lions a penalty and instead called for a goal kick for Nashville.

NWSL Will Expand to the Bay Area in 2024

The National Women’s Soccer League announced that it will expand west once again in 2024, with the San Francisco Bay area earning the league’s 14th club. The club’s ownership group is Sixth Street Partners and includes former USWNT stars such as Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osborne, Danielle Slaton, and Aly Wagner. The ownership group has reportedly invested $125 million, which includes the $53 million expansion fee. The remainder will be spent to build a training facility and team infrastructure and to hire front office staff. The team name, home venue, and training location will be determined at a later date. The team will join the Utah Royals as the other expansion side in the league in 2024.

Philadelphia Union Win First Leg Against Atlas

The Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals kicked off last night as the Philadelphia Union hosted Atlas FC in the first leg at Subaru Park. The Union won the first leg, 1-0, with Daniel Gazdag scoring a penalty kick late in the match. That goal gives the Union a crucial advantage going into the second leg next week. Tonight’s action will see an all-MLS battle as the Vancouver Whitecaps face LAFC in their match-up at BC Place at 10 p.m.

U.S. Open Cup Second Round Begins

There were 10 matches Tuesday night in the second round of the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and a few Floridian clubs were in action. USL League Two side Nona FC fell 2-0 to the Tampa Bay Rowdies, with JJ Williams and Lucky Mkosana each getting a goal.

The match between the NISA’s Club de Lyon FC and San Antonio FC went into extra time in Texas. Roman Holt converted a penalty kick for San Antonio and it was enough for the USL Championship side to win 2-1. There was another Floridian showdown at FIU Soccer Stadium, as Miami FC defeated the Jacksonville Armada 3-1. Claudio Repetto scored twice late in the match to put the game to bed.

We’ll have more U.S. Open Cup action tonight with 17 matches. Some games you should keep your eye on include two derby matches as Tulsa Athletic takes on FC Tulsa and San Diego Loyal faces Albion San Diego. Last year’s runner-up, Sacramento Republic FC, will also be in action as it battles NPSL side Crossfire Redmond.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando Pride forward Haley Bugeja was called up by Malta for an international friendly against Estonia on Friday.
  • Former Pride center back Shelina Zadorsky opened up about her battles with COVID. The Tottenham defender spoke on how it affected her physical and mental health, and how she made it back to the pitch.
  • The MLS NEXT Pro power rankings were unveiled and the Young Lions are ranked fourth after their 2-1 win against Huntsville City this past weekend.
  • Orlando City’s U-17 and U-15 academy teams will both be in action today in the Generation Adidas Cup.
  • Former Orlando City B goalkeeper Christian Herrera, who now plays for Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in the USL Championship, was named goalkeeper on the USL Team of the Week. Herrera posted a seven-save shutout performance in a 1-0 win against Loudon United.
  • Lionel Messi is reportedly unlikely to extend his contract with Paris Saint-Germain, as the two sides are at a standstill.
  • SC Freiburg knocked out Bayern Munich in a 2-1 win in the DFB Pokal quarterfinals. Lucas Höler buried his late penalty kick in stoppage time to book Freiburg a spot in the semifinals.

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


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