Happy Sunday, Mane Landers! You undoubtedly spent your entire Saturday doing the various chores and tasks you needed to accomplish so that you can either head to the Citrus Bowl tonight or watch the game from home totally uninterrupted. In case you missed any important Orlando City news yesterday--or news from the world of soccer in general--we're here to help!
Before we head to the links, don't forget to check out these stories to get you fully prepared for tonight's game:
Dave Rohe gives you perfect food and beer pairings from the Pride Pub.
Austin Siegel previews tonight's match with starting XI's and a game prediction.
Be sure to check back later today for The Mane Land's How to Watch article in case you can't make it to the Citrus Bowl.
Alright, now let's head to the links:
Kaká to Make Season Debut
Adrian Heath announced that Kaká will make his season debut tonight against the Portland Timbers. Heath stated, "We have our leader back, That's what he is, he's the leader to this group." Look for number 10 to challenge defending champions at home tonight. Additionally, this will be the first match in which Heath will have a full and healthy roster.
Pride Wins Final Preseason Game
The Orlando Pride breezed through its final preseason game against Florida State University. The game was called after 32 minutes due to weather, but despite the short time, the team played what may be its most complete match as a team. Within the minutes played, the team looked cohesive, well rounded, and clearly ready for regular season play. The lone goal was scored by midfielder Lianne Sanderson in the 24th minute. The goal came by chance, when Jasmyne Spencer's shot was deflected and conveniently landed in front of Sanderson, who found the back of the net. However, the highlight of the game may have been thunder that shook the building, leaving players and fans alike reaching for their ears.
The Pride played with four in the back, limiting the Seminoles chances, only allowing Aubrey Bledsoe a few opportunities to get action in goal. This game gave Australians Steph Catley and Laura Alleway the opportunity to get some much needed minutes. Finishing off the preseason with four wins, the Pride outscored its opponents 17-1, feeling fully prepared for the season. Our intrepid reporter Gavin Ewbank was there to check it out for us.
David Longwell, Orlando City's New Academy Director, On His Way to Florida
Scottish Championship (the second tier of Scottish soccer) side St. Mirren bid adieu to its long-time Head of Youth Development David Longwell yesterday as he officially left the team to join Orlando City's organization as its Academy Director. While this move was announced some time ago, it's nice to see the impact Longwell had on St. Mirren in his 15 year tenure at the club.
Short Handed Real Madrid Win El Clasico 2-1, End Barcelona's Unbeaten Streak
In what is perhaps the best rivalry in world soccer, Real Madrid took down Barcelona 2-1 in an extremely chippy and entertaining Clasico. Entering the match, Barcelona, at the top of the table, appeared as the clear favorite to win. With Real Madrid ten points away from the title race, hopes of winning the La Liga title were contingent on winning this game. Playing with only 10 men, following Sergio Ramos' 83rd minute red card, Real Madrid came behind to defeat Barcelona on its home field 2-1. Gerard Pique scored Barcelona's only goal and Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo found the back of the net for Real Madrid. This win gives Madrid three points, putting them only seven points behind their rival and keeps their title hopes alive. Before the match, Barcelona honored former player and manager John Cruyff in a hero's celebration.
Neymar to miss Copa America
As a condition for Barcelona allowing Neymar to participate in this summer's Olympics, he will not play for Brazil in the Copa America. The Olympics are not an official FIFA senior tournament, meaning clubs are not required to release their players. With the Olympics being held in Rio de Janeiro, the top priority for Brazil is bringing home the gold. In addition, Bartomeau hinted at a contract extension between Brazil and Barcelona that would keep Neymar with the team. He also stated that he sees no problem in reaching this agreement, since if Neymar himself wants to stay in Barcelona.
That's it for today's links. Stay tuned to The Mane Land throughout the day for any and all Orlando City versus Portland Timbers news and notes. Other than that, go City!