It’s Friday! Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and Orlando City B are all in action this weekend, so make sure to take care of any spring cleaning or errands before the action gets started tomorrow night. I’ve done quite a bit traveling this month, so I’m looking forward to settling in this weekend and enjoying some soccer. But for now, let’s get this Friday started with today’s links.
Orlando City Will Face Charlotte FC in U.S. Open Cup
The 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s round of 32 is set. Orlando City will hit the road to take on Charlotte FC for its first match of the tournament. This will be the second meeting between the two MLS sides this year, as Charlotte beat Orlando at Exploria Stadium on March 18. The Lions are the reigning champions of the tournament, although they played all of their games at home during that campaign. This match will take place on either May 9 or 10, with the details on the date and time to be announced later.
Other interesting match-ups this upcoming round include a rivalry match between D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls, Nashville SC hosting FC Dallas, and a showdown out west between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders. There are eight USL Championship sides remaining, but at least one will make the round of 16 as Memphis 901 and the Birmingham Legion were drawn against each other.
Michael Halliday Discusses His Young Career
Orlando City right back Michael Halliday spoke on what it is like to play for the same club he supported as a kid. The Apopka native joined the club’s academy in 2016 and was signed to the first team as a Homegrown Player in July of 2020. He’s started in three of Orlando’s games this season and has also made appearances for the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team. Just 20 years old, Halliday’s professional career is just getting started and his aspirations extend beyond Orlando and the U.S.
“Definitely further, definitely want to progress my career and go over to Europe like most kids’ dreams of course,” said Halliday. “But this is definitely a good first step in that.”
Lions Get Ready to Host the Galaxy Tomorrow
Orlando will aim to bounce back tomorrow night when it takes on the LA Galaxy at Exploria Stadium. The Lions are coming off of a 3-1 loss to D.C. United, and have not won at home since the season opener on Feb. 25. Facundo Torres scored in that win, but hasn’t had a goal or an assist since. The 23-year-old talked about how the team, particularly the offense, needs to improve its chemistry to help remedy its struggles this year.
“We all know what [head coach] Oscar [Pareja] has been asking of us in the plan that he’s laid out for us, whether it’s guys that have been here or guys that just got here this year,” he said. “The plan that Oscar has laid out has been very clear, and we’re all integrated into that. I think what we’re missing right now is the chemistry in between the new players and the old players and executing that idea. Like I said, the plan is very clear so now we just need to work together to bring that idea to the field in reality.”
As for the Galaxy, they are coming off of their first win of the season — a 2-0 victory over Austin FC at home. The last time the Galaxy and the Lions squared off was last year in California. Torres scored his first goal for Orlando in that match as the team won 1-0. Pedro Gallese will break the club record for appearances by a goalkeeper should he make his 93rd start tomorrow.
Orlando Pride Prepare for San Diego
After losing 2-0 to the Kansas City Current, the Orlando Pride are at the bottom of the NWSL and still searching for their first win or draw of the season. They’ll travel out west to take on a San Diego Wave FC side that has won three of its four games this season. Former Pride forward Alex Morgan leads the Wave with three goals, although she hasn’t found the back of the net in the club’s past two matches. Meanwhile, the Pride have scored just once this season and the defense has allowed multiple goals in its past 10 regular season games.
- It was unveiled that both of Orlando City’s Leagues Cup matches will take place at 7:30 p.m. The Lions will host the Houston Dynamo on July 21 before welcoming Santos Laguna to Exploria Stadium on July 29.
- D.C. United signed defender Steven Birnbaum to a contract extension that will keep him in the nation’s capital through 2025. The team captain, Birnbaum has been with the club since he was drafted in 2014.
- According to The Athletic‘s Tom Bogert, the deal between Real Salt Lake and Charlotte FC involving former Lion Justin Meram and Andre Shinyashiki is being amended.
- FC Barcelona drew 1-1 with Chelsea to advance to the Women’s Champions League final on aggregate. Alexia Putellas was an unused substitute and Barcelona will face the winner between Arsenal and VfL Wolfsburg.
- The United Soccer League announced the departure of its president, Jake Edwards. He’s served as the league’s president for the past eight years.
- American forward Malik Tillman was nominated for Rangers’ Player of the Year award. The 20-year-old is on loan from Bayern Munich and has scored 10 goals in the Scottish Premiership this season.
- A scoreless draw against Cremonese was enough for Fiorentina to reach the Coppa Italia final. Fiorentina will take on Inter Milan in the final on May 24.
That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and rest of your weekend!