Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/15/23

Lions travel to Allianz Field, Orlando Pride need first win, USMNT learns Gold Cup group opponents, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy double matchday, Mane Landers! It is another busy weekend for my wife and I, as we yet again have family in town following the move into our new house. Is it a house? Is it a hotel? With all the people coming and going, it sure is starting to feel like one. But heck, we love seeing friends and family so there are no real actual complaints here. The good news is it really gives me ample time to try to create some more Orlando soccer fans when the games are on the television here for them to take in alongside us. Anyway, let’s get to what you came here for, today’s links!

Orlando City Travels to Minnesota United

The Lions are back after sitting out Matchday 7, and this week they are hitting the road to St. Paul, MN, where the Loons await. This is the first time Orlando City has visited Allianz Field since a 1-1 draw in August 2019. Both squads attempt to get back on track after an Orlando loss to Nashville SC and Minnesota loss to the Chicago Fire. Minnesota United started the season with a five-game unbeaten run prior to the loss.

Lions coach Oscar Pareja is also very familiar with both the Loons and their manager, Adrian Heath. The first manager in Orlando City history, Heath spent six years in the City Beautiful before he took over Minnesota in 2017.

“Minnesota is a team that has a structure that we know since we faced them in preseason. I have a good relationship with Adrian as well and I know him from his experiences in the league. But well, we say that every game. They know us, we know him. What we’re looking at is trying to use that knowledge and applying it on the pitch and then trying to get what we need. First, the victory and the most important is that our chemistry and our system can get more mature.”

Orlando Pride Aim For First Victory

The Orlando Pride attempt to get their first win of the season when they welcome Gotham FC tonight. Last week, the team dropped points with a last-gasp loss to Angel City FC. This will be the 20th meeting between NJ/NY Gotham FC and the Pride, with the series currently even at 7-7-5. Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines knows that his young players will have to adjust to the NWSL to grab the elusive first win, but he believes they are ready to step up.

“This is going to take time so it’s a new group of players building relationships over the course of the season,” he said, “and they’re in really high spirits and they know that they can go into games and compete with some of the best players in the world.”

Concacaf Announces 2023 Gold Cup Draw

The U.S. Men’s National Team is on the hunt for its eighth confederation championship as part of Group A in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup. The other teams in the group include Jamaica and Nicaragua, with a final team that will be determined through the 2023 Gold Cup Prelims. Based on the Gold Cup Prelims draw, the remaining team in Group A could be one of four possibilities: Curaçao, French Guiana, Sint Maarten or St. Kitts & Nevis. The Prelims Round will occur June 16-20 in the United States. The Gold Cup tournament itself will take place June 24-July 16, with the schedule expected to be announced soon.

The USMNT enters the tournament as reigning champion after lifting the 2021 Gold Cup. The Yanks also won the inaugural tournament in 1991 before being crowned regional champions again in 2002, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2017, and 2021. If the United States wins the 2023 competition, it would tie Mexico’s record of eight titles.

Must-Watch Matches of MLS Matchday 8

If you are one to stream multiple screens or watch replays, this might just be your week. Aside from catching Orlando City and Minnesota United, there are plenty of other games to check out around the league.

The Cascadia Cup rivalry between the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders will be a late night match set to kick off at 10:30 p.m. Even though the Timbers are winless and the Sounders are flying high, anything can happen each season when these two teams meet. Another big rivalry, El Trafico, between LAFC and the LA Galaxy, will headline Sunday viewing at 4:30 p.m. LAFC’s Dénis Bouanga has been incredible this season and looks to make his mark against a struggling LA Galaxy.

St. Louis City started its inaugural season with a Cinderella story but has since fallen short. In a cross-conference meeting, FC Cincinnati will take its $10-million dollar man, Brenner, to town and show the club is leading the Supporters’ Shield race at 8:30 p.m.

Free Kicks

  • Congratulations are in order for Orlando City center back Rodrigo Schlegel who welcomed his daughter, Maria Emilia! Will she grow up to be a defender (or break-glass goalkeeper) like her father?
  • Orlando City has released El Pulpo’s sweet pink goalkeeper kit for purchase. I personally love the top, and want one, but I do think it clashes a bit with the purple shorts.
  • The Viking Army, an official supporters group of the New York Red Bulls, will walk out in protest during the club’s match against Houston tonight.
  • New York City FC has selected HOK as the architect and Turner Construction Company as the general contractor to build its soccer-specific stadium set to debut in the 2027 MLS season.
  • A partial stadium ban imposed on Juventus for racist chants directed toward Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku has been suspended.
  • Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez will miss the rest of the season after fracturing his foot.
  • Ryan Reynolds dropped the best birthday wishes to his Wrexham AFC co-owner, Rob McElhenney.
  • And finally, Zava — I mean, Zlatan — is kicking butt and not just goals in this wild video clip.

That’s a wrap on today’s links. I hope you all enjoy the matches today. Vamos Orlando!


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