Lion Links: 5/25/23
Orlando City preps for another rivalry match, OCB visits Inter Miami II tonight, cupsets in the U.S. Open Cup, and more.
Good morning! I’ve had a pretty busy week, but it also hasn’t been too bad as I’m housesitting for some friends and they have pets. It took some time, but I’ve earned the cat’s trust. Before we get to today’s news, we want to thank Paul Lott and John Strickland for their support in our Buy Me a Coffee premium membership program. We look forward to bringing you lots of extras to maximize your TML experience. Now, let’s get to the links!
What to Watch For in Orlando’s Rivalry Match
The Lions will play their sixth and final match of a hectic May when they host Atlanta United on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. It will be the first match between the two rivals this year and both teams have been leaning on their European strikers in recent weeks. Ercan Kara has scored in three straight matches for Orlando, while Greek forward Giorgos Giakoumakis scored a brace for Atlanta last week and has eight goals to his name this season. As for Orlando’s other Designated Players, Martin Ojeda leads the Lions in goal contributions this season and Facundo Torres could make his 50th start across all competitions for Orlando on Saturday. It should be an exciting rivalry match at Exploria Stadium.
Orlando City B Takes On Inter Miami II Tonight
The Young Lions are on the road but not far from home as they take on Inter Miami II tonight at 7 p.m. and you’ll be able to watch on MLS Season Pass. These two teams last met on April 9 at Osceola County Stadium, with OCB winning 2-0, thanks to goals from Jack Lynn and Favian Loyola. Lynn also came off the bench to bag a brace in OCB’s comeback draw with Atlanta United 2 on May 19. Midfielder Cristian Medina and forward Moises Tablante were also key attackers in that result. Hopefully the Young Lions can bring the firepower again tonight and return to Orlando with bragging rights and all three points.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Birmingham Legion Win in U.S. Open Cup
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup dream lives on for the USL Championship’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Birmingham Legion after they both defeated their MLS opponents to reach the quarterfinals. The Riverhounds beat the Columbus Crew 1-0 at home, with former OCB forward Albert Dikwa scoring the game’s only goal. In Alabama, the Legion won 1-0 against Charlotte FC, which had to play a man down for most of the second half after Adilson Malanda was given his second yellow card in the 51st minute. They are the only teams outside of MLS left in the competition.
MLS’s Diversity Stands Out Among Pro Leagues
MLS features players from over 81 different countries, making it the most geographically diverse men’s professional league in North America. It’s the second straight year that MLS has players from over 80 countries and it is also the most globally represented league among the top men’s soccer leagues around the world. Other than the U.S. and Canada, Argentina has the most representatives in MLS, with 37 players. MLS also has the youngest player pool among the top five men’s pro leagues in North America, with an average age of 26 years and 129 days old.
- Orlando Pride forward Amanda Allen was set to start for Canada in the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship, but the day’s games were postponed due to weather.
- Bongokuhle Hlongwane won MLS Goal of the Matchday for his late winner over the Portland Timbers. Orlando’s Rafael Santos finished third with 9.8% of the vote, beating out Miami’s Leonardo Campana.
- OL Reign Head Coach Laura Harvey stated that American midfielder Rose Lavelle may not feature for the club before the Women’s World Cup this summer due to her knee injury.
- The Chicago Fire signed Homegrown Player Mauricio Pineda to a contract extension that will keep him in Chicago through the 2026 season, with an option for 2027 as well.
- CF Montreal reached the Canadian Championship final after beating Forge FC 2-0.
- D.C. United defender Mohanad Jeahze had his suspension lifted by MLS and can resume team activities.
- U.S. Soccer Sports Director Matt Crocker fielded questions on how the search for the USMNT’s next coach is going and how the USSF is helping its teams prepare for the Women’s World Cup, Nations League, and Gold Cup.
- The USL Academy League announced the launch of inaugural girls divisions this summer, with additional boys programs also coming this year.
- Inter Milan won the Coppa Italia for the second straight year after beating Fiorentina 2-1, with Lautaro Martinez scoring twice in the first half.
- Brighton & Hove Albion booked its spot in next year’s Europa League after a 1-1 draw with Manchester City.
- Amid reports of a player revolt regarding his tactics, Ruud van Nistelrooy has quit as PSV Eindhoven’s manager.
- Spanish defender Jordi Alba will depart FC Barcelona this summer after 11 years at the club. The 34-year-old’s final home match for Barcelona will be this Sunday against Mallorca.
That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!