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Lion Links: 9/11/23

Orlando City and Orlando Pride news, USMNT friendlies, Courage win the Challenge Cup, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers. We don’t do politics here at The Mane Land, but we do honor the memory of those who lost their lives on that tragic day 22 years ago today. As you go through your day, keep in mind those important in your life, and let them know how you are thinking of them. I know I will. I am also going to be grateful that I get to cover and support Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and OCB. Let’s get to the links.

Luca Petrasso, Celia Spotlighted During FIFA Break

If you were curious about Luca Petrasso, there is a good interview from the Orlando City defender in the latest episode of Orlando City Insider. Evan Weston and Miguel Gallardo also looked back at Orlando City’s win over FC Cincinnati and outlined the challenges facing the Lions with the departure of Ercan Kara. The pair also spoke about the Orlando Pride’s playoff chances, and Celia sat down for an interview. It’s always nice to learn about the players’ backgrounds and their thoughts on the club and their place in it.

USMNT Outlasts Uzbekistan, Preps for Oman

Despite the 3-0 victory, the U.S. struggled in the final third of the pitch against Uzbekistan on Saturday night. Tim Weah got things started in the fourth minute of play, but the U.S. did not score again until Ricardo Pepi’s second-half stoppage time goal. Christian Pulisic added another goal on a penalty kick to finish the scoring. In between the first and second goals, the U.S. had a hard time connecting passes and creating chances.

Gregg Berharlter knows the U.S. will need to improve going forward, and the first opportunity to do so comes tomorrow night against Oman at Allianz Field in Minnesota. Other than the absence of Gio Reyna and Tyler Adams due to injury, Berhalter has brought in a first-choice squad for these friendlies. Hopefully, the USMNT can clean things up against Oman.

Revolution, Germany Part Ways with Coaches

It often feels like when there is one coaching change in a sport, a bunch more follow. The big news in MLS is the resignation of former USMNT coach Bruce Arena from the New England Revolution. On July 30, Arena was put on administrative leave pending an investigation. That investigation found merit to the allegations leading to Arena’s resignation.

Internationally, Germany fired Hansi Flick following a 4-1 loss to Japan. Despite the result, Flick said he felt he was still the man for the job, but the German Football Association did not agree. Germany have not won any of their past five matches. For the next friendly Germany will be coached by committee.

Courage Win Challenge Cup

It was a Challenge Cup to be forgotten for the Orlando Pride, but for the North Carolina Courage it ended up being a trophy. The Courage defeated Racing Louisville 2-0 to capture a second straight Challenge Cup. The Courage are the first club to win multiple Challenge Cups, though the second one was delayed due to a two-and-half-hour lightning delay. Ultimately, the weather couldn’t stop North Carolina from celebrating a big victory.

Free Kicks

  • Manchester United’s Antony is taking a leave of absence due to allegations of abuse by the player from three women. There is no timeline for his return.
  • Neymar received a plaque for becoming Brazil’s all-time scoring leader, breaking Pele’s scoring record. There is an asterisk though since the award is for goals scored against national teams. As such, there are some Brazilians that are saying Pele is still the leader.
  • Luis Rubiales resigned as president of the Spanish soccer federation after intense pressure from players, fans, and the general public for an unwanted kiss with Spanish footballer Jennifer Hermoso.
  • Former USMNT coach Bob Bradley returned to manage Stabaek in the Norwegian Eliteserien. Bradley previously coached Stabaek in 2014 and 2015.

That will do it for today. Please check back with us as we preview the upcoming matches for Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and OCB. The USMNT is back in action tomorrow. Go USA!

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  1. Zontar

    September 11, 2023 at 9:56 am

    I don’t see where Lion Links has covered it, but Bruce Arena resigned over the weekend as manager of the New England Revolution and it appears his career as a manager in MLS is now over. In case anybody doesn’t know what happened, in early August Arena was placed on leave for saying something offensive and inappropriate while the league investigated the allegations. No players know what he said and Reddit, which is sometimes the only source of information in such matters of secrecy, has no idea what he said.

    It seems that what happened is that Arena’s long time assistant coach Richie Williams is looking for revenge. We know now that Williams filed complaints with the league against Arena. Before the season Arena told Williams’ representatives that Williams would not return in 2024 to the Revolution and he needed to find another job for that year. These allegations seem to be payback for that. Some Revolution fans have raised a valid point on Reddit that rewarding Williams with the manager’s job for ratting out Arena isn’t a great idea.

    There’s a little more, but I’ll stop for now except to point out that whatever Arena said, it wasn’t racist.

    • Michael Citro

      September 11, 2023 at 3:30 pm

      You can’t find where it was covered in Lion Links? Look above in the third section.

      • Zontar

        September 12, 2023 at 8:08 am

        Sorry! That is on me. Since Arena wasn’t mentioned by name in that headline, I skipped it.

        I would say that it seems that the real reason he quit wasn’t that what he said was so evil that there was no path back. Nobody mentions him getting sensitivity training and I think he quit rather than do that and him getting such training is why he has to apply to come back to the league.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/18/23

Enrique’s great day, Pride upset the Courage, USMNT players abroad, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers. I was feeling a bit under the weather starting Saturday afternoon, but that huge comeback win definitely helped. I was starting to feel better by Sunday afternoon, but by the end of the Pride match I was right as rain. Winning really does make everything better. Let’s get to the links.

Enrique’s Very Good, Not Bad Day

Ramiro Enrique was already a hero for scoring the equalizer in the 86th minute against the visiting Columbus Crew. It wasn’t enough for the young striker, as he earned a free kick close enough to goal to give Orlando City the opportunity to win the match. That still wasn’t enough for Enrique, so he decided to score the winner. If you somehow forgot what it looked like, please enjoy watching it over and over again.

Oscar Pareja said he was proud of his team and confident that the Lions could not only earn a draw but actually win in the last 15 minutes of the match. That belief was held by the players as well. Enrique experienced a moment of pure joy after scoring the winner — you can see it in his celebration — though he was most happy for the three points. Mauricio Pereyra said he is just proud to be the captain of this team. I think it is safe to say that after that result we’re all proud of this team.

Orlando Pride Stun Courage

Two first-half goals were enough to give the Orlando Pride a rare 2-1 win against the North Carolina Courage and in September. Neither of those things have historically come easy for the Pride, but given the fact that Ally Watt scoring the earliest goal in Pride history set the right tone for the evening. The win moved the the Pride into seventh place and — just as importantly — only one spot out of the playoffs. The Pride will be in action next on Oct. 2 at Angel City. If you missed our recap late last night, click the link above and enjoy Sean Rollins’ description of the match.

How USMNT Players Fared Abroad

Folarin Balogun went right from scoring a goal for the USMNT to scoring a goal for AS Monaco in a 2-2 draw with Lorient. Balogun came on as a sub and provided the equalizer for his new club. The USMNT striker is red hot, as is Ricardo Pepi, which makes Gregg Berhalter’s choice difficult going forward. Weston McKennie made his 100th appearance for Juventus and provided an assist in a 3-1 win over Lazio. Much like he did for the USMNT, McKennie played an excellent match.

English Premier League Highlights

Manchester City and Liverpool each scored three goals to win easily against West Ham United and Wolves, respectively. The two top four clubs earned easy, controversy-free victories. However, both Tottenham and Arsenal won, but they did not do so easily or without controversy.

Everton is not good. The Toffees are sitting in the relegation zone with zero wins and only one draw so far this season. Despite that, it took Arsenal until the 69th minute to score the only goal of the match to get the win. It was even harder for Tottenham, given it took two second-half, stoppage-time goals to defeat Sheffield United. United manager Paul Heckingbottom was furious with the officiating.

Free Kicks

  • Do you think you can play in most pick-up soccer matches? You almost certainly cannot make the cut for this one in Manchester, England. The players were once paid to play, though they now pay to play — they play a whopping £5.
  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino attended the Dallas Cowboys game on Sunday. AT&T Stadium is a possible venue for the next World Cup. Does anyone else think — and I say this as a Cowboys fan — that this was a meeting of the sports equivalent of the Legion of Doom?
  • Never mind that, this is the actual Axis of Evil. I can’t believe I’m giving Atlanta United credit, but this was well done at Inter Miami’s expense.

Check back with The Mane Land as we get you ready for the midweek match Wednesday against New York City FC. That will do it for today other than one plea to the Orlando City front office and the Wilf family: please give Oscar Pareja, Luiz Muzzi, and Ricardo Moreira new contracts. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/16/23

Orlando City resumes MLS play at home, Lions chasing milestones, OCB clinches a playoff spot, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Welcome to another matchday, Mane Landers! It seems like months since Orlando City’s last match, despite it only being a couple of weeks. It really makes you wonder how we can go a full off-season without our purple fix. Before the match tonight though, I’ll be heading outside with my buddy to get some rock climbing in. It is sunny and mid-60s here in Kentucky, so I’ll be making the most of the early fall weather.

Don’t get me wrong though, I still miss waking up and walking across the street to the beach every morning when I lived in Florida. Whatever your own location is, I’m glad we all get to call Exploria Stadium our personal “home away from home.” Now enough of the lovey-dovey reminiscing stuff, let’s get into today’s links!

Lions Kick Off Slew of Matches at Home

Orlando City resumes league play tonight at 7:30 p.m. when it hosts the Columbus Crew at Exploria Stadium. The Lions and the Crew last squared off in May earlier this season, where City fought to a second-half comeback 2-2 draw. Former Orlando City forward Ercan Kara and rookie striker Duncan McGuire scored to solidify the club’s third-straight unbeaten match against the Columbus. Today’s match is the first of three in a nine-day span for Orlando as the Lions face a quick turnaround for Wednesday’s road match against New York City FC. The team then turns around to host Inter Miami in the Tropic Thunder derby on Sunday.

Lions Hunting for Milestones

We have officially reached the latter part of the season when players and coaches can start to look down their personal goals lists to see just how well they have done this year. Head Coach Oscar Pareja is hunting two more wins to reach the milestone of 60 as the Lions’ manager. Another milestone hunter is Designated Player Facundo Torres, who currently sits level with former forward Dom Dwyer for fourth on Orlando City’s all-time scoring charts. The Uruguayn’s next goal would mark his 25th and tie him with club legend and inaugural MLS captain Kaká for third in club history. For the team as a whole, Orlando City has made it 10 straight home matches without a loss, which is the club’s longest-ever run within a single season in the MLS era.

Orlando Pride Need Wins for Playoff Run

Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines is calling all supporters for the Pride’s must-win match at Exploria Stadium on Sunday. While the Pride have shown sparks of brilliance at times this year, they’ve lost 10 of their 18 games, leaving crucial points behind along the way. The club has massive six-pointers ahead against Angel City, Racing Louisville, and the Houston Dash. Gathering these pivotal wins would be necessary for the Pride to get back to the postseason for the first time since 2017.

Orlando Pride Releases 2023 Moniker Kits

In recent years, the Orlando front office has taken its merch game up a notch with Moniker jerseys of its different start players. This season, August NWSL Rookie of the Month Messiah Bright and captain Marta each earn the special edition honors. The kit includes a special design backing and a limited edition patch only attainable through buying the Moniker kits. Bright’s design is symbolic of a stained glass window, while Marta’s depicts her being the GOAT (greatest of all-time) of professional women’s soccer.

Orlando City B Clinches Playoff Spot with 1-1 Draw at Fire II

Orlando City B drew Chicago Fire II 1-1 last night at SeatGeek Stadium to clinch its spot in MLS NEXT Pro postseason play. The Young Lions were without the services of star striker Jack Lynn, who is likely suiting up for the senior team tonight following the departure of Ercan Kara. It only took 17 minutes for the Baby Sparks to find the net as Sergio Oregel finished off Billy Hency’s cross. In the 71st minute, Wilfredo Rivera stepped up in Lynn’s absence to level the match. Following full time, OCB’s 20-year-old Venezuelan keeper, Javier Otero, made two saves to secure the extra shootout point, 4-3.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you today. Let’s all enjoy the return of some first-time action tonight. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/15/23

Pedro Gallese stands out during the international break, Orlando Pride prepare for the North Carolina Courage, OCB takes on Chicago tonight, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

It’s finally Friday! I don’t know about you, but this week has felt like forever for me. I don’t have many plans this weekend beyond touring some apartments, packing, and working. Regardless, I’m looking forward to checking out some soccer when I can and enjoying being outside without melting into a puddle. Let’s get into today’s links!

Pedro Gallese Impressed During International Break

Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese stood out among the many MLS players who represented their countries during the recent international break. Gallese came up with six saves in Peru’s scoreless draw on the road against Paraguay, and then did well against Brazil in a 1-0 loss. It was further proof towards how important it was that the Lions signed him to a new contract last December, as Gallese’s form is consistent at the club and international level. Wilder Cartagena and Facundo Torres were also noted for receiving some valuable minutes with Peru and Uruguay, respectively.

Orlando Pride Focused Ahead of Sunday’s Match

The Orlando Pride are back in action Sunday night for a pivotal match with the North Carolina Courage at Exploria Stadium. After losing their past two games, the Pride are ninth in the league standings and need a win to insert themselves back in the playoff race. They take on a Courage team that is third in the league and just won the NWSL Challenge Cup. However, the Courage enter this game on short rest and have not won a league game since July 1 (0-2-2). Pride defender Emily Madril spoke on how the team is focused on winning its remaining four matches, starting with Sunday’s.

Orlando City and Orlando Pride Partner With Inter&Co

Inter&Co, which offers finance solutions and digital commerce services, was named the official financial institution of both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride as part of a new partnership. It’s the Brazilian company’s first partnership with an NWSL club, and it’ll be interesting to see what kinds of collaborations come from this partnership in the future. Fans can learn more about the company at tomorrow’s game between Orlando City and the Columbus Crew. It does feel a little wrong to partner with a company named Inter though.

Orlando City B Plays Chicago Fire II Tonight

Orlando City B has a chance to clinch a spot in the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs when it takes on Chicago Fire II tonight at 7 p.m. The same can be said for Chicago, making tonight’s match a critical one for both sides. The Young Lions have excelled offensively this year, recording 236 key passes and 56 goals. Of those goals, 11 have come from outside the box, the second most in the league. Forward Jack Lynn remains tied in the Golden Boot race with New York City FC II’s Matt Myers, with both sitting on 18 goals. Lynn is expected on the bench in Orlando on Saturday night, however, so he may not make the trip to Chicago. Hopefully the Young Lions can get the job done tonight on the road and qualify for the playoffs for the first time.

Free Kicks

  • American defender Sam Vines won’t be taking part in Antwerp’s Champions League games in the group stage due to an error.

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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