Good Monday morning, Mane Landers. I hope you got your fill of fun during the weekend because it's time to get back to the grind. Make sure you have your coffee of choice, as long as it's caffeinated. The sooner the day gets done, the sooner the season starts. So let's get right to today's Lion Links.
Orlando City Beats Toronto FC in Preseason
Our Lions were in preseason action this weekend, and they ended up on top of rival Toronto FC 2-1. Kaká would come out of this match with a brace after a slow start from Orlando City. The Lions trailed early, in the fifth minute of the match, but they would get it together to come out as victors. Personally, I'm looking forward to the Lions doing this to Toronto FC in the regular season for payback from last year. I know I have June 25 circled on my calendar when Toronto comes to the Citrus Bowl.
Kevin Molino showed a bit of the link-up play with Kaká that we saw early last season, and also drew the penalty to set up Ricky's game-winning goal. Keep an eye out for our piece on Kevin Molino later today.
Unfortunately, Sunday wasn't as kind to the Lions' reserves, as Orlando City B fell 1-0 to Oklahoma City Energy FC at IMG Academy in Bradenton in preseason friendly action.
The USWNT Rules CONCACAF
The United States Women's National Team ran the table at the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament by beating our rivals to the north, Canada, by a score of 2-0. This was the fourth time in a row the U.S. has won the tournament, and this year the USWNT swept the awards by claiming the Fair Play award, Golden Boot, Golden Glove, and Golden Ball award to Crystal Dunn, Hope Solo and Morgan Brian, respectively. Up next for the team will be the 2016 SheBelieves Cup with Germany, England and France in March as a tune-up for Rio.
A host of USWNT players were named to the Best XI from the tourney, including the Orlando Pride's own Alex Morgan.
Tourney Best XI: Solo, O'Hara, Chapman, Sauerbrunn, Buchanan, Horan, Brian, Lawrence, Heath, Morgan, Lloyd— Hal Kaiser (@Hal_Kaiser) February 22, 2016
Copa América Centenario Draw
Late Sunday night, the draw was held for the Copa América Centenario, which would determine what matches would be played in Orlando as well as the group that the USMNT would be drawn into, and the results weren't great on either end. The U.S. ended up in a tough group by being placed with Colombia, Paraguay, and Costa Rica. The rest of the draw also resulted in Orlando matches being Costa Rica vs. Paraguay on June 4, Brazil vs. Haiti on June 8, and Panama vs. Bolivia on June 6. I wouldn't say these were the worst matches to see in the Citrus Bowl, but there could have been better ones had the draw gone a different way.
Overseas Refs Lay Down the Law
Finally, as we all know, soccer can be a pretty passionate game. We saw that passion last year when Clint Dempsey was banned from U.S. Open Cup for TWO YEARS after the Sounders striker ripped up a referee's notebook, or when Jermaine Jones received a red card during the playoffs when New England played D.C. United. Well, in Germany, Bayer Leverkusen manager Roger Schmidt refused to leave the pitch once ejected from the match and the referee suspended the match until he left. In Turkey, things really got a bit out of hand as Trabzonspor ended a match against Galatasaray with only seven players left on the pitch. The craziest part of that exchange is that one of the Trabzonspor players showed the referee his own red card, which promptly got him ejected. Ah, soccer. You really never know what you're going to see on the pitch sometimes.
Well that's all the links for today, Mane Landers. Keep Roaring!