Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/11/23

Orlando Pride lose to the Washington Spirit, U.S. U-20 World Cup roster announced, Oguchi Onyewu hired as U.S. Soccer’s vice president of sporting, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

How’s it going, Mane Landers? It’s been a pretty rough week for Orlando’s soccer teams, so hopefully things turn around this weekend. I don’t have many plans for the rest of the week other than working, but I’m looking forward to visiting my family this weekend for Mother’s Day. But for now, let’s get to today’s links.

Orlando Pride Lose in NWSL Challenge Cup

In their second game of the 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup, the Orlando Pride lost 4-2 on the road to the Washington Spirit. The Pride struck first early on, but the Spirit scored three goals within nine minutes later in the first half. Ally Watt pulled one back in the second half, but Orlando couldn’t find an equalizer and Ashley Sanchez put the game on ice in stoppage time. The Pride are now at the bottom of their group with one point and their next match of the tournament will be on the road against NJ/NY Gotham FC on June 7.

U.S. Names Roster for U-20 World Cup

The U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team’s roster for the upcoming U-20 World Cup was revealed, with 14 MLS players called up. Orlando City right back Michael Halliday was not called up, but center back Thomas Williams was included as an alternate that will travel to Argentina and train with the team.

Eintracht Frankfurt’s Paxten Aaronson is the most notable name on the list of players who won’t be with the team, alongside LA Galaxy defender Jalen Neal and Chicago Fire midfielder Brian Gutierrez. However, midfielder Rokas Pusktas was called up despite his club, Croatia’s Hajduk Split, announcing earlier this month that he wouldn’t be released. He joins an offense that also includes Cade Cowell, Kevin Paredes, and Jack McGlynn. Chelsea’s Gabriel Slonina will likely start in goal. The team’s first match of the tournament will be on May 20 against Ecuador before matches with Fiji and Slovakia the following week.

U.S. Soccer Federation Hires Oguchi Onyewu

Former Orlando City B sporting director Oguchi Onyewu was named as the USSF’s vice president of sporting, a new role in the organization that will report to Sporting Director Matt Crocker. Onyewu played for the USMNT for 10 years and was named U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year in 2006. After retiring, he joined OCB in 2018 and went on to serve as Belgian club Royal Excelsior Virton’s secretary general before joining the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors. In this position, he will help Crocker in hiring a USMNT head coach and drive funding for the federation’s many youth and extended teams.

Kaká Looks Back On FIFA Youth Cup

Former Orlando City star Kaká talked with FIFA about his experience at the 2000 Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup with São Paulo. Although an injury prevented him from taking part in the tournament at age 18, Kaká spoke fondly about his time at the tournament as São Paulo won for the second-straight year. Now 41 and retired after a storied career, Kaká fielded questions regarding the importance of the Youth Cup, the inclusion of a women’s edition, and why this a great opportunity for young players to impress on a global stage.

“This is such a platform for these young players to show themselves because you are going to be pressured, you’re going to have the media there, and a lot of people around the world watching you. Maybe big clubs will also be watching you. You start tasting what professional football is.”

Free Kicks

  • CF Montreal will close its visitors section for Saturday’s match against Toronto FC. This decision comes after violence at the Canadian Championship match between the two teams’ supporters earlier this week, which reportedly included a fan throwing a megaphone at Toronto midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye.
  • Portland Timbers defender Claudio Bravo won MLS Goal of the Matchday for his low shot from outside of the box in a 2-2 draw with Austin FC.
  • Inter Milan scored two early goals to win 2-0 over rival AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League semifinals. The two teams will reconvene at San Siro again on Tuesday for the decisive second leg.
  • The Columbus Crew, Houston Dynamo, and FC Cincinnati were a few of the MLS teams that advanced to the U.S. Open Cup’s round of 16.
  • The Vancouver Whitecaps reached the Canadian Championship semifinals after a 4-1 win over York United FC.
  • Spanish midfielder Sergio Busquets will leave Barcelona at the end of the season after 18 years with the club. Only Lionel Messi and Xavi have more appearances for Barcelona than Busquets.
  • We’ll end today’s links with this incredible bicycle kick from U.S. Men’s Beach Soccer National Team captain Nick Perera in the Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship’s group stage.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week. Stay hydrated out there!


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