Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/3/23

Orlando City and OCB move up in latest power rankings, NWSL Challenge Cup action tonight, LAFC reaches Concacaf Champions League final, and more.



Image courtesy of OCB / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with those of you down in Florida. I’m doing well and have been busy at work covering high school sports up here in Chicago. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City and OCB Move Up in Power Rankings

Orlando City moved up two spots in the latest MLS power rankings to 15th after its 2-0 shutout win against the LA Galaxy this past weekend. Ercan Kara and Facundo Torres both scored in that match to help the Lions get their second win at home this season. The Lions rebounded after losing to D.C. United the previous week and are fourth in the Eastern Conference in points per game. Orlando City B also moved up a spot in the latest MLS NEXT Pro rankings. The Young Lions are now in fourth after their 3-2 win against Toronto FC II this past Sunday. OCB scored two late goals from Abdi Salim and Moises Tablante to secure its fourth win of the season. That win keeps OCB in second place in the Eastern Conference with 14 points, two behind Crown Legacy FC.

NWSL Challenge Cup Action Returns Tonight

Although the Orlando Pride aren’t in action, there are three matches tonight in the 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup. The first match-up of the night is the North Carolina Courage taking on NJ/NY Gotham FC. The Courage got a 1-1 draw in their first match of this year’s tournament against the Orlando Pride and are second in the East Division, with Gotham on top after its 1-0 win against the Washington Spirit. The Houston Dash will host the Chicago Red Stars. This will be the Red Stars’ first match of the tournament, while the Dash look to bounce back after losing their opener to the Kansas City Current. The last match of the night will feature OL Reign facing Angel City FC. The two sides met on April 19 earlier in the tournament, with the Reign winning 2-0 at BMO Stadium. The Reign will look to keep its 10-game unbeaten streak alive. The Pride will be back in NWSL Challenge Cup action next week when it takes on the Washington Spirit on May 10.

LAFC Advances to Concacaf Champions League Final

After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, LAFC won 3-0 against the Philadelphia Union Tuesday night to reach the Concacaf Champions League final. Timothy Tillman got the scoring started in the 13th minute, and a red card to Olivier Mbaizo made things even harder on the Union. A goal from Kwadwo Opoku in the 82nd minute doubled LAFC’s lead and Denis Bouanga capped off the night with his sixth goal of the tournament. LAFC will take on the winner between Club Leon and Tigres in the final. That final’s first leg will be on May 31, with the second on June 4.

Cristiano Ronaldo Reportedly Wants to Leave Al Nassr

According to multiple reports in Europe, Cristiano Ronaldo is considering leaving Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr just months after signing with the club for a $214 million deal this past January. Ronaldo has played 15 matches for Al Nassr, scoring 12 goals and adding two assists. The latest rumor is that if Ronaldo decides to leave Al Nassr then he could return to Real Madrid, although not as a player but as an ambassador for the club. Another possibility could be that Ronaldo could return to the English Premier League, with Newcastle United as the latest club linked.

Free Kicks

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


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