Lion Links

Lion Links: 8/3/23

Orlando City loses in Fort Lauderdale, Marta exits her final World Cup, Jamaica and South Africa make history, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

It may take some time to shake off last night, but it’s a brand new day. It’s been a pretty hectic past few weeks given the tournaments going on, and we have a brief respite before the Orlando Pride, Orlando City B, and USWNT are back in action. I plan on distracting myself with some errands and cleaning I’ve been meaning to get to, which admittedly isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. But it’ll be nice to have somewhat of a clean slate heading into this weekend. Let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Falls in Leagues Cup

The Lions played fairly well but came up short on the road in a 3-1 loss against Inter Miami in Fort Lauderdale. Lionel Messi gave Miami an early lead, but the Lions did well to create chances and found an equalizer soon after. In the second half, the referee called an incredibly soft penalty that handed Miami the lead again. The Lions were unable to claw their way back into the match, with a late consolation goal wiped off the board in the final moment of the match. Orlando now gets a couple of weeks to reset before taking on the Chicago Fire on Aug. 20 in its first regular season game since a 2-1 win over Atlanta United on July 15.

Marta, Brazil Exit World Cup

Marta’s sixth and final World Cup came to an end in the group stage, as Brazil’s scoreless draw with Jamaica wasn’t enough to advance. She, along with Orlando Pride teammates Adriana and Rafaelle, started for Brazil in the match. There was an outpouring of support for the 37-year-old from current and former teammates, clubs, and organizations. Before her last World Cup match, Marta spoke on the impact she’s had on women’s soccer both on and off the field.

It’s the end of an era that began 20 years ago when she played in her first World Cup at 17, but it’s also the start of a new one for the countless young players she’s inspired over the years. Following the defeat, Marta gave another speech urging everyone to continue supporting women’s soccer.

Jamaica, South Africa Reach Knockout Stage for First Time

Despite financial difficulties prior to the tournament, Jamaica made history by qualifying for the Round of 16 for the first time. Jamaica’s defense, anchored by sisters Allyson and Chantelle Swaby, has yet to concede a goal this World Cup after matches against Brazil, France, and Panama. South Africa also picked up a historic result, beating Italy 3-2 to finish second in its group and advance to the knockout stage. Thembi Kgatlana gave South Africa the needed winner in stoppage time and spoke after the match about the loss of three family members over the past two weeks and her recovery from an ACL injury last year.

Elsewhere in the tournament, Pride forward Mariana Larroquette and Argentina were eliminated after losing 2-0 to Sweden, finishing last in the group. Kadidiatou Dani had a hat trick in France’s 6-3 win over Panama, but Marta Cox scored Panama’s first World Cup goal in emphatic fashion.

Teams Add Firepower as MLS Summer Transfer Window Closes

Atlanta United improved its attack by adding Georgian forward Saba Lobzhanidze as a Designated Player from Hatayspor and 26-year-old Xande Silva on loan from Dijon FCO. They join a talented Atlanta attack that includes Giorgos Giakoumakis and Thiago Almada and has scored 42 goals this season.

Diego Rossi officially made his return to MLS, joining the Columbus Crew as a Designated Player on a deal through the 2026 season. Meanwhile, the Portland Timbers signed 21-year-old winger Antony from Portuguese side FC Arouca as a U22 Initiative player. Former Lion Richie Laryea is going to play for the Vancouver Whitecaps on loan from Nottingham Forest.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City B is ninth in the latest MLS NEXT Pro power rankings after a 2-1 loss to New York Red Bulls II. The Young Lions will aim to rebound in Saturday’s road match against Inter Miami II.
  • MLS teams took care of business against their Liga MX opponents in Leagues Cup action. FC Dallas advanced after a 2-1 win over Mazatlan, while the Houston Dynamo beat Pachuca in a penalty shootout after a scoreless draw. LAFC then put Juarez to the sword in a 7-1 victory.
  • Americans Weston McKennie and Timothy Weah linked up for Juventus’ second goal in a 3-1 win over Real Madrid at Camping World Stadium.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you have a great day and rest of your week.


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