Welcome to another matchday, Mane Landers! It seems like months since Orlando City’s last match, despite it only being a couple of weeks. It really makes you wonder how we can go a full off-season without our purple fix. Before the match tonight though, I’ll be heading outside with my buddy to get some rock climbing in. It is sunny and mid-60s here in Kentucky, so I’ll be making the most of the early fall weather.
Don’t get me wrong though, I still miss waking up and walking across the street to the beach every morning when I lived in Florida. Whatever your own location is, I’m glad we all get to call Exploria Stadium our personal “home away from home.” Now enough of the lovey-dovey reminiscing stuff, let’s get into today’s links!
Lions Kick Off Slew of Matches at Home
Orlando City resumes league play tonight at 7:30 p.m. when it hosts the Columbus Crew at Exploria Stadium. The Lions and the Crew last squared off in May earlier this season, where City fought to a second-half comeback 2-2 draw. Former Orlando City forward Ercan Kara and rookie striker Duncan McGuire scored to solidify the club’s third-straight unbeaten match against the Columbus. Today’s match is the first of three in a nine-day span for Orlando as the Lions face a quick turnaround for Wednesday’s road match against New York City FC. The team then turns around to host Inter Miami in the Tropic Thunder derby on Sunday.
Lions Hunting for Milestones
We have officially reached the latter part of the season when players and coaches can start to look down their personal goals lists to see just how well they have done this year. Head Coach Oscar Pareja is hunting two more wins to reach the milestone of 60 as the Lions’ manager. Another milestone hunter is Designated Player Facundo Torres, who currently sits level with former forward Dom Dwyer for fourth on Orlando City’s all-time scoring charts. The Uruguayn’s next goal would mark his 25th and tie him with club legend and inaugural MLS captain Kaká for third in club history. For the team as a whole, Orlando City has made it 10 straight home matches without a loss, which is the club’s longest-ever run within a single season in the MLS era.
Orlando Pride Need Wins for Playoff Run
Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines is calling all supporters for the Pride’s must-win match at Exploria Stadium on Sunday. While the Pride have shown sparks of brilliance at times this year, they’ve lost 10 of their 18 games, leaving crucial points behind along the way. The club has massive six-pointers ahead against Angel City, Racing Louisville, and the Houston Dash. Gathering these pivotal wins would be necessary for the Pride to get back to the postseason for the first time since 2017.
Orlando Pride Releases 2023 Moniker Kits
In recent years, the Orlando front office has taken its merch game up a notch with Moniker jerseys of its different start players. This season, August NWSL Rookie of the Month Messiah Bright and captain Marta each earn the special edition honors. The kit includes a special design backing and a limited edition patch only attainable through buying the Moniker kits. Bright’s design is symbolic of a stained glass window, while Marta’s depicts her being the GOAT (greatest of all-time) of professional women’s soccer.
Orlando City B Clinches Playoff Spot with 1-1 Draw at Fire II
Orlando City B drew Chicago Fire II 1-1 last night at SeatGeek Stadium to clinch its spot in MLS NEXT Pro postseason play. The Young Lions were without the services of star striker Jack Lynn, who is likely suiting up for the senior team tonight following the departure of Ercan Kara. It only took 17 minutes for the Baby Sparks to find the net as Sergio Oregel finished off Billy Hency’s cross. In the 71st minute, Wilfredo Rivera stepped up in Lynn’s absence to level the match. Following full time, OCB’s 20-year-old Venezuelan keeper, Javier Otero, made two saves to secure the extra shootout point, 4-3.
- Inter Miami has signed Ecuadorian international Leonardo Campana to a contract extension through the 2027 MLS season with an option for 2028.
- U.S. Soccer plans to construct the nation’s first-ever designated national training center in the Atlanta area, funded in part by Atlanta United owner Arthur M. Blank’s $50 million contribution.
- Premier League club Everton has been sold to private equity firm 777 Partners in a deal reportedly worth more than $685 million.
- Arsenal is confident of finalizing a contract extension with 24-year-old midfielder Martin Ødegaard, whose deal expires in 2025. It would likely need to be a significant increase on his current £120,000-a-week wage.
- Spain has granted a restraining order to prevent former football federation chief Luis Rubiales from coming near forward Jenni Hermoso.
- Spanish police arrested three Real Madrid youth players for allegedly distributing a sexual video featuring a minor.
- Barcelona will play Real Madrid on Oct. 28 in the first El Clásico matchup of the 2023-24 season.
- The father of 22-year-old student Martin Podhajsky paid Czech third division side FK Usti nad Labem around $22,000 to secure his son a place in the senior squad and guarantee him at least 10 minutes of first-team action this season. His son has never actually played soccer before.
That’s all I have for you today. Let’s all enjoy the return of some first-time action tonight. Vamos Orlando!
Lion Links: 10/2/23
Orlando City’s trophy aspirations, the Orlando Pride playoff hunt, OCB falls to Columbus Crew 2, and more.
Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! Though I’m still reveling in the huge win over CF Montreal, I’m also looking ahead to a big week for both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride. It’s such a great time of the year with MLS and NWSL matches, plus the European leagues, and American football. So much to watch, so little sleep to be had. Let’s get to the links.
Lions Looking for Hardware
Orlando City set a record for wins and points in a season with the win over CF Montreal on Saturday night. Hopefully it’s a record that will be extended over the final three matches of the regular season. The coaches and the players certainly think that Orlando City has an opportunity to win the MLS Cup. Where the Lions finish in the standings will go a long way towards reaching the final and that all starts Wednesday night.
The Pride’s Playoff Push
The Orlando Pride continue their push to make the NWSL playoffs for the first time since the 2017 season with a trip across the country to take on Angel City FC later tonight. It is the first of two away matches this week — the last road games of the regular season. The Pride sit just above Angel City in the standings with the clubs in seventh and eighth places, respectively. The game will be Marta’s 100th match over all competitions. Securing three points over Angel City would make a big difference in the Pride’s race to the playoffs. Keep an eye out for our preview later today.
OCB Penalized Out of the Playoffs
On The Mane Land PawedCast, we often describe Orlando City B matches as being “drunk.” OCB’s 2-1 playoff loss to Columbus Crew 2 will definitely be described as such. There were three red cards, two penalties, and Jack Lynn didn’t score a goal for once. There were some questionable calls by both the refs and by OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman, but conceding only from the penalty spot while outscoring the hosts in the run of play won’t (and shouldn’t) sit well with the Young Lions. While the result is disappointing, one should remember that OCB is a development squad, and one that made the playoffs to boot.
USMNT Players in Action Abroad
USMNT players made some noise this weekend. Christian Pulisic played 82 minutes and scored AC Milan’s winning goal in the club’s 2-0 victory over Lazio. It was one of two shots on target for the American. Striker Folarin Balogun missed not one, but two penalty shots in Monaco’s match against Marseille. Fortunately, Balogun scored an equalizer in the run of play and his teammate secured the 3-2 win. The win moves Monaco to the top of Ligue 1.
Over in the Eredivisie, Malik Tillman got his first start for PSV. Tillman provided an assist and scored the game winner late in second-half stoppage time to give PSV a 3-1 win over FC Volendam. It was a Man of the Match performance by the American. In less good news, Tyler Adams will miss more time with AFC Bournemouth as he has had a setback with his hamstring injury. How long he will be out is still to be determined.
- The San Diego Wave are the first NWSL team to secure a playoff spot thanks in part to Alex Morgan’s goal in the Wave’s 2-0 victory over the Portland Thorns.
- FSU women’s soccer remained undefeated over two matches this week. The first match saw the Noles equalize in the literal last second in a 3-3 draw with North Carolina. The second match was a 2-0 win over The University of Miami.
- Mia Fishel made her debut for Chelsea and scored a goal for her new club in a 2-1 win over Tottenham. Her great start comes only a week or so after her USWNT debut.
- Matt Turner is a golf fan, but he didn’t get drawn into commenting on the U.S. Ryder Cup loss to England. Smart move considering he plays for Nottingham Forest in England.
- Christian Pulisic’s dad wasn’t quite as animated as others following his son’s goal for AC Milan. I’m not saying he wasn’t happy, but he definitely stayed cool and calm.
That will do it for today. It’s a busy week coming up with Pride matches tonight and on Friday, and the Lions playing on Wednesday and Saturday. Check back for all of our coverage of your favorite teams. Vamos Orlando!
Lion Links: 9/30/23
City’s home unbeaten run, Lions hunting for home field advantage, Facundo Torres loves scoring goals, and more.
Welcome to the weekend, Mane Landers. The Lions are closing out the month of September at home tonight with CF Montréal. On Sunday, OCB takes on Crew 2, while the Orlando Pride have a late match against Angel City on Monday. I never hate this time of year, when it seems like at any moment we can turn on the TV and catch a match, whether it be Orlando-based or afar. I’m here for it.
Before we head into the links today, let’s take a moment to wish our Brazilian midfielder and master of the late match dark arts, Felipe, a happy birthday!
Orlando City Go Streaking at Home
After a disappointing 1-1 draw against Inter Miami, Orlando City is powering towards the playoffs. The Lions will take on CF Montréal at Exploria Stadium tonight at 7:30 p.m. The Lions enter the match riding an impressive 10-game unbeaten home streak in league play. On the other side of the ball, CF Montréal has gone five straight games without a win and sits eighth in the East battling hard to stay above the playoff line. Orlando City sits on the cusp of a record points total, with 51 currently tied for the best in club history. A win or draw against tonight’s Canadian opposition would make this the best MLS season in its ninth campaign since joining MLS in 2015.
“Obviously, the last game was a great effort from the team and, you know, you’re disappointed to not take the three points at the end and only be able to take the draw,” Orlando forward Martin Ojeda said. “I think we’re gonna give that little bit extra in these last four games and continue pushing to try and put ourselves in second place or as high as we possibly can.”
Orlando City Hunts for Home Field Advantage
With just four games left in the season, two points separate Orlando City’s second-place position with the New England, which is currently in sixth. The close gap could pivot the upper half of the Eastern Conference table with a combination of different results across the league. While the Lions have clinched a playoff spot, they have yet to fully secure postseason home field advantage. All season the club’s preparation has led up to this crucial moment where a knockout round mentality can push them forward in locking down a playoff match in Exploria Stadium.
“We have pushed for two-and-a-half, three months towards us achieving these objectives and putting the team in the best place we can,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “Now we are in that spot, but we have to sustain it or even go higher. And knowing that in the playoffs, we need to be optimized to be sharp and advance.
Facundo Torres Keeps Scoring
With 12 goals and four assists, Uruguayan Designated Player Facundo Torres is having himself a great season heading into Matchday 35. As it stands, Torres sits tied for fourth in MLS goals and tied for third on the club in assists. If you need a hype video to get you pumped for the match tonight, take a look at this highlight reel showcasing the winger’s prowess in front of the net.
Orlando Pride Travel to Angel City
On Monday night, the Orlando Pride will kick off at 10 p.m. against Angel City at BMO Stadium. Orlando currently sits in seventh place, just a point behind the playoff line. This will be the second meeting between the two sides. In their first fixture, Angel City walked away the victors at Exploria Stadium in April with a 2-1 scoreline. An Angel City first-half goal by forward Claire Emslie was countered early in the second half by Pride forward Messiah Bright. However, it was the visiting team with the last laugh as Angel City forward Katie Johnson scored a last-gasp header at the death in the 10th minute of stoppage time to earn all three points.
- The Orlando City match day media team had quite the time trolling Inter Miami fans at Exploria Stadium.
- Orlando Pride staff put in the extra work this week improving the team’s training facility.
- The United States Men’s Deaf National Team earned a 1-0 win against England in the Round of 16 at the 2023 DIFA Men’s World Deaf Football Championships.
- You can take as many steps as you want when walking up to strike a penalty, but the more you take, the worse you look when you fail at scoring. Just ask Neymar.
- RB Leipzig parted ways with its sporting director Max Eberl amid speculation linking him with Bayern Munich.
- Barcelona moved to the top of La Liga with a 1-0 home win over Sevilla after defender Sergio Ramos accidentally put the ball into his own net in the second half.
- Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell has suffered a serious injury and will likely miss substantial time according to the club.
That’s all I have for you today. Enjoy the match at home tonight. Show up early and be loud. Every point counts this late in the game. Vamos Orlando!
Lion Links: 9/29/23
Orlando City prepares for CF Montreal, learning more about Duncan McGuire, Jack Lynn named to MLS NEXT Pro Best XI, and more.
It’s Friday, which means we’re just one day away from a pretty busy weekend of Orlando soccer. It should be a pretty fun next few days, with Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and Orlando City B all in action. I don’t have many weekend plans beyond working and getting some writing and reading done. Let’s get to the links!
Orlando City Prepares for CF Montreal
Orlando City hosts CF Montreal tomorrow night in a showdown between two Eastern Conference teams with just four games remaining this season. It’s the second match between the two teams this year, with Montreal beating the Lions 2-0 in Canada on May 6. In the time since that game, the Lions have only lost three games this season and have not been defeated at home since April 22. Orlando’s next win will be Head Coach Oscar Pareja’s 60th with the Lions, and tomorrow’s match could also break club records for most wins and points in a season. A win for the Lions would be massive to put some breathing room between them and the other top teams in the Eastern Conference.
Get to Know Duncan McGuire
Orlando forward Duncan McGuire was the latest to go under the microscope as part of the club’s video series to learn more about the players. The rookie spoke on his upbringing as a middle child, as well as how he turned to soccer after struggling in other sports. McGuire also talked about his acrobatic goal celebrations and a clip is included of a time he didn’t quite stick the landing after scoring for Creighton. It’s a pretty fun interview, as he gave some details on how Mason Stajduhar is a quick learner when it comes to golf and how he wants to go out to dinner with Ana de Armas.
Jack Lynn Makes MLS NEXT Pro Best XI
Orlando City B forward Jack Lynn was named to the MLS NEXT Pro’s Best XI for the second straight year. Lynn fueled OCB’s offense this season, scoring 19 goals to help the Young Lions claim a spot in the playoffs. No MLS NEXT Pro player has scored more goals since the league’s inaugural season last year than Lynn, who has 34 goals under his belt. The 23-year-old is joined on the front line of this year’s Best XI with the two players he tied with for the Golden Boot, New York City FC II’s Matt Myers and Colorado Rapids 2 forward Remi Cabral.
Orlando City B Takes On Columbus Crew 2 This Sunday
The Young Lions will play their first MLS NEXT Pro playoff game this Sunday when they face Columbus Crew 2 on the road at 5:30 p.m. It will be the third and final match between the two sides this year, with each claiming a big win over the other earlier in the season. No team that qualified for the playoffs has lost more road games than OCB this season, which may be why Columbus elected to face Orlando. However, Orlando’s offense has been electric at times this year thanks to Lynn, Shak Mohammed, Wilfredo Rivera, and others. Sunday may be another wild game with the Young Lions involved and you can check it out on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.
Tahir Reid-Brown Called Up for Training Camp
United States U-17 Men’s National Team Head Coach Gonzalo Segares called up 20 players for a training camp in Brazil to prepare for the U-17 World Cup in November. OCB defender Tahir Reid-Brown was the lone Orlando representative called up for this camp. The 17-year-old was called up to the U-17 team earlier this April for a training camp in Florida. He’s had an impressive year, earning a spot in the MLS NEXT All-Star Game and making 10 appearances for OCB. The U.S. will take on Brazil on Oct. 4 and Oct. 6 in a pair of friendlies during this camp.
- Orlando City center back Rodrigo Schlegel unveiled the meaning behind his tattoos, including the ones for his parents and his biggest moments as a Lion.
- Former Orlando Pride forward Jodie Taylor announced her retirement. Over the course of her 21-year career, Taylor played for 17 teams across six countries.
- Center back Justen Glad, who has been with Real Salt Lake since 2014, has signed a contract extension with the club through the 2026 season.
- Andres Reyes also signed a new deal, agreeing to a new contract with the New York Red Bulls that begins next year and will last through 2026.
- ESPN‘s Jeff Kassouf gave a nice breakdown on how the NWSL needs to improve, both for itself and the United States Women’s National Team.
- We end our links in the best way possible, as a dog took to the field in Mexico and stole the show.
That’s all I have for you today. Hopefully the weather plays nice this weekend and you’re able to do everything you have planned. Have a great Friday!
Orlando Pride vs. Angel City FC: Final Score 1-0 as Pride Claim Huge Win On the Road
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