Lion Links: 5/23/23
Oscar Pareja and Ercan Kara make MLS Team of the Matchday, Rafael Santos up for Goal of the Matchday, Marta nominated for NWSL Player of the Week, and more.
Good morning, Mane Landers! I hope your work week got off to a great start. I had a particularly busy Monday, but it’s all downhill from here! After the Tropic Thunder derby win, Orlando City has to be absolutely buzzing. More of that to come in the links below, but, I’m sure Head Coach Oscar Pareja has probably ceased the celebrations by now and has the Lions focused on the next rivalry match against Atlanta United this weekend. Now, let’s get down to it in today’s links.
Orlando City Represented on MLS Team of the Matchday
Pareja cooked up a winning recipe to see the Lions through to a 3-1 victory over Inter Miami this past weekend. His efforts earned him the managerial spot on this week’s Team of the Matchday, along with the bragging rights from beating a rival. Austrian striker Ercan Kara also found himself on the Team of the Matchday, thanks to his brilliant performance that included a goal and an assist in the match.
Rafael Santos Nominated for Goal of the Matchday
Left back Rafaeal Santos was likely one of your last picks for which Lion could end up with a Goal of the Matchday nominee prior to Orlando’s match against Miami. But the defender’s late strike to seal the 3-1 win is up for the honor, along with Leonardo Campana’s goal from the same match.
Marta Nominated for NWSL Player of the Week
This past Saturday, the Orlando Pride toppled the Washington Spirit 2-1 behind an inspiring performance from Marta. The midfielder scored an early penalty kick and provided the assist on Kylie Strom’s winning goal. By doing so, she now finds herself nominated among three others for NWSL Player of the Week.
U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 Begins Tonight
The 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is down to the final 16 teams, with 14 of those representing Major League Soccer. The round of 16 takes place today and tomorrow. El Trafico will take place in the competition for the second straight year, with LAFC and the LA Galaxy meeting tonight night. Elsewhere, Nashville SC will take on Miami, the Houston Dynamo host Minnesota United, and the New York Red Bulls will face FC Cincinnati. Another rivalry match to keep an eye on comes just a few days after the Rocky Mountain Cup, as the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake meet again tomorrow. If you love “cupsets,” then be sure to tune in tomorrow night. Two USL Championship clubs remain and both get to host their matches at home. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds will host the Columbus Crew while the Birmingham Legion look to defeat Charlotte FC, which ended Orlando City’s chance at defending its title in the previous round.
- Check out the list of the best young performers in MLS this past week.
- FC Cincinnati star Luciano Acosta was named MLS Player of the Matchday for leading his team to a victory over its rival.
- AC Milan is reportedly looking at signing Arsenal and USMNT striker Folarin Balogun, who is currently on loan at Stade de Reims in France.
- Tim Ream will miss the Concacaf Nations League and Gold Cup action this summer due to his broken arm.
- Newcastle secured a Champions League berth for the first time in 20 years after a scoreless draw against relegation-threatened Leicester City.
- Juventus was dealt a new 10-point penalty on Monday by an Italian court, which hinders its chances of qualifying for next year’s Champions League.
- Real Madrid filed a complaint with Spanish prosecutors over the racist abuse suffered by Vinicius Junior in its 1-0 defeat against Valencia.
- Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez said Lionel Messi’s possible return to the club this summer mostly depends on the Argentinian player’s desires.
That’s a wrap on the links for today. I wish you the best for the rest of the week. Vamos Orlando!