How’s it going, Mane Landers? Taylor Swift is in town over here in Tampa for the weekend, which means traffic is insane and any restaurant is going to have crazy wait times. For better or for worse, I don’t have many plans this weekend beyond a trip to the theater to watch the Mario movie. Hopefully you have some nice days awaiting you as we all get psyched over more Orlando soccer to enjoy. But for now, let’s dive into today’s links!
Orlando City Gets Ready for Minnesota United
It’s been two weeks since Orlando City lost 2-0 to Nashville SC and the Lions will aim to bounce back on the road tomorrow night against Minnesota United. The Lions have yet to win against the Loons at Allianz Field and this will be their first match there since a 1-1 draw in August of 2019. While Minnesota is still searching for its first home win of the season, Orlando remains undefeated on the road this year. Designated Player Martin Ojeda’s 26 shots are the second-most in the league and he has two goals and an assist to his name this year. Orlando will need him and the team’s other playmakers to step up against a Minnesota defense that’s only conceded five goals in six games this season.
Orlando Pride Host NJ/NY Gotham FC Tomorrow Night
The Orlando Pride are also coming off of a break as they gear up for tomorrow night’s match against NJ/NY Gotham FC at Exploria Stadium. The last time these two teams squared off was last year on Aug. 20. Playing on the road, Ally Watt made her debut off the bench and scored soon after in a 2-1 win for the Pride. Although the Pride are still looking for their first win of the season, they scored and created good chances in a 2-1 loss to Angel City FC on April 2. Pride rookie Messiah Bright scored the first goal of her professional career in that match and spoke on how the team is preparing for tomorrow night.
Orlando City Announces Watch Party Schedule
Starting next month, Orlando City fans can watch their favorite Lions play on the road from local pubs as part of this season’s series of watch parties. Six venues were chosen to host a watch party this year. Kiwi’s Pub & Grill, one of three returning pubs alongside Hooch and Hammered Lamb this year, will host the first event on May 6 when the Lions take on CF Montreal in Canada. Clermont’s Wolfhound Irish Pub and downtown Orlando’s The Game Room and Fixtion are the other locations in this year’s lineup. As part of the partnership, the six pubs will have access to MLS Season Pass this season for fans to watch matches and there will be discounts on Heineken as well.
Prize Pool Increased for NWSL Challenge Cup
NWSL Challenge Cup sponsor UKG announced that the prize money for the tournament has increased to $1 million. The league joined forces last year with UKG, a human resources and workforce management company. The partnership led to a tenfold increase in the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup’s prize pool compared to 2021 and this decision to increase it again shows a continued effort towards pay equity in professional sports. The $1 million prize money is similar to the amount that MLS Cup and the MLS is Back Tournament had. The NWSL Challenge Cup kicks off next week, with the Pride hosting the North Carolina Courage on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Dante Vanzeir Suspended for Six MLS Matches
MLS suspended New York Red Bulls forward Dante Vanzeir for six matches and fined him an undisclosed amount for racist language used towards Jeremy Ebobisse in his team’s match with the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend. Until the suspension is served in full, Vanzeir is prohibited from playing in the U.S. Open Cup or MLS NEXT Pro. He is also required to complete additional training and education sessions. Red Bulls Head Coach Gerhard Struber, who did not sub Vanzeir out until well after the incident, was not suspended or fined. Empire Supporters Club made its feelings on the suspension clear.
- Austin FC left back Zan Kolmanic is out for the season after tearing his ACL in training. The 23-year-old has started in all six of Austin’s games this season.
- The Portland Thorns have added Canadian forward Adriana Leon on loan from Manchester United through June. We’ll see what impact she can bring to a Thorns offense that’s already scored eight goals in two games.
- Check out this dive into former USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter’s odyssey of sorts immediately following the World Cup.
- Manchester United got off to a hot start in its Europa League match against Sevilla, with Marcel Sabitzer scoring a brace within the first 21 minutes. But a pair of late own goals resulted in a 2-2 draw and defenders Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez had to leave the game due to injuries.
- Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane was fined and banned for a game by the club. This news comes after reports that he punched teammate Leroy Sane following his club’s loss to Manchester City.
- Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez was released by Olympiakos following the club’s elimination in the Greek Cup.
- Rangers Women Head Coach Craig McPherson was banned for six games after headbutting Celtic’s coach.
That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend. Go Orlando!