What. A. Weekend. Orlando’s three teams went undefeated and ensured about as good a start to the week as you could possibly ask for. That means I started this week riding high and there are plenty of opportunities for it to get better as Orlando City plays tomorrow and Sunday, with Orlando City B taking on FC Cincinnati 2 on Sunday. All of that action means there’s a lot to cover this morning, so let’s get after it.
Lions Earn Recognition After Comeback Victory
Ramiro Enrique and Martin Ojeda were both included in the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday for their roles in Orlando City’s wild 4-3 comeback win against the Columbus Crew on Saturday. Ojeda had a goal and an assist, while Enrique had a brace and an assist and scored the winning goal with practically the last kick of the game. Enrique was also justifiably named the Player of the Matchday for his heroic effort. He joins Cyle Larin, Kaká, and Nani as just the fourth Lion to be named Player of the Matchday, so he’s certainly treading on hallowed ground. Congratulations to both guys, and keep up the good work!
Tab Ramos Reportedly Joins Revs
Tab Ramos has reportedly joined the New England Revolution as an assistant coach. If true, Ramos will try to help interim manager Clint Peay contain the chaos that has enveloped the club in recent weeks. The Revs are still third in the Eastern Conference, but players reportedly refused to train last Tuesday due to a lack of transparency concerning the events around Bruce Arena’s resignation. With all of that going on, it perhaps isn’t surprising that the Revs lost to a woeful Colorado Rapids team on the road on Saturday, and fans will hope that Ramos, who managed the Houston Dynamo for two years, can help get things back on track.
MLS Cuts Matko Miljevic
CF Montreal’s Matko Miljevic has had his contract terminated by the league following an absolutely wild story coming to light last week. Miljevic was reportedly playing in an amateur indoor soccer league using a fake name and subsequently received a lifetime ban from it after punching an opposing player in the face. Needless to say, a story like that doesn’t stay quiet for long, and since playing in another league while under contract with Major League Soccer is a violation of the contract that every player signs when joining, the league was able to end his contract with fairly little fuss. Thus ends one of the more bizarre stories to come across my figurative desk this year.
Injury Bug Ravages Manchester United and Chelsea
Injuries are beginning to pile up at Manchester United as Aaron Wan-Bissaka will now reportedly miss anywhere from a few weeks to two months after sustaining an injury in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Brighton. Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane and Mason Mount are also out, but United’s injury problems pale in comparison to Chelsea’s, as the injury bug is chewing a path through the Blues’ squad. In fact, the London club has enough injured players to field a full starting XI that would be worth more than £370 million and features names like Reece James, Moises Caicedo, and Christopher Nkunku. Despite a 0-0 draw against Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday, Chelsea will likely simply be happy that no one went off injured during the game. United likely wouldn’t complain if it can get a similar result away against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League tomorrow.
- Orlando City rose three spots to fourth place in the latest edition of ESPN‘s MLS power rankings.
- Spain called up a number of players from its Women’s World Cup winning squad for its upcoming UEFA Nations League games, but Jenni Hermoso was not among them.
- Julian Draxler has left Paris Saint-Germain to join Al-Ahli in Qatar on a two-year deal, following in the footsteps of PSG teammate Marco Veratti, who joined last week.
- I leave you with what has to be one of the wildest, most Concacaf-y tackles I’ve seen in my 28 years on this earth.
That does it for me this morning. Y’all stay safe out there.
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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Lion Links: 10/2/23
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