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Lion Links: 5/19/23

Michael Halliday called up for U-20 World Cup, Pedro Gallese makes MLS Team of the Matchday, Orlando Pride get ready for the Washington Spirit, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope this week has been going well for you as we get ready for plenty of Orlando soccer. I’m looking after my friend’s pets for the next week or so, but other than that there’s not much different going on with me. It’s been a bit of a hectic month, so I’m looking forward to unwinding a bit this weekend. But before then, let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world.

Michael Halliday Joins U.S. U-20 Team

Orlando City right back Michael Halliday was called up to replace an injured Mauricio Cuevas on the United States U-20 Men’s National Team’s roster for the U-20 World Cup. The 20-year-old has received plenty of playing time for Orlando this season and recorded his first MLS assist on April 29. Halliday helped the U.S. win the Concacaf U-20 Championship last summer and also participated in a training camp with the team in Spain in March. The U-20 World Cup kicks off tomorrow, with the U.S. taking on Ecuador at 2 p.m. The tournament runs through June 11, meaning Halliday could miss up to four Orlando City games while in Argentina.

Pedro Gallese Named to MLS Team of the Matchday

Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was named as the starting goalkeeper in the latest MLS Team of the Matchday. The Peruvian came up with five saves, including a few great ones to keep Orlando in front for a majority of the match. Although he wasn’t able to get what would have been his fourth clean sheet of the season, it was still a strong performance from El Pulpo. Luciano Acosta, Jesus Ferreira and Charlotte FC’s Brandon Cambridge were also named to the Team of the Matchday.

Lions Look Ahead Amid Winless Skid

Orlando heads into this weekend after two fairly different draws, coming back on the road against the Columbus Crew and then dropping points at home to New York City FC. It puts some added pressure on the team to respond in tomorrow’s match against rival Inter Miami. The Lions have yet to win during a busy May that also included them getting bounced from the U.S. Open Cup in the round of 32. However, there have been bright spots, as forwards Ercan Kara and Duncan McGuire continue to score and Mauricio Pereyra made his return to the field earlier this week. Hopefully, the rest of the offense finds its footing and Head Coach Oscar Pareja spoke on how the team needs to turn its chances into goals.

“We are not scoring many goals we’ve wasted opportunities,” Pareja said, “We have done things that just give us hope and we’re not going to give those up either. We’re a good team, we have good players and the other teams in the league are pretty much in the same spot. And we want more, but we don’t want to just throw everything out. We’re gonna keep going.”

Orlando Pride Prepare for the Washington Spirit

The Orlando Pride are on a three-game unbeaten run in league play as they get ready to host the Washington Spirit tomorrow night. It will be a rematch of sorts after the Pride fell 4-2 on the road to the Spirit last week in the NWSL Challenge Cup, with both sides rotating their lineups. The Pride are improving and Head Coach Seb Hines talked about how not winning in a scoreless draw with NJ/NY Gotham FC this past weekend should help keep the team hungry for more. Pride goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse also discussed the importance of earning clean sheets in her past two games, along with building chemistry with her back line and playing in front of the home crowd this weekend.

Orlando City B Aims to Bounce Back Tonight

OCB has yet to lose at home this season and will welcome Atlanta United 2 to Osceola County Stadium tonight at 7 p.m. You’ll be able to catch the game on MLS Season Pass if unable to make it out for what should be an exciting game. These two teams last met on April 16 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium, with Orlando falling, 3-1. The Young Lions have lost their past two games, making tonight a great opportunity to right the ship against an Atlanta side that has lost both of its road games this year.

San Diego Announced as 30th MLS Team

In news that had been pretty much known all week long, MLS awarded San Diego an expansion team for the 2025 season. San Diego’s MLS team will play at Snapdragon Stadium, which is also the home of the NWSL’s San Diego Wave. Entrepreneur Mohamed Mansour owns the team, alongside others such as MLB star Manny Machado and the Sycuan Band, which becomes the first Native American tribe to have an ownership stake in U.S. pro soccer. The team’s name and crest will be announced later on, so place your bets now. I’m guessing AS San Diego, with a powder blue and white logo that features clouds in some way.

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  • Atlanta United transferred winger Luiz Araujo to Brazilian club Flamengo for a reported $10 million transfer fee, opening up a Designated Player spot as well. Araujo will stay with Atlanta until after a match with the New York Red Bulls on June 24.
  • If you need an example of how close the Pride came to scoring against Gotham, look no further than the NWSL Save of the Week by Abby Smith. Shout out to her for the save, but shout out to the Pride as well for creating great chances like that throughout the match.
  • In the League One playoffs, Sheffield Wednesday bounced back from a 4-0 loss in the first leg against Peterborough to send the second leg into a penalty shootout, which it won. The Owls will face the victor between Barnsley and Bolton for promotion.
  • Former Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris spoke about how much she’s enjoying retirement from professional soccer.
  • In the Europa League semifinals, a scoreless draw was enough for AS Roma to advance past Bayer Leverkusen, giving manager Jose Mourinho a chance to win his sixth European trophy. Roma will face Sevilla, which beat Juventus thanks to both an equalizer and game winner from Erik Lamela.
  • Fiorentina beat Basel in the final moments of extra time to reach the Europa Conference League final. It will take on West Ham in the final after the Hammers won against AZ Alkmaar. An Italian club can win the Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League.
  • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was fined and suspended for two days for his comments to the media about referee Paul Tierney.

That’s all for this fine Friday. There’s OCB soccer to enjoy tonight and even more soccer ahead of us tomorrow. Stay hydrated and have fun!

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Zontar

    May 19, 2023 at 8:38 am

    The San Diego team… Garber has had a chubby for San Diego for a long time, so no real surprise there once ownership emerged that he liked. Note that this is NOT the group that Landon Donovan is with in USL. As always with Garber, stuff is a requirement or not fairly randomly. Originally San Diego HAD to have a soccer specific stadium, but not any more as there was no way this ownership was going to build one. I hope for their sake that they start to win fairly early because there is not a shred of evidence that San Diego will ever support ANY team in soccer, so I’m not going to be surprised at all if this team never draws more than 10,000 people and ends up being sold and moved down the road. Maybe if they get off to a hot start people will come out.

    I’d like to talk about Phoenix and shed a small tear for them as I think they had a lot going for them but they never fixed the one problem that sank them. They owned the land outright that would hold their stadium and they had a viable plan for it and were going to pay for it themselves. They were hurt by already having teams in MLB, the NFL, NBA and NHL (although this one may be sold and relocated soon). They were also hurt because their main money guy is a Chinese billionaire who made his money in the hotel industry. He loves soccer, but I think there was a real fear that the Chinese government could attack him and his money for any random reason because that’s what they do in Commieland. So he could be part of the ownership, but no way could he be the guy it couldn’t live without. As far as I know, the ownership never found another billionaire to add to the group.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/29/23

Pareja disappointed with draw, Julie Doyle returns from injury, OCB hosts Red Bulls II, and more.

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Happy Memorial Day, Mane Landers! There is a whole lot of soccer to cover today, following a weekend full of news, including your local teams in purple having matches, although not the results we wanted with the Lions allowing a late goal to draw 1-1 and the Pride falling in Chicago. The English Premier League came to an exciting close Sunday. The Young Lions have a match of their own tonight. So, while Mondays can often bring the work week blues (for those who don’t have today off, anyway), at least you have a whole lot of soccer reading to get you up and at it this week.

But before we dive all the way in, please join me in wishing former Orlando City defender and current Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines a happy birthday. Now, let’s get down to it in the links!

Oscar Pareja Disappointed for Fans

Following the Lions late draw on Saturday night, Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja showed some strong feelings towards the disappointing result. He said the team has to do better for its supporters and grind out wins after good performances.

“I have to say that we played well today and I want to congratulate that group of players that pushed that match and that energy. That’s the team that we want to see. The other part is the frustration of giving up another goal at the end and not walking away with the three points. At that part, the equation gets through things, soccer, fĂștbol, concentration, many things. But we want to see that team more often and we want to see that energy more often. We want to see that Orlando City. And to our fans, that support deserves much, much more.”

Check out the full post game press conference, which also featured interviews with goal scorer Kyle Smith and Orlando City defensive midfielder Wilder Cartagena.

Pride’s Loss Mars Doyle’s Return to the Pitch

The Orlando Pride dominated play but could not score on Saturday night, and that led to the end of the club’s four-game unbeaten run. With her start, Marta tied former teammates Ashlyn Harris and Toni Pressley for most regular-season appearances in Pride history with her 81st league match. Meanwhile, forward Julie Doyle also made her return to the field as a second-half substitute. Doyle had not played since the beginning of April due to an ankle injury. Head Coach Seb Hines said he was disappointed with the result but glad to see Doyle return to the lineup. Here’s what Hines had to say about Doyle:

“She’s an exciting player, she’s always active. We felt like it was the right time to bring her in, chasing the goal. She’s always on the move, making defenders defend and it’s nice to have another attacking option come off the bench, along with Ally Watt and Summer Yates. It just shows that we were being more aggressive towards the end again to try and get ourselves back in it. We felt that with the likes of Julie and Ally, Adriana, Marta, and Summer, we had an opportunity to get back in the game and ultimately win the game at the end, but we fell a little bit short. I can’t fault the players’ efforts. They put a lot into it, they’re working extremely hard and we have to just keep going and look forward to the next game away at Houston.”

Orlando City B Hosts New York Red Bulls II

The Young Lions of OCB are ready to host the Young Red Bulls tonight at Osceola Heritage Park. Leading the way for the team is forward Jack Lynn in red-hot form. Lynn has found the back of the net three times in the last two matches, with a game winner against intrastate rivals Inter Miami CF II on Thursday night. Lynn now leads the Young Lions in goals scored this campaign, with five in 2023, and has 20 goals total in his MLS NEXT Pro career. OCB will look to maintain its unbeaten record at home this season tonight, entering the match with a 3-0-2 record at Osceola County Stadium.

Premier League Relegation Battle

Heading into Matchday 38 of the English Premier League campaign, one team was already sure of its fate regarding relegation. Southampton was a good distance behind Leicester City and Leeds United, but both of those clubs had a chance to jump Everton in the standings. Southampton didn’t go quietly into the night though, as the team played to a 4-4 draw against Liverpool. Ultimately, Leicester City and Leeds United were relegated from the EPL on the final day of the season after Everton ensured its own survival with a narrow victory on Sunday. Leicester City fought to a 2-1 victory over West Ham United, while Leeds suffered a 4-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Everton extended its unbroken 69-year tenure in the English top flight as midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure’s stunning strike earned the Toffees a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth as they avoided relegation on the final day of the season.

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I hope you have a great week, Mane Landers. Do something special for someone today. And, best of luck to the Young Lions tonight. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/27/23

U-20 USMNT victorious, trouble continues for Toronto FC, Ivan Toney’s suspension reduced, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy weekend, everyone! Today is a very busy day, as Orlando City hosts Atlanta United at 7:30 p.m. at Exploria Stadium, while the Orlando Pride will travel to face the Chicago Red Stars at 8 p.m. There’s a lot to talk about today, so let’s jump into it.

U-20 USMNT Beats Slovakia

The U-20 USMNT was victorious in its final game of the Under-20 World Cup group stage. Orlando City’s Michael Halliday got his second start of the tournament, as the baby Yanks took out Slovakia, 2-0, to finish the group stage undefeated and finish top of Group B courtesy of a perfect three wins from three. Cade Cowell scored the opening goal and Niko Tsakiris got the second late in stoppage time to hand the Americans a third straight victory. They will advance to the Round of 16 and play a third place team from Group A, C, or D, with the exact opponent being determined once the other groups have concluded play.

Toronto FC Discord

Following comments from Frederico Bernardeschi and later Bob Bradley earlier this week, the drama with Toronto FC has continued with Bradley leaving Bernardeschi out of the squad for this weekend’s match. The Italian was also absent from training on Friday, and Bradley emphasized that the decision was not a disciplinary one. According to a report from The Athletic, tensions at the club have been increasing for some time, with Bernardeschi, Lorenzo Insigne, Bradley and son Michael Bradley at the heart of things (paywall). Things haven’t been good on the field for Toronto either, as the club has just three wins in 15 matches and hasn’t scored in more than 400 minutes.

Ivan Toney’s Suspension Reduced

The English Football Association has reduced Ivan Toney’s ban from playing from 15 months to eight, following him being diagnosed as a gambling addict. The FA took into account both his plea of guilt and his diagnosis as an addict when making the decision. It has also emerged that Toney placed 13 bets on teams he was playing on to lose during a period of roughly a year and a half, although he did not play in any of the 13 matches.

Swansea Reportedly Interested in Gregg Berhalter

Welsh club Swansea City is reportedly interested in hiring Gregg Berhalter to fill the team’s upcoming managerial vacancy. Current boss Russell Martin is close to joining Southampton, and the Championship club’s American ownership is reportedly interested in Berhalter, along with several other names. Former Swansea manager Chris Davies and current Plymouth manager Steven Schumacher are also reportedly under consideration for the role. It would be very interesting if Swansea did decide to go that route, especially as the United States Men’s National Team has not yet named a new head coach, and recent reports suggested that Berhalter had not yet been eliminated from contention.

Free Kicks

  • Spend some time getting to know Ally Watt a little better before this weekend’s Orlando Pride match.
  • Former Lion Chris Mueller has had season-ending hip surgery.
  • Alexandre Pato has signed with Sao Paulo in his native Brazil, reuniting him with another former Lion in Sebas Mendez.

That’s everything I have for you today. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/26/23

Orlando City gets ready to attack Atlanta United, Orlando Pride linked with Brazilian defender, Orlando City B beats Inter Miami II, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

It’s Friday, which means we can all rest a bit easier knowing the weekend is waiting for us at the end of the day. I don’t have many plans for the weekend beyond enjoying hibachi, soccer, and some of the Jamaican dark rum my parents got me after their cruise. Hopefully some relaxation is awaiting you over the next few days as well. Let’s get this Friday started off right with today’s links!

Lions Dialed In for Tomorrow Night

Orlando City Designated Player Martin Ojeda came off the bench last weekend to contribute a goal and an assist to help sink Inter Miami in a 3-1 win. It was the first game this year in which Orlando scored three goals, and Ojeda spoke on how the whole team has worked towards improving its attack.

“We’ve intended and made intentional about our work during the week is trying to get more goals and trying to score more,” Ojeda said. “It’s something that the entire team has been working on as a unit, the technical staff has been really focusing on throughout each week to try and improve going in each game because we know that that’s something that can help us stay on the front foot.”

The offense has a great opportunity to keep its momentum rolling against Atlanta United, which has conceded 24 goals in 14 games this year. Beating the Five Stripes after winning against Inter Miami would be a great way to end a busy May for the Lions as they get ready for the dog days of summer.

Brazilian Defender Rafaella Linked With Move to the Pride

According to The Athletic ($), Arsenal defender Rafaella will leave the club this summer and she’s been linked with a move to the Orlando Pride. The center back has been a cornerstone in Arsenal’s defense to help the English club reach third in the Women’s Super League this year, while also scoring goals in both the Conti Cup and the Champions League. Internationally, Rafaelle served as Brazil’s captain in its match against the U.S. in the SheBelieves Cup and will likely be a key part of the team’s defense in the World Cup this summer. Should she head to the Pride, she’d join up with fellow Brazilians Marta and Adriana in Orlando.

Orlando Pride’s Defense Stands Strong

The Pride are riding a four-game unbeaten run in league play as they get ready for a match with the Chicago Red Stars tomorrow night. While the offense has done well with six goals during that stretch, it’s the defense that’s shown considerable improvement. The Pride have conceded just two goals in their past four games and goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse has been excellent between the posts. But the team’s defense as a whole has improved, with each player on the field doing their part to break up attacks and grind out wins. Head Coach Seb Hines praised how hard the team has worked at doing what it takes to keep this unbeaten run going.

“Their attitude and their desire and their commitment to doing not just the hard work, but the ugly work as well,” Hines said. “You may not get all the plaudits for it because it’s not exciting football, but the players got what they deserved.

“It takes everyone. It takes 11 players to do their job to get three points. In this league, no one’s gonna give you anything, and you have to work extremely hard to get three points. Whether it’s a Marta or Emily Madril at the back, it doesn’t matter. Everyone has to do their job.”

Orlando City B Beats Inter Miami II On the Road

The Young Lions went to Fort Lauderdale and came back to Orlando with all three points after a 1-0 win against Inter Miami II. Jack Lynn scored the game’s only goal in the 57th minute, with Alex Freeman providing the assist on a low cross. OCB then held on for its third shutout of the season, with Javier Otero coming up with a huge save in stoppage time to deny Miami and keep his clean sheet. The Young Lions will be back in action on Monday at Osceola Heritage Park to host New York Red Bulls II.

Zackory Campagnolo Called Up For Tournament in Japan

Orlando City academy goalkeeper Zackory Campagnolo was one of 20 players called up by the U.S. U-16 Men’s National Team for the International Dream Cup held in Japan. The team will take on the Netherlands, Japan, and Nigeria in the competition, with the action set to begin on May 31. Campagnolo has participated in all four of the team’s training camps this cycle, with the most recent one taking place earlier this year in January.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City forward Duncan McGuire was named 2023 Male Amateur Athlete of the Year by the Omaha Sports Commission. I’m sure the accolade will look great beside his MAC Hermann Trophy. Congratulations Duncan!

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

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