Lion Links

Lion Links: 3/22/24

Orlando Pride host Angel City tonight, Kay Rawlins speaks on her impact, USMNT survives against Jamaica, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Happy Friday! I know the college basketball tournaments are upon us, but there was nothing filled with more madness than the United States Men’s National Team’s game last night. Before we dive into that and more in today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando City winger Ivan Angulo. Hopefully he can celebrate this weekend with a couple of goals.

Orlando Pride Play Home Opener Tonight

After a gritty 2-2 draw on the road to start their season, the Orlando Pride are back in the City Beautiful to take on Angel City FC for their home opener tonight. Pride newcomers Morgan Gautrat, Angelina, and Luana all started last week in the Pride’s midfield, and substitutes Summer Yates and Amanda Allen combined to give Orlando its equalizer. The Pride won a record seven home games last year, and Head Coach Seb Hines talked about the importance of the home crowd continuing to bring it in 2024.

As for what to watch for in tonight’s match, goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse surpassed Erin McLeod for second on the club’s all-time save list and her next appearance will be her 30th with the Pride. Due to injuries and Kylie Strom being sent off in Louisville, defender Carrie Lawrence could make her return after a season-ending injury last year.

Kay Rawlins’ Impact on Orlando Soccer

It’s Women’s History Month and Orlando City SC Founder Kay Rawlins spoke on the role she and others have had in building the club and its community. She also detailed some of the challenges that women in leadership positions face in the sports industry, as well as how things have improved in the time since the club was announced as a USL Pro team in 2010.

“Being one of the founders meant I never felt intimidated, no matter how many guys were in the room,” she said. “Obviously, especially back in the old days, I was pretty much the single female employee — nevermind that the VP was the only female employee. Seeing how things have changed since then, especially in the last two-to-three years, having more women in leadership roles, having many, many more women throughout the whole enterprise, it makes me makes me incredibly happy.”

Rawlins has done extensive work with the Orlando City Foundation to impact the community, helped start the Orlando Pride, and talked on the importance of allies to stand up and speak out against the denigration of women.

USMNT Narrowly Beats Jamaica

The United States Men’s National Team clawed its way to a 3-1 win against Jamaica in the Concacaf Nations League semifinals. The U.S. conceded a goal in the first minute of the match and had to spend a majority of the game trying to break down a formidable Jamaican defense anchored by goalkeeper Andre Blake. The Yanks didn’t find their equalizer until five minutes into stoppage time, scoring off of a corner kick thanks to a nice flick towards goal by Miles Robinson that deflected off Cory Burke and into the net. Haji Wright, who was added to the roster due to an injury to Josh Sargent, then scored twice in extra time, with Giovanni Reyna assisting on both goals. Despite winning, hopefully the USMNT will be a bit sharper when they play in the final on Sunday.

Euro Qualifying Reaches Final Stage

The playoffs are underway for the final three available spots in this summer’s European Championship. Home-field advantage was critical in these matches, as Bosnia-Herzegovina was the only team playing in its own country to lose, falling 2-1 to Ukraine. Iceland beat Israel 4-1 in a match that was closer than the score suggests, with Albert Gudmundsson scoring a hat trick. Luxembourg’s high hopes also came to an end following a 2-0 loss to Georgia. Elsewhere across Europe, Poland cruised past Estonia, Wales comfortably beat Finland, and Greece shut out Kazakhstan. This all sets up for the final playoff matches on Tuesday, with the winners securing a spot in the Euros. Wales will host Poland, Ukraine and Iceland will square off in Poland, and Greece will hit the road to take on Georgia.

Free Kicks

  • Former Lions Sacha Kljestan and Brian Rowe both joined the Des Moines Menace and played crucial roles in the team’s recent U.S. Open Cup victory.
  • The Washington Spirit will reportedly sign Colombian midfielder Leicy Santos, who will join the team once her season with Atletico Madrid is over.
  • Lyon midfielder Mahamadou Diawara left France’s U-19 squad due to the new rules implemented by the French Football Federation that prevent Muslim players from fasting during Ramadan.
  • Luis Rubiales could face arrest as Spanish police continue their investigation into money laundering and corruption regarding the Spanish Super Cup moving to be held in Saudi Arabia.
  • Leicester City, which is fighting to earn promotion back into the English Premier League, could be deducted points due to alleged breaches in the EPL’s profit and sustainability rules.

That’s all from me today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend. Go Orlando!


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