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SkoPurp Soccer Episode 31: Orlando Pride Off-Season Moves

The Pride have been quietly locking players down across multiple position groups this off-season.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Our off-season schedule continues as we reconvene for a December episode and there was more to talk about this time around. The Pride have been busy since our last show and the pattern has started to clarify what the 2024 squad will look like, as well as some of the position groups beyond the next NWSL campaign.

The discussion begins at the back as we talk about the Pride adding one goalkeeper before subtracting another, bringing that position group into focus for the season ahead (and probably beyond). We welcome Sofia Manner in from Finland and say goodbye to the departing Carly Nelson, who is returning to her native Utah.

After the goalkeeper talk, we discussed whether the Orlando Pride overachieved under Seb Hines in 2023. Did Hines get more out of his squad than we should have expected? Did he get the perfect amount? Or did he not quite get as much as the roster had to offer?

Our mailbagbox, asked us about the Pride as a holiday song, what the new midfield signings mean, and about what Haley Carter has brought to the club. Remember, you can ask us anything by hitting us up on Twitter at either @TheManeLand or @SkoPurpSoccer and using the hashtag #AskSkoPurp. Or you can visit our show page, scroll down, and fill out the handy form.

After we answer the mail, we turn our attention to the back line. Orlando has been busily signing the 2023 starting back four to new deals, with three of the four now under contract through 2026, while Rafaelle is under contract through 2025. It’s clear that the club likes this group and it’s putting its money on it. If they can become even more cohesive in 2024, it’ll be a move that pays off.

Finally we turn our attention toward that midfield question from the mailbagbox. The Pride have added a pair of Brazilian internationals to the central midfield and it appears the majority of the roster is now signed through either 2025 or 2026, meaning there should be some continuity across the next couple of seasons. Angelina and Luana, meanwhile, could vastly improve the Pride’s central midfield and they should assimilate quickly since they’re used to playing between defender Rafaelle and attackers Adriana and Marta. They could help spring Orlando’s faster forwards and may also assist with helping the Pride’s fullbacks work the ball up the field with fewer turnovers.


Here’s how Episode 31 went down:

0:15 – The Orlando Pride goalkeeper position seems set for 2024, but who will win the starting job remains to be seen.

17:18 The mailbagbox is the lifeblood of the show. Thanks for the questions!

24:06 – The Pride’s back line has no anxiety whatsoever about contracts for the next couple of years and the midfield has added even more Brazilian ingredients to the roster.

Podcasts

PawedCast Episode 399: Jeorgio Kocevski Interview, Cavalry FC Rewind, Inter Miami Preview, U.S. Open Cup, and More

Our exclusive interview with Orlando City’s rookie midfielder, plus a look back at Cavalry and ahead at Miami.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City was able to rest some starters and still put three goals on the board in a 3-1 home win over Cavalry FC on Tuesday evening. The Lions advance to play Tigres UANL of Liga MX in the Round of 16, but you’ve got to beat the good teams at some point if you want to win the trophy. We break down the win over the Canadian Premier League side, including our first glimpses of Luis Muriel and Shak Mohammed with the first team. We check back on our score predictions and make our selections for Man of the Match.

The United States Men’s National Team is returning to Orlando to face Brazil in a friendly this summer at Camping World Stadium. We discuss how cool that is and how it will tell us a lot about how far the USMNT still has to go.

Rookie midfielder Jeorgio Kocevski is our special guest this week. The Syracuse product earned an MLS contract with Orlando City this preseason after being selected No. 21 overall in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft. We put the rookie through his paces, asking him about his draft experience, his transition to the pro game, his first minutes as a professional, what we can expect from a goal celebration, and much more. Big thanks to Jeorgio for his time and for being a great sport.

This week’s mailbagbox was thirsting for knowledge about David Rohe’s split loyalties if Orlando City ever faces Tallahassee Soccer Club. Remember, if there’s anything — and we do mean anything — you want us to address on the show, just ask us by tweeting it to us at @TheManeLand with the hashtag #AskTMLPC.

Following the mailbagbox, we ranted a bit about Major League Soccer not fully participating in the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, how the league is not respecting a tournament with a long history, and how U.S. Soccer dropped the ball by not dropping the hammer. Nobody wins and everyone loses, and that’s a shame.

Finally, we looked ahead to Saturday’s match in Fort Lauderdale against Inter Miami, giving our key matchups and score predictions. It’s the first of the 2024 Tropic Thunder rivalry matches and we’re hoping for a good outcome, but we’re already side eyeing the refs after what happened to the LA Galaxy’s Mark Delgado over the last several days.


Here’s how No. 399 went down:

0:15 – Orlando City swept its Concacaf Champions Cup tie with Cavalry FC, taking the home leg 3-1 with a heavily rotated lineup. We break down the match..

20:55 – Jeorgio Kocevski jumps on the pod with us and could hardly have been a more personable guest.

37:36 — Our mailbagbox segment, a rant about MLS not being fully involved in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, and a look ahead to a matchup with Miami.

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Podcasts

SkoPurp Soccer Episode 33: Megan Montefusco’s Injury, New Kits, the Player We’re Most Excited to See, and More

A secret Pride preseason, a blow to the team’s depth, new kits, the new Orlando player we’re most excited to see, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

Our off-season schedule continues. After a lot of news in January, the news has been slow of late, despite it being a time of year when it’s normally busy. The Orlando Pride have been exceedingly secretive this preseason, because, when the season is coming up quickly, why be fun or informative when you can be neither?

One thing we know is that defender Megan Montefusco had foot surgery and has been placed on the season-ending injury list. That’s not the fun news we were hoping for, but it is news. It’s also extremely unfortunate for a key depth piece for the Pride and we wish Megan a speedy and full recovery. We discuss where that leaves Orlando’s back line depth, which is important with Rafaelle a regular on her national team.

Our mailbagbox was empty for this episode, but we did have a nice five-star review, so we read that. Remember, you can ask us anything by hitting us up on Twitter at either @TheManeLand or @SkoPurpSoccer and using the hashtag #AskSkoPurp. Or you can visit our show page, scroll down, and fill out the handy form. We’d also appreciate any ratings reviews you can leave wherever you get your podcasts, and if you do that on Apple Podcasts, we’ll find them easily and read them on the show.

The Pride launched two new kits as part of the NWSL’s full, leaguewide kit reset, and we like them. We tell you why.

Finally, we finish with a brief discussion of the new Pride players we’re most looking forward to seeing on the field in 2024. We were in agreement with our top two picks. Who do you want to see?


Here’s how Episode 33 went down:

0:15 – The Pride is keeping preseason a secret, which effectively omits fun and prevents any buzz from building. Also, Megan Montefusco is on the season-ending injury list, and that sucks.

9:31 The mailbagbox may have been empty, but at least we got a nice five-star review.

16:35 – A discussion of the new Orlando Pride kits for 2024. Also: the new Pride player we’re most interested in seeing take the field in 2024.

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Podcasts

PawedCast Episode 398: CF Montreal Rewind, Cavalry FC Preview, and More

A look back at the 0-0 draw to open the regular season and a look ahead at potential advancement in Concacaf Champions Cup.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City loves to draw on opening day, and so the Lions split the points in their first MLS match of the season for the seventh time in 10 seasons. The 0-0 draw against CF Montreal wasn’t the worst result, but it sure wasn’t what we expected or wanted. Orlando City was the better side but couldn’t get the final touch right, which is an unfortunate part of the sport sometimes. It’s not unusual for teams playing in continental tournaments to struggle early in the MLS season. FC Cincinnati and the Philadelphia Union also drew against 2023 non-playoff teams, for example.

After starting the show with some unfinished business from last time, we break down the Lions’ opener against CF Montreal and hey, at least Josef Martinez didn’t score. But then again, Orlando hasn’t allowed a goal on opening day since Oscar Pareja arrived.

This week’s mailbagbox was curious about the roles of Martin Ojeda and Luis Muriel for 2024. We think both players are going to do big things. There was also a question about which of the two major home improvement stores we prefer. Remember, if there’s anything — and we do mean anything — you want us to address on the show, just ask us by tweeting it to us at @TheManeLand with the hashtag #AskTMLPC.

Following the mailbagbox, we had some breaking news that will seem old by the time you listen to this show. I went on a mini rant about MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+. Then, we finished with our key matchups and score predictions for tonight’s game against Cavalry FC in the Concacaf Champions Cup.


Here’s how No. 398 went down:

0:15 – Orlando City got its first win in Concacaf Champions Cup in emphatic fashion, outclassing Cavalry FC with speed and ball movement. We recap.

23:35 – The mailbagbox wants to know about home improvement stores, Muriel, and Ojeda.

38:00 — A rant about MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+ and our key matchups and score predictions for the second leg against Cavalry FC.

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