Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/5/23

Orlando City enters hectic week of road games, Orlando Pride prepare for Racing Louisville, OCB faces Crown Legacy FC tonight, and more.



Nick Leyva, The Mane Land / Happy retirement, Brek!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Whether it’s sharing a margarita pitcher with friends or enjoying some carryout from your favorite local spot, I hope you have a nice time. Make sure to check out festive ways to spend the day beyond food and drinks too, such as art exhibits, shops, and dance lessons. It should be a fun day to ease into a weekend filled with soccer. Before we get started with today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride forward Haley Bugeja!

Orlando City Begins Road Trip With Confidence

The Lions will hit the road to take on CF Montreal tomorrow night in their first of three away games during a seven-day stretch. After playing Montreal, the team will go straight to North Carolina for its U.S. Open Cup match against Charlotte FC on Tuesday. It will then briefly return to Orlando before heading back out for a game against the Columbus Crew on May 13. Orlando is unbeaten when playing away from Exploria Stadium this year, and Head Coach Oscar Pareja spoke on the importance of maintaining that road mentality.

“It’s a busy week that we have to go away as we have done before,” Pareja said. “This year, when we went to Philadelphia, when we went to Minnesota, [we went] with the urgency to win it. It kept us feeling on, feeling sharp, and feeling strong. That’s the attitude together and then obviously just play in our ways and we’ll just try to dominate the game the way we want.”

Orlando Pride Prepare for Racing Louisville FC

After winning their first game of the year in San Diego, the Orlando Pride return to Exploria Stadium to host Racing Louisville. It’s a great opportunity for the Pride to maintain their momentum, particularly on offense. Brazilian attacker Adriana recorded her first goal and assist in that 3-1 win, showcasing why she was signed this past off-season. She’ll have to contend with a revamped Louisville defense that includes former Pride defender Carson Pickett and center back Abby Erceg. While Louisville is still searching for its win of the season, it’s also only lost once across five games. At training, Pride forward Ally Watt discussed how the team is excited to play at home tomorrow.

Orlando City B Faces Crown Legacy FC Tonight

Orlando City B has the chance to claim the top spot in the MLS NEXT Pro’s Eastern Conference tonight when it plays on the road against Crown Legacy FC at 7:30 p.m. The match will be broadcast on MLS Season Pass. Crown Legacy is unbeaten this season and was named Team of the Month after winning all five of its games in April. Meanwhile, the Young Lions are coming off of an exciting 3-2 win at home against Toronto FC. It all makes for a huge showdown between two of the best teams in the league so far.

Central Florida Crusaders Will Host the NISL Playoffs

The champions of the National Indoor Soccer League’s men’s and women’s divisions will be crowned in Orlando on Mother’s Day, May 14. The league’s playoffs will be held at Addition Financial Arena on UCF’s campus, and the Central Florida Crusaders have a chance to win both divisions. The action starts with the women’s semifinal between the Crusaders and the Tampa Bay Strikers at 1 p.m., with the winner taking on the Memphis Americans in the final at 5 p.m. The Crusaders’ men’s side will face whichever team advances from the semifinal between the Strikers and Americans. There will also be two awards ceremonies in what should be an eventful day.

Free Kicks

  • OCB’s Alejandro Granados was called up by Spain for its U-17 team.
  • Former Lion Brek Shea and fellow ex-USMNT defender Geoff Cameron announced they are retiring and planning on going into business together. Shea played two seasons in Orlando and the club thanked him for his time in purple, which included this great goal.
  • The United States U-20 Women’s National Team was drawn into a group with Canada, Panama, and Jamaica for the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship later this month.
  • San Jose Earthquakes forward Cristian Espinoza was named MLS Player of the Month after an April that included five goals and an assist.
  • In the NWSL, Sophia Smith was named Player of the Month for the months of March and April. The 22-year-old has four goals and four assists in six games for the Portland Thorns this season.
  • Inter Miami midfielder Jean Mota is out for four to six weeks due to a knee injury. The Brazilian has started in all nine of Miami’s matches this season, recording four assists.
  • A 1-1 draw with Udinese was enough for Napoli to clinch the Serie A title with five games to spare. It was Napoli’s third league title and its first since 1990.
  • Here’s an interesting dive into why there has been so much turnover among English Premier League managers lately.
  • The field for this summer’s The Soccer Tournament has been revealed, along with the groups. Clint Demspey and Landon Donovan’s squad will square off in one group, and Wrexham’s team is in a group that includes the U.S. Women’s team coached by soccer legend Mia Hamm.
  • Huddersfield Town will stay in the English Football League Championship after a 1-0 win over Sheffield United. The result also means that Reading will be relegated to EFL League One.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday. Make sure to stay hydrated out there tonight!


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