Orlando City did not look like the same team that cruised through the final weeks of the regular season and had ousted a tough Nashville team in the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs on this night. The Lions were completely overrun at Exploria Stadium by the visiting Columbus Crew in normal time during tonight’s Eastern Conference semifinals match, but despite being down a man after a needless second yellow card from Rodrigo Schlegel, the Lions took the match into extra time before bowing out.
Christian Ramirez got a fortunate rebound off Pedro Gallese’s hand in extra time that hit him and trickled in to break the 0-0 deadlock. Cucho Hernandez added a late insurance goal with the Lions pressed forward, looking for an equalizer. In between, Orlando City had multiple excellent chances to equalize but couldn’t put the ball in the net.
With the loss — the Lions’ first at Exploria Stadium since April 22, a span of 15 matches in all competitions (10-0-5) — Orlando City saw its most successful season since joining Major League Soccer come to a conclusion.
“I thought we could have done much more than that and advance,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “But we have to accept that this is the result of a game that is competitive against a rival who made his case as well to advance through this series. Complicated game, especially in the first half. We felt uncomfortable and couldn’t create many sequences.”
Pareja’s starting lineup produced no surprises, with Gallese in goal behind a back line of Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Schlegel, and Dagur Dan Thorhallsson. Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena played central midfield behind an attacking line of Ivan Angulo, Mauricio Pereyra, and Facundo Torres, with Duncan McGuire up top.
The first half was a cagey one, with Orlando seemingly reluctant to push forward much, yet Columbus applied its usual pressure and looked to counter quickly. The Crew won an early corner after it appeared Thorhallsson had been fouled out of his shoe, but referee Jon Freemon didn’t call it and Columbus took its throw-in quickly. Gallese caught the ensuing corner cross.
Moments later, Schlegel did well to break up a Crew attack in transition after Jansson lost sight of the ball. The Crew then got a free kick in a dangerous position after it appeared Mohamed Farsi was offside and Cartagena broke up the play with a foul. Instead of the flag coming up, the set piece was awarded but the wall did its job and blocked the ensuing attempt.
The Lions got their best chance of the half in the 13th minute when Angulo blazed down the left after taking a pass from Araujo. He cut a nice pass into the middle for Torres, who took an extra touch rather than firing first time. The Uruguayan then blazed a shot that was just inches high, skipping off the top of the net.
Alexandru Matan scuffed a shot attempt in the 14th minute that Gallese saved.
In the 20th minute, Angulo was sent in behind and appeared to be in on goalkeeper Patrick Schulte, but just before he could pull the trigger on his shot, Steven Moreira flew in from behind to poke it away.
Gallese made a huge save in the 23rd minute to deny Diego Rossi as the Crew continued to look dangerous in transition. Seconds later, Schlegel did well to make a sliding block of a cross, conceding a corner but preventing a scoring chance. The Crew couldn’t do anything with the set piece.
Hernandez had a shot blocked in the 26th minute for another Crew corner but again the Lions handled the set piece.
Rossi freed himself for a shot from outside the box in the 33rd minute but missed the target high and to the right. Three minutes later, Gallese had to throw out an arm to deny an Aidan Morris shot from distance that had a lot of power behind it. The Crew kept coming and Hernandez fired wide in the 41st minute.
That was the last decent look of the first half and the teams went into the break scoreless, but Columbus had to be the more confident team after the opening 45 minutes.
The Crew dominated the first half from a statistical standpoint, finishing the opening period with the edge in possession (52.6%-47.4%), shots (9-4), shots on target (3-0), corners (3-1), and passing accuracy (91.1%-84.4%).
Pareja said the Crew didn’t throw anything at them that surprised him but his team just wasn’t sharp enough.
“When we tried to put some passes in the middle third, I thought we got caught in not being precise in the passing and not occupying the spaces,” Pareja said.
If the Crew had the better of the play in the first half, that only intensified after halftime. The Lions struggled to get out of their own half and frequently lost control of the ball when they did get forward.
Jansson did well to win a vital challenge in the first minute after the restart but conceded a corner in doing so.
Orlando’s next chance came in the 48th minute when a ball fell for Thorhallsson but he fired his shot a few feet wide.
Rossi got into a dangerous spot in the 58th minute but hit his shot softly at Gallese for an easy save. Ten minutes later, Rossi was left alone in space about 25 yards out but hit his shot off target.
Jansson did well to block a Hernandez effort in the 73rd minute as the Crew kept coming.
four minutes later, the Lions had the ball forward but turned it over and the Crew sent a long ball over the top that changed the game. Schlegel may have had help from Jansson behind him as he was tracking Rossi, but he may not have known it. Concerned he’d be beaten for pace, the Argentine grabbed the Crew forward and was shown his second yellow card.
Schlegel was sent off, joining Pereyra (2020) as Orlando City players to be ejected from the conference semifinals. Antonio Carlos came off the bench as Angulo was sacrificed from the attack.
“I think it was a good foul. It was one that had to happen,” Torres said. “Obviously, it was an expulsion, but even when we had 11 players it was tough. We weren’t able to get on top of them. And so, going into the next phase of the game with 10, we knew that it was going to be even tougher and that every player was going to have to do double the running and double the effort. We just weren’t able to get it, but it’s what happens in these games.”
“After the red card I thought the boys found ways just to fight,” Pareja said. “It was probably better, I would say. Unorganized, but better in terms of possibilities, and I have big respect for that.”
Hernandez went for an audacious bicycle kick in the 82nd minute but hit it over the bar. The Lions were packed deeply into their end looking to see out normal time and hoping to find something on the counterattack.
Martin Ojeda had a chance to end the game in the sixth minute of stoppage time when Torres intercepted a wayward pass out of the back and fed the winger down the left side. Ojeda took the ball down the left and fired a shot just inches wide of the right post. It would almost certainly have lifted the Lions to an improbable victory if he could have steered it on target.
The crew held lopsided advantages in possession (59.1%-40.9%), shots (17-7), shots on target (4-0), corners (7-2), and passing accuracy (90.5%-81.9%), but the game went into 30 minutes of extra time.
Wilfried Nancy, who hadn’t subbed during normal time, sent Ramirez on for Matan to start the extra session. It paid dividends early in extra time. Freemon allowed play to continue after it appeared that Thorhallsson had been fouled near midfield, and then again after Araujo dribbled the ball out of the box and appeared to get clipped from behind. However, neither was callled and the ensuing cross in was knocked down by Gallese, but he hit it right to a charging Ramirez, who got a piece to bundle in for the opener in the 93rd minute.
Surprisingly, Orlando City, down a man and a goal in extra time, started generating scoring chances. The first of those came in the 100th minute. Substitute Junior Urso carved through the Columbus midfield and fed a pass in behind for fellow sub Kyle Smith. The fullback fired a shot on target but Schulte was able to make a big save.
Ojeda nearly had Ramiro Enrique in behind in the 103rd minute but the pass was a tad heavy and Schulte got there first.
That was the last good look of the first 15 minutes and the Crew led 1-0 at the extra time intermission.
Enrique nearly tied the game in the 106th minute when he again got in but Schulte made another vital save. Two minutes later, Gallese kept the game at 1-0 with a big stop at the other end.
Seconds later came maybe the best chance of all. Ojeda sent in a fantastic cross from the leftthat found Enrique at the near post. His header was on frame but Schulte stuck out a leg and it hit his foot for another big save.
Columbus put the match away in the 118th minute. With Gallese pushed forward as a sweeper, the Crew took possession and the ball found Hernandez, who accurately hit the target from midfield, making it 2-0 and sealing the game. Despite the overzealous MLS Twitter admin’s assertion (see embedded tweet below), it was most certainly not an incredible goal for a player of that caliber with no goalkeeper in the net. It was quite credible but oh well.
It was the third game this season that Orlando City fell behind multiple goals to Columbus but this time there were no late-game heroics to pull it back.
Columbus dominated the stat sheet, finishing with more possession (56.7%-43.3%), shots (20-13), shots on target (7-3), corners (7-6), and passing accuracy (89.5%-81.5%).
Pareja lauded his team’s effort after the match, citing the team finally being able to create some chances to win late in normal time and to equalize once Columbus took the lead.
“That heart probably needed a better reward because they had a few chances where we could equalize the game. It seems like our heart was bigger in those difficult moments but it was not enough.”
“I’m really proud of this team, to be the captain of this team,” Pereyra said. “It was such an honor for me this year. I already thanked the guys because the effort that they made today and during the whole season. They made me and Orlando City fans believe that we could fight for winning things. Today’s the end of this dream, but the effort and the way these dreams made a thing this year was great.”
That’s a wrap on Orlando City’s 2023 season, folks. It was a good one, but the Lions will be left wondering what might have been had Ojeda’s shot in stoppage time had gone in.
Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More
The Lions meet the Herons in the first Tropic Thunder battle of 2024.
Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday afternoon Tropic Thunder matchup between Orlando City and the team’s Publix Enemies, Inter Miami CF at Chase Stadium (4:30 p.m., FOX, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+). It’s the first of two scheduled meetings between the sides this season with the return leg in Orlando set for Wednesday, May 15. It is the only scheduled meeting in Fort Lauderdale.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.
Orlando City is 5-4-4 in the series in all competitions, 2-3-0 on the road in the MLS regular season, and 2-4-0 away in all competitions. The most recent meeting resulted in a 1-1 draw in Orlando on Sept. 24, 2023. Duncan McGuire brought Orlando back from a 1-0 deficit after David Ruiz had given the Herons a 1-0 lead early in the second half.
The most recent meeting in South Florida took place on Aug. 2 of last year in Leagues Cup action. The Herons were fortunate to not see Lionel Messi sent off with a second yellow late in the first half and even more fortunate to get a soft penalty call on Antonio Carlos as they won, 3-1. Messi opened the scoring after being ignored in the box early. Cesar Araujo made up for his uncharacteristic defensive lapse by scoring 10 minutes later. Josef Martinez put Miami back on top with the Downy-soft penalty just after halftime and Messi sunk in the dagger in the final 20 minutes.
The teams also met in Fort Lauderdale in MLS play on May 20, 2023, with Orlando City winning, 3-1. Ercan Kara’s early goal was canceled out by Leonardo Campana shortly before the hour mark, but Martin Ojeda and Rafael Santos found the net in the second half to power the Lions.
Inter Miami won at home, 4-1, on Oct. 5, 2022. Campana scored in the game’s first minute and Orlando City never settled in. Gonzalo Higuain added two goals — one from the spot — and Ariel Lassiter also scored before Kara pulled one back to spoil the shutout.
The first regular-season meeting of 2022 resulted in a 1-0 Orlando City win at Exploria Stadium on July 9, as a stoppage-time own goal by Damion Lowe was the difference between the Lions earning just one point or all three. The ball was sent into the box by Jake Mulraney.
The teams also met at Exploria Stadium on May 25, 2022 in U.S. Open Cup action, with the two sides needing extra time after a scoreless 90 minutes. In extra time, Miami got a goal from Jean Mota against the run of play, but Facundo Torres quickly equalized for Orlando. The match ended 1-1 and Orlando won the ensuing penalty shootout, 4-2. Bryce Duke was denied by Mason Stajduhar and DeAndre Yedlin missed the net during the spot kicks, while all four Orlando shooters scored.
The intrastate rivals played to a scoreless draw in Orlando on Aug. 27, 2021. Tesho Akindele missed a penalty in the match, but the Lions had several other good opportunities to score (but didn’t) in a wasteful performance. Orlando and Miami battled to a 1-1 draw at Exploria Stadium on Aug. 4, 2021. Carlos scored in first-half stoppage time but was knocked into concussion protocol on the play by Kelvin Leerdam. Kieran Gibbs equalized in the 66th minute on a header in front of a less-than-attentive Ruan. Akindele had a goal called back after video review for being offside and the teams split the points. Earlier in the season, the Lions came from behind in Fort Lauderdale to win 2-1 on a pair of brilliant goals by Chris Mueller and Nani on June 25, 2021.
In the final meeting of 2020, the Lions saw their 12-match unbeaten streak end on Oct. 24 in a 2-1 road loss in Fort Lauderdale. Miami defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez’s header in the 89th minute was the difference after a Daryl Dike goal and an own goal off Robin Jansson saw the game tied up at halftime. The teams met in Orlando on Sept. 12, 2020 with Orlando battling to a 2-1 win on Mauricio Pereyra’s goal. The Lions had taken the lead on an own goal by Andres Reyes. Former Lion Brek Shea tied things up in the 65th, before Pereyra answered with a nice goal off the left post in the 69th minute.
The first meeting in Fort Lauderdale opened Phase 1 of Major League Soccer’s return to regular-season play after the MLS is Back Tournament. That one was an uncharacteristically sloppy match for the Lions, who fell 3-2 in Inter Miami’s first-ever home match. It was Miami’s first franchise win after an 0-5-0 start. Orlando trailed by more than one goal for the first time all season in that game. Dike and Nani provided the offense for Orlando, but Julian Carranza’s brace and Rodolfo Pizarro’s insurance goal were enough to lift the Herons.
The first Tropic Thunder match went Orlando City’s way, with Nani scoring late to lift the Lions to a 2-1 win over the upstarts from South Florida in the opening match of the MLS is Back Tournament. Despite it being a tournament match, it was also a league game. Juan Agudelo opened the scoring for the Herons, but Mueller equalized, setting the stage for Nani’s 97th-minute winner.
The Lions are coming off a 3-1 win over Canadian Premier League side Cavalry FC Tuesday. That victory gave Orlando City a 6-1 aggregate score across two legs and the Lions advanced to the Round of 16 in Concacaf Champions Cup. Despite heavy rotation, Orlando got goals from Nico Lodeiro, Ramiro Enrique, and Kyle Smith to advance.
Orlando City last played in a regular-season match a week ago at home against CF Montreal, drawing 0-0. Tonight’s match represents Orlando’s first road game of the 2024 MLS season.
Inter Miami is coming off a 1-1 draw on the road against the LA Galaxy last Sunday. The Herons (stop me if you’ve heard this before) got an enormous break when Mark Delgado was sent off with a second yellow in the 87th minute. Messi scored five minutes later against the shorthanded Galaxy and Miami claimed a point. Delgado’s second yellow was, of course, overturned unanimously by the MLS Disciplinary Committee, but the damage has been done.
The Herons are 1-0-0 at home, having dispatched Real Salt Lake 2-0 in Inter Miami’s home opener Feb. 21.
Miami is one of the favorites in 2024 and is playing confidently under Gerardo Martino and is one of the league’s heavy favorites to win MLS Cup. The Lions must do what they can to limit Messi’s involvement as much as possible. Miami’s attack is formidable enough that it helps the team’s defense, as it is often difficult to dispossess the Herons and maintain extended spells of possession long enough to get at Inter Miami’s back line. That’s exactly what the Lions love to do, so today’s match will be an interesting battle of wills.
It’s a rivalry game, so anything can happen. History suggests it’ll be tight.
“We’re very optimistic after advancing in the Champions Cup and in the performance that we had (at home) in the opener,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “We’re very confident to keep going in this journey. I know we’ll be busy in the next few weeks, but the boys are ready. We’re ready to compete. Now, we’re refocusing on going to Miami, the first time against our rival and getting a result there. Then we’ll think about the game on Tuesday (against Tigres), but first is focusing on our next rival. We already have our feedback, already have our reviews in, but now we’re ready.”
The Lions don’t have any players listed on the team’s availabilitly report. Miami will be without Benjamin Cremaschi (sports hernia), Facundo Farias (knee), Ian Fray (knee), Franco Negri (knee), and Robbie Robinson (medical evaluation), while Ryan Sailor (oblique) is questionable.
- The most recent episode of the PawedCast includes our key matchups and predictions for tonight, as well as our exclusive interview with OCSC rookie midfielder Jeorgio Kocevski.
- Our David Rohe provided his three keys to an Orlando City victory against Inter Miami.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson.
Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Wilder Cartagena.
Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Martin Ojeda, Facundo Torres.
Forward: Duncan McGuire.
Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Kyle Smith, Michael Halliday, David Brekalo, Felipe, Jeorgio Kocevski, Nico Lodeiro, Ramiro Enrique, Luis Muriel.
Inter Miami (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Drake Callender.
Defenders: Jordi Alba, Tomas Aviles, Nicolas Freire, DeAndre Yedlin.
Midfielders: Diego Gomez, Sergio Busquets, Julian Gressel.
Forwards: Robert Taylor, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi.
Bench: CJ dos Santos, Ryan Sailor, Sergii Kryvtsov, Shanyder Borgelin, Jean Mota, Lawson Sunderland, David Ruiz, Noah Allen, Leonardo Campana.
REF: Jaime Herrera.
AR1: Bruno Rizo.
AR2: Regis Cardoso.
4TH: Ivan Cid Cruz.
VAR: Sandro Ricci.
How to Watch
Match Time: 4:30 p.m.
Venue: Chase Stadium — Fort Lauderdale.
TV/Live Stream: FOX, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.
Radio: Real Radio 104.1 FM (English), Acción 97.9 FM, 810 AM (Spanish).
Enjoy the game. Go City!
Luis Muriel Flashed Playmaking Ability vs. Cavalry FC
Luis Muriel showed signs of what he can do with a strong performance in his Orlando City debut.
Luis Muriel is the newest man to wear the no. 9 shirt for Orlando City, taking over for Ercan Kara after the big Austrian left the City Beautiful for the Turkish top flight last summer. Muriel arrived just before the season officially got underway, and we had to wait until the third game of the year against Cavalry FC to see him take the field, as the necessary paperwork had to be completed first.
Once he was on the field, he was a joy to watch. While Cavalry isn’t the toughest opposition that OCSC will face this year, the Canadians (et al) aren’t slouches either, and the Colombian gave them all sorts of trouble as soon as the game got underway. With 14 minutes gone, he directed a header on target, and moments later he broke through the defense with a great run, and only last-gasp closing down from two defenders and an excellent save from Marco Carducci denied him a goal on his debut. He also fizzed a dangerous shot just outside the post with a little under 30 minutes played, continuing his high level of involvement to start the match.
He wasn’t limited to just taking shots though. When Muriel’s signing was announced, Luiz Muzzi went out of his way to highlight the striker’s “…ability to combine with and make his teammates better.” That’s something that we got to see quite a bit of on Tuesday night, as the no. 9 repeatedly dropped into the midfield in search of the ball, showing up as far back as the defensive midfielders at times. Doing so pulled Cavalry players out of position, opened up space in the center, and made it easier for him to either connect with teammates or drive at the defense once he had collected the ball. He spoke after the game about how he liked to go find the ball and get into unexpected areas, and he certainly did a lot of that.
Muriel’s playmaking chops eventually paid dividends on the scoreboard when the Lions grabbed the opening goal of the game. He collected the ball on the right side of the box, and cut onto his left foot where he could have had a shot at goal. Instead, he picked his head up and squared a perfect ball for Nico Lodiero at the top of the 18-yard box, who made it look easy as he hit the well-weighted ball first time and put it off the inside of the left post and into the back of the net.
If you did your research, you had a pretty good idea of what the Lions would be getting when they signed the Colombian international to a three-year deal. Per FBref.com, in the last year, Muriel is in the 99th percentile for passes attempted per 90, progressive passes per 90, expected assisted goals per 90, shot-creating actions per 90, and successful take-ons per 90. He’s in the 98th percentile for shots per 90, and the 86th percentile for non-penalty goals per 90. Those numbers all paint the picture of a forward who scores but is also comfortable as a playmaker, doesn’t hesitate to get his teammates involved, and does so at a high level.
His numbers on Tuesday night only served to reinforce what the scouting told us. Muriel finished with three shots, two of which were on target, and completed 87% of his passes while recording a key pass and an assist — in his first competitive minutes with his new teammates. It was a well-rounded performance that allowed more traditional playmakers like Facundo Torres and Lodeiro to be limited to substitute appearances, helping to preserve their legs at a time when fixture congestion is high.
Tuesday night was a nice preview of what fans can expect when Muriel is on the field. His tendency to go looking for the ball and willingness to bring his teammates into play means that Orlando has the sort of striker that the club hasn’t really had before. It gives the team more options and tactical flexibility, and that’s going to be something to watch as the season continues. Vamos Orlando!
Lion Links: 3/1/24
Orlando’s girls teams playing in national event this weekend, USWNT will face Colombia, Paul Pogba banned for four years, and more.
Welcome to March! It always feels like a good sign when a month starts on a Friday. Spring may not officially be here, but it definitely feels like winter is truly behind us. I plan on getting plenty of spring cleaning done this weekend before a fairly busy month. Let’s get this month started with today’s links!
ECNL Girls National Event Kicks Off Today
Some of the best youth soccer players are coming to Florida this weekend for the Elite Club National League’s spring event at Lakewood Ranch. It’s a great chance for clubs to play teams outside of their conference and there are plenty of scouts to impress as well. Orlando City will have four youth teams take part and each team will play at least three games over the three days. Orlando’s G07 squad has notably won five of its eight games in conference play and will take on Real Colorado National today. Orlando’s squads in the other age groups have some strong opponents lined up as well, so it should be a great experience for the club.
USWNT Will Face Colombia in Concacaf W Gold Cup
After finishing second in its group after a loss to Mexico, the United States Women’s National Team will take on Colombia this Sunday in the Concacaf W Gold Cup quarterfinals. The U.S. and Colombia squared off in friendlies last fall, with the teams playing to a scoreless draw in Utah before the U.S. won 3-0 in San Diego a few days later. Colombia also finished second in its group, conceding just once so far this tournament. The winner of Sunday’s match will play whichever team advances from tomorrow’s game between Canada and Costa Rica. On the other side of the bracket, Orlando Pride players square off when Rafaelle, Adriana, and Brazil play Mariana Larroquette and Argentina tomorrow. The winner of that match will play the victor between Mexico and Paraguay.
Portland Timbers Cut Ties With Jersey Sponsor
The Portland Timbers have dropped DaBella Exteriors as their jersey sponsor amid allegations that the company’s CEO, Donnie McMillan, Jr., sexually harassed employees. The accusations did not become public until Feb. 23 and the Timbers have removed DaBella’s image from their website as well. It makes sense that the Timbers would want to distance themselves from this. There was an investigation by U.S. Soccer in 2022 regarding former Portland Thorns head coach Paul Riley, and the club was also fined by MLS for not reporting an incident of alleged domestic violence involving former Timbers player Andy Polo in a timely manner. DaBella replaced Alaska Airlines as the team’s shirt sponsor for this season and the Timbers will now go without one until a new sponsor is chosen.
Paul Pogba Banned for Four Years
After testing positive for testosterone while playing for Juventus, French midfielder Paul Pogba was banned for the maximum four years by Italy’s anti-doping court. In response to the ruling, Pogba stated that the verdict was “incorrect” and that he will appeal this decision.
“I am sad, shocked and heartbroken that everything I have built in my professional playing career has been taken away from me,” Pogba said. “When I am free of legal restrictions the full story will become clear, but I have never knowingly or deliberately taken any supplements that violate anti-doping regulations.”
It’s fair to wonder just where this news leaves his career if his appeal is denied and he serves the full ban. Pogba turns 31 later this month and he is still under contract with Juventus through 2026, although this ban may obviously change that. Injuries have limited him in recent years as well, as he missed out on the most recent World Cup with France.
- Toronto FC signed English midfielder Matty Longstaff to a contract through the 2025 season. Longstaff has previous played for Newcastle United and should help improve a Toronto team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2020.
- LA Galaxy midfielder Mark Delgado’s second yellow card he received in his team’s opener has been rescinded and he’s eligible for Saturday’s match against the San Jose Earthquakes. Delgado was sent off while the Galaxy were up against Inter Miami, and the Herons then went on to score and leave with a point.
- The New England Revolution beat Independiente to advance to the Concacaf Champions Cup’s round of 16.
- Bay FC forward Racheal Kundananji had to exit Zambia’s Olympic qualifier against Ghana due to an injury.
- The United States Men’s National Team’s next away kit was reportedly leaked and it sure is something. It’s like a Bomb Pop got mixed into the team’s laundry.
- The USL Super League’s Fort Lauderdale United unveiled its branding and the colors are pretty nice. However, the logo has a bit too much alphabet soup going on for my liking.
- An Atletico Madrid supporter was arrested for racially abusing an eight-year-old who was wearing a Vinicius Junior jersey last year. I’m glad they were able to find the person responsible for this. It’s disgusting behavior that needs to be removed from the sport.
- Vladimir Petkovic was hired as Algeria’s next head coach and will manage the team through 2026 World Cup qualifying. Algeria failed to make it out of the group stage of the recent Africa Cup of Nations and has not qualified for the past two World Cups.
- Grace Wilson became the first Australian soccer player to come out as non-binary. Hopefully this helps make things a little easier for other athletes wishing to come out in the future.
- Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn was named as a part owner of the Utah Royals.
- Wayne Rooney stated that he wants to manage either Manchester United or Everton in the next 10 years. He was just fired by Birmingham City in January.
That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!
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