Lion Links

Lion Links: 3/13/24

Orlando City falls to Tigres, Ramiro Enrique receives an undisclosed fine, OCB signs Zakaria Taifi, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. Now that it feels like spring weather up here in Chicago, I’m back outdoors covering girls soccer, lacrosse, and baseball all week. Hopefully Orlando City bounces back with a win against Atlanta United this weekend. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Falls to Tigres in Mexico

The Lions were eliminated from the Concacaf Champions Cup after a 4-2 loss on the road to Tigres. A slow start doomed the Lions early on, although they had chances to claw their way back into the match. The two teams played to a scoreless draw in Orlando last week, but Orlando unfortunately couldn’t achieve a historic result in the second leg in a tough environment. It’s been a rough March for the Lions so far, but they will now be able to put their full focus on the MLS regular season.

Ramiro Enrique Fined by MLS Disciplinary Committee

At the end of the match between Orlando City and Minnesota United this past Saturday, Orlando midfielder Wilder Cartagena and Minnesota defender Joseph Rosales were involved in an altercation and received red cards after the final whistle. The MLS Disciplinary Committee ruled that both teams were in violation of the mass confrontation policy and official warnings were issued. Orlando forward Ramiro Enrique and Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair were also fined for their roles in escalating the confrontation.

Defender Zakaria Taifi Signs With OCB

Orlando City B has signed academy defender Zakaria Taifi to a two-year MLS NEXT Pro contract through the 2025 season. The 18-year-old made 23 appearances for OCB as an academy player last season, starting in 10 matches and recording 1,118 minutes to help the Young Lions make their first MLS NEXT Pro playoff appearance. Taifi was also crucial for Orlando City’s U-17 squad, which won the MLS NEXT Cup in 2021. This move now means Taifi won’t attend the University of Portland, despite signing a letter of intent in November.

Concacaf Launches First W Champions Cup

Concacaf announced the region’s first women’s continental club competition, the W Champions Cup. The inaugural edition of the competition will start this August and will feature 11 clubs from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean to crown a regional champion. The draw will occur in June, followed by the preliminary round and group stage matches from August through October. The group stage will consist of two groups of five clubs, with the top two teams in each group advancing. The semifinals and final will take place in May of 2025. The Concacaf W Champions Cup winner will qualify for the FIFA Women’s Club World Cup.

Barcelona and Arsenal Advance to Quarterfinals in UEFA Champions League

After the first leg finished in a 1-1 draw between these two sides, Barcelona put on a solid performance at home with a 3-1 win against Napoli. Barcelona advanced 4-2 on aggregate to reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the first time in four years. Arsenal also booked a spot in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2010. Arsenal defeated FC Porto 4-2 on penalty kicks after a 1-0 result to tie things up on aggregate. There is more Champions League action today, as Atletico Madrid hosts Inter Milan while down 1-0 on aggregate, and Borussia Dortmund takes on PSV Eindhoven tied 1-1 on aggregate.

Free Kicks

  • The latest MLS power rankings have been released. The Lions dropped eight places to 22nd after their 3-2 loss to Minnesota this past weekend.
  • Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines gave some insight on wrapping up the preseason as the club prepares for its NWSL opener this Saturday on the road against Racing Louisville.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.


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