Lion Links: 8/5/23


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Apr 10, 2024

Lion Links: 8/5/23

Pride lose in stoppage time, OCB readies for Inter Miami II, Orlando City Academy boasts six international call-ups, and more. Published on By Welcome to the weekend, Mane Landers! With no first-team

Pride lose in stoppage time, OCB readies for Inter Miami II, Orlando City Academy boasts six international call-ups, and more.




Welcome to the weekend, Mane Landers! With no first-team matches to be had today, my wife and I are taking it as a chance to get out and do some volunteer work today. If you’ve never given it a shot, I highly recommend it. Not only does it boost personal morale to help out those who need it, the world could just generally use more people doing awesome things for others. After that, we should be home in time to tune into the Young Lions at 6 p.m. playing at DRV PNK Stadium. Let’s get to the links!

The Orlando Pride played their final home game of the NWSL Challenge Cup against the Washington Spirit. The match played to a late 1-0 loss as Mariana Speckmaier broke the deadlock in the eighth minute of stoppage time catching Pride goalkeeper Anna Moorehouse off her line. Speckmaier’s strike was her first career shot on goal.

SPECKMAIER SPIRIT STOPPAGE STUNNERMariana Speckmaier's first career shot on goal is a game-winner in Orlando!!

The match came just a few days early for Orlando’s international players to be cleared to play upon returning from the World Cup. Marta, Adriana, Mariana Larroquette, and Rafaelle will all be welcome additions for the back stretch of the regular season as the Pride struggled to hit the back of the net and gave up yet another late goal.

The Young Lions of OCB have made their way south to take on the Pink Chicks of Inter Miami II. The match is set to begin at 6 p.m. in the latest installment of the reserve rivalry. The last meeting that took place in Fort Lauderdale was on May 25, when Orlando forward Jack Lynn finished off a pass from Alex Freeman for the sole goal in the match. Now up to 12 goals this season, Lynn currently sits tied atop the league in the Golden Boot race — level with Atlanta United 2’s Nick Firmino. This match will be Inter Miami’s ninth home game of the season, with the club looking to rebound following its loss on the road against Toronto FC II in its most recent match. With an Orlando City victory, the Lions would sweep the regular-season series against Inter Miami II.

The City Beautiful’s soccer future is bright as six Orlando City Development Academy players have received the call from their international teams to participate in the Concacaf Under-15 Championship. This is the fourth edition of the Concacaf Boys’ U-15 Championship and boasts 41 participating teams from 39 Concacaf member associations and two guest nations from the Asian Football Confederation. The competition will be played in a three-League format (A, B, and C), starting with group stage play, followed by a knockout stage.

If you are looking to catch any of the League A action tomorrow, Jarell Bonilla and El Salvador are set to kick off at 2 p.m. in Group A, Dylan Judelson will be representing Canada in Group C at 4 p.m, and our four Puerto Rican representatives begin at 6 p.m in Group D. Fans can follow all the action through Concacaf Go.

Answering the call ☎️ Congrats to our SIX players called up to represent their national teams for the Concacaf U15 Championship!

After a nervy ending to the group stage of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the United States Women’s National Team will begin its knockout run in the Round of 16 tomorrow against Sweden. The USWNT and Jamaica were the only two Concacaf teams to advance to the knockout round. For those of us watching locally, it will be a very early morning, as we will need to be up and tuned in by 5 a.m. Sweden advanced to the knockout rounds as the winners of Group G, defeating South Africa, Italy, and Argentina along the way. This will be Sweden’s fourth consecutive Women’s World Cup in which it advanced out of the group, and its eighth overall among its nine tournament appearances. However, the United States has now advanced out of the group in all nine of its own trips to the Women’s World Cup.

Dreams to reality💙 I’m a BLUE

That’s all I have for you folks. I hope you enjoy your weekend. And if you get the chance, make a stranger’s day and be the change you want to see in the world. Vamos Orlando!

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August 5, 2023 at 3:57 pm

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Orlando Pride face the Washington Spirit tonight, analyzing Sweden before match with USWNT, MLS transfer news, and more.




How’s it going, Mane Landers? The end of the week is finally in sight, we just have to get through a good chunk of today before we can kick back and relax. I don’t have many weekend plans beyond staying up to watch some soccer and trying something new at the Venezuelan bakery up the road from me. It should be a nice next few days. Let’s get to the links!

The Orlando Pride will aim for their first win of the 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup when they take on the Washington Spirit at 7 p.m. at Exploria Stadium tonight. Both teams have already been eliminated from reaching the knockout stage of the tournament. The last time they faced off was on July 1 in the regular season, with the Pride winning 3-0 on the road. The Pride also beat the Spirit 2-1 on May 20 at home, but fell 4-2 to them on May 10 earlier in the tournament. Nearly every Pride player has participated in this year’s Challenge Cup, with young players like rookies Messiah Bright and Summer Yates receiving useful minutes. Defender Haley McCutcheon’s next appearance will be her 25th as a member of the Pride and 125th across all NWSL competitions.

After finishing second in its group, the United States Women’s National Team will take on a tough Swedish team that won all of its group games. Sweden’s defense has been both physical and resolute this tournament, only conceding once thus far. The USWNT will have to find a way to deal with center back Amanda Ilestedt, who has impressed on both sides of the ball and is a force to be reckoned with in the air. Sweden’s offense is spearheaded by Arsenal’s Stina Blackstenius, with Barcelona’s Fridolina Rolfö and Chelsea’s Johanna Kaneryd attacking through the wings. It will be a tough match, but the USWNT may be able to find the same kind of success counter attacking that South Africa did against the European nation.

American winger Matthew Hoppe is headed to MLS, joining the San Jose Earthquakes on a year-long loan from Middlesbrough. The 22-year-old has had trouble finding playing time abroad, so it’ll be interesting to see how he does for the Earthquakes. The LA Galaxy also made some late moves in the summer transfer window, trading away up to $600,000 in General Allocation Money for FC Dallas midfielder Edwin Cerrillo and trading its first pick in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft and up to $50,000 in conditional GAM to the Colorado Rapids for forward Michael Barrios. They notably added Japanese veteran defender Maya Yoshida to bolster their back line as well.

Elsewhere in the league, Jan Gregus is headed back to Minnesota United after the Loons made a trade with Nashville SC, D.C. United added Panamanian forward Jose Fajardo, and FC Dallas signed midfielder Asier Illarramendi, who has played 350 matches for Real Sociedad and Real Madrid. LAFC also transferred Jose Cifuentes to Rangers in Scotland.

The Women’s World Cup’s Round of 16 is set, with the group stage done and dusted. Morocco came up with a crucial 1-0 win over Colombia that resulted in both teams qualifying for the knockout stage. Germany is eliminated from the tournament after drawing with South Korea in a match it had to win. It’s a tough break for the Germans considering they beat Morocco 6-0 earlier in the tournament, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. Morocco will face France on Monday morning, while Colombia will take on Jamaica on Tuesday. Of the seven debutants for the expanded tournament, Morocco was the only one to reach the Round of 16.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and rest of your weekend.

Orlando City loses in Fort Lauderdale, Marta exits her final World Cup, Jamaica and South Africa make history, and more.




It may take some time to shake off last night, but it’s a brand new day. It’s been a pretty hectic past few weeks given the tournaments going on, and we have a brief respite before the Orlando Pride, Orlando City B, and USWNT are back in action. I plan on distracting myself with some errands and cleaning I’ve been meaning to get to, which admittedly isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. But it’ll be nice to have somewhat of a clean slate heading into this weekend. Let’s get to the links.

The Lions played fairly well but came up short on the road in a 3-1 loss against Inter Miami in Fort Lauderdale. Lionel Messi gave Miami an early lead, but the Lions did well to create chances and found an equalizer soon after. In the second half, the referee called an incredibly soft penalty that handed Miami the lead again. The Lions were unable to claw their way back into the match, with a late consolation goal wiped off the board in the final moment of the match. Orlando now gets a couple of weeks to reset before taking on the Chicago Fire on Aug. 20 in its first regular season game since a 2-1 win over Atlanta United on July 15.

Marta’s sixth and final World Cup came to an end in the group stage, as Brazil’s scoreless draw with Jamaica wasn’t enough to advance. She, along with Orlando Pride teammates Adriana and Rafaelle, started for Brazil in the match. There was an outpouring of support for the 37-year-old from current and former teammates, clubs, and organizations. Before her last World Cup match, Marta spoke on the impact she’s had on women’s soccer both on and off the field.

"We opened the doors to equality." 🙌Ahead of @SelecaoFeminina's final group match at the @FIFAWWC, an emotional Marta reflects on her legacy in the women's game.Legendary 💫

It’s the end of an era that began 20 years ago when she played in her first World Cup at 17, but it’s also the start of a new one for the countless young players she’s inspired over the years. Following the defeat, Marta gave another speech urging everyone to continue supporting women’s soccer.

"Keep supporting. Because for them it's just the beginning. For me, it's the end of the line now. Thank you." Marta's passionate postgame speech will give you chills ❤️🇧🇷

Despite financial difficulties prior to the tournament, Jamaica made history by qualifying for the Round of 16 for the first time. Jamaica’s defense, anchored by sisters Allyson and Chantelle Swaby, has yet to concede a goal this World Cup after matches against Brazil, France, and Panama. South Africa also picked up a historic result, beating Italy 3-2 to finish second in its group and advance to the knockout stage. Thembi Kgatlana gave South Africa the needed winner in stoppage time and spoke after the match about the loss of three family members over the past two weeks and her recovery from an ACL injury last year.

Elsewhere in the tournament, Pride forward Mariana Larroquette and Argentina were eliminated after losing 2-0 to Sweden, finishing last in the group. Kadidiatou Dani had a hat trick in France’s 6-3 win over Panama, but Marta Cox scored Panama’s first World Cup goal in emphatic fashion.

Still thinking about this ridiculous goal from Panama's Marta Cox 🤯🚀(🎥 @FOXSoccer)

Atlanta United improved its attack by adding Georgian forward Saba Lobzhanidze as a Designated Player from Hatayspor and 26-year-old Xande Silva on loan from Dijon FCO. They join a talented Atlanta attack that includes Giorgos Giakoumakis and Thiago Almada and has scored 42 goals this season.

Diego Rossi officially made his return to MLS, joining the Columbus Crew as a Designated Player on a deal through the 2026 season. Meanwhile, the Portland Timbers signed 21-year-old winger Antony from Portuguese side FC Arouca as a U22 Initiative player. Former Lion Richie Laryea is going to play for the Vancouver Whitecaps on loan from Nottingham Forest.

WEAH GOAL OFF MCKENNIE ASSIST 🇺🇸⚽️🇺🇸 Incredible preseason moment, as USMNT teammates Weston McKennie and Tim Weah combine to put one past Thibaut Courtois and Real Madrid. Bonus points to Wes for the lovely pullback assist. Juvent-USA in full

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you have a great day and rest of your week.

Orlando City takes on Inter Miami tonight, Duncan McGuire speaks on his rookie season, Bruce Arena put on administrative leave, and more.




Hello, Mane Landers. How is everyone doing so far this week? I’m doing well and staying busy and excited for tonight’s Leagues Cup Round of 32 matchup against Inter Miami. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City will be on the road tonight as it takes on rival Inter Miami at DRV PNK Stadium in the Round of 32 of the Leagues Cup. Both teams won their respective groups to reach the knockout stages. Duncan McGuire has been in stellar form, scoring in his third straight match for the Lions against Santos Laguna last Saturday in a 3-2 victory. The Lions have gone unbeaten against Miami in six of the last seven matches across all competitions. The last time these two sides met was back on May 20, when the Lions defeated Miami 3-1 on the road. Inter Miami’s roster has changed since then, with the recent additions of Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba. If Facundo Torres scores another goal he’ll be tied with Tesho Akindele for sixth on Orlando’s all-time scoring list. The winner of tonight’s match will move on to the Round of 16 to face either FC Dallas or Mazatlan.

Orlando City has a knack for selecting great forwards in the MLS SuperDraft, with McGuire as the latest example. The 22-year-old leads Orlando’s talented offense with 10 goals across all competitions and shows no signs of slowing down in his first year as a professional.

“I wasn’t thinking it was going to be some huge season. I was obviously hoping I’d get my chance, maybe score a goal or two, play in some games. But my teammates did a good job at helping me transition from the college game, teaching me the ropes about strategy, tactics. They worked with me from day one, helping me out and helped me feel like one of the guys from day one, so that was helpful on their part.

McGuire’s style of play is centered around keeping defenders busy to create space for himself and his teammates, and he’s still developing as the year goes on. He also spoke on his aspiration to play for the United States Men’s National Team to take part in the World Cup and Concacaf Gold Cup.

There was quite a bit of notable transfer news, as the MLS summer transfer window is set to close tonight. The LA Galaxy acquired veteran midfielder Diego Fagundez from Austin FC in exchange for midfielder Memo Rodriguez and up to $900,000 in General Allocation Money. The Columbus Crew are reportedly close to finalizing a deal to bring in former LAFC star Diego Rossi from Fenerbahce in Turkey. Atlanta United signed forward Jamal Thiare to a contract through the 2024 season. Thiare had previously played in Ligue 2 with Le Havre. The Houston Dynamo also made a move, signing attacking midfielder Sebastian Kowalczyk from Polish side Pogon Szczecin. Kowalczyk’s deal is through the 2024 season, with club options for 2025 and 2026. New York City FC added forward Julian Fernandez from Argentinian side Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield. Inter Miami also signed 19-year-old center back Tomas Aviles.

Major League Soccer released a statement on Tuesday that New England Revolution Head Coach and Sporting Director Bruce Arena has been put on administrative leave while an investigation into alleged insensitive and inappropriate remarks takes place.

Statement from MLS on New England Revolution Sporting Director and Head Coach Bruce Arena.

The New England Revolution are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 43 points. The club also released a statement that it takes these allegations seriously and will cooperate with the league throughout the investigation. The players were reportedly told this past Sunday that Arena would be absent from the club, but no reason was given. Curt Onalfo will reportedly serve as the interim sporting director, with Richie Williams as interim head coach while the investigation is ongoing.

On the final day of Group D action in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, England defeated China, 6-1, to reach the knockout stage. Lauren James scored twice to help the Lionesses win all three of their group games. In the other match, Denmark shut out Haiti, 2-0, to advance to the Round of 16 for the first time since 1995, finishing second in the group. In the next round, England will face Nigeria, while Denmark will take on Australia, and both matches will be played on Monday.

Concentrated. Focused. 🟪 #VamosOrlando

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

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