Lion Links

Lion Links: 7/12/23

Ercan Kara shares his soccer journey, Messiah Bright officially named NWSL Player of the Week, USMNT takes on Panama tonight in Gold Cup semifinal, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. There’s not much new with me lately up here in Chicago. I’ve been busy at work, but I try to catch some soccer whenever I can. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Ercan Kara Shares His Soccer Journey

Orlando City forward Ercan Kara gave some insight about his career, hobbies, and more. He said that two of the most memorable moments in his career were playing his first game for Austria and winning the U.S. Open Cup with Orlando. Kara also discussed his style of play and feels he plays well as a striker. Off the pitch, he enjoys watching NBA games and revealed that the one celebrity he would invite over for dinner would be Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan.

Messiah Bright Named NWSL Player of the Week

Orlando Pride forward Messiah Bright was officially named National Women’s Soccer League Player of the Week, earning the honor for the first time in her young career.

Bright won the league voting on Monday, edging out NJ/NY Gotham FC’s Abby Smith for the award. She scored the lone goal in the Pride’s match this past weekend to defeat OL Reign for the club’s second consecutive win and presented problems for the visitors throughout her time on the pitch. This is also the second straight week that an Orlando Pride player won NWSL Player of the Week, with Julie Doyle claiming the honor last week.

USMNT Takes on Panama Tonight in Gold Cup Semifinal

The United States Men’s National Team will be in action tonight as it takes on Panama in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup semifinals. The match will be played at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, as the U.S. looks to book a spot in the final and continue its quest to repeat as Gold Cup champions. The USMNT will need to eliminate some of the sloppy play it displayed in its last match against Canada in the quarterfinals. The U.S. will need to put in a better performance tonight and not give Panama any confidence to stay in this match. If the USMNT can serve good crosses into the box on set pieces, it can lead to more scoring chances for the Americans. The winner will face either Mexico or Jamaica in the Gold Cup final on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

USWNT Prepares for World Cup Clash With Vietnam

After a 2-0 win over Wales, the United States Women’s National Team will now get ready for its first World Cup match against Vietnam on July 21. Just Women’s Sports shared a scouting report on Vietnam, along with what we should keep an eye on for the match. Huynh Nhu is Vietnam’s top player, with 67 goals in 103 appearances for her country. Vietnam performed well against Germany last month and showed its attacking power despite losing 2-1 in a friendly. Vietnam did lose its next match 2-0 to New Zealand and has one more friendly against Spain tomorrow before it faces the U.S. These two sides have never played against each other before, and the USWNT will need to stay focused to avoid any costly mistakes.

Latest MLS Transfer News

In the latest MLS transfer moves, the LA Galaxy acquired defender Tony Alfaro from New York City FC in exchange for $125,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money (GAM). NYCFC could also receive up to $375,000 in GAM if certain conditions are met. NYCFC signed Algerian forward Mounsef Bakrar from Croatian side NK Istra 1961 to a contract through 2026, with an option for 2027 as well. The Vancouver Whitecaps signed defensive midfielder Andres Cubas to a contract extension as a Designated Player through 2026, with a club option for the 2027 season.

Free Kicks

  • The latest MLS power rankings have been released. The Lions dropped four spots to 11th after their 4-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.
  • This week marks the four-year anniversary of one of our favorite Orlando City moments, the “Running of the Wall” in the 2019 U.S. Open Cup.
  • Check out the sights and sounds from the Orlando Pride’s win against the Reign.
  • Lionel Messi arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday.
  • The Philadelphia Union signed Head Coach Jim Curtin to a new contract extension through the 2026 season. The extension had been widely reported but is now official.
  • Check out this breakdown of the USWNT roster that gives interesting details about the players and their potential impact in this summer’s World Cup.
  • A group of investors is working towards bringing a women’s professional soccer team to Denver, but hasn’t indicated whether it will aim to join the NWSL or the USL Super League.
  • Gabriela Anelli, a Palmeiras supporter, died two days after she was hit in the neck by a beer bottle during a brawl at a match between Palmeiras and Flamengo.
  • Columbus Crew Head Coach Wilfried Nancy will be suspended an additional match after review by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for what it deemed irresponsible behavior towards the referee this past weekend.
  • Former USMNT interim head coach Dave Sarachan has joined Robbie Keane’s staff in Israel as an assistant coach at Maccabi Tel Aviv.
  • The United Soccer League reportedly plans to take a vote on adding the promotion and relegation system to its league structure.
  • Everton is reportedly signing 38-year-old left back Ashley Young.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.


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