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.
- 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!