It’s Hump Day, people! Let’s get excited for a quick week filled with UEFA Champions League and, (almost) more importantly, the NFL Draft. For those that don’t remember, I am a die-hard Cleveland fan, which means this is my Super Bowl! It’s kind of like Liverpool until they got the god that is Mo Salah.
We’ll stat with a quick happy birthday to my goalkeeper-in-arms, Joe Bendik! Cheers, Joe!
The reports today are limited, as this week we’re talking Yoshi Yotún’s good start, the U.S. Boys Youth National Team victory, and a few more quick updates.
Yoshi is Finding His Stride in Year Two
Yoshimar Yotún, the Lions’ star midfielder from Peru, is really finding his footing this season and he is showing consistency in form early in his second campaign — and his first full season — with Orlando City.
Our Michael Citro even called it out yesterday on how big his impact has been overall (note he corrected Kaká’s total to 22/75):
Yoshimar Yotun has eight assists in 17 MLS games. He's already a third of the way to matching Kaká's 24 career assists for Orlando City (across 75 games).— The Mane Land (@TheManeLand) April 24, 2018
Yotún has tallied four assists in just seven games, already equaling his total from 2017 in three fewer appearances. Once he was moved into a more natural defensive midfield position — where he plays for Peru — and paired up with another partner, he’s really been able to shine.
“Yoshi’s been a really, really solid and consistent performer for us this entire season,” said Head Coach Jason Kreis following the win against San Jose. “He came in last year and, I think, adjusted to the league as quickly, if not quicker, that any person I’ve ever coached. So to see him taking a step on at the beginning of the season doesn’t surprise me in the slightest and I think he has some more to offer still.”
U.S. U-16 Boys Take Big Win Against Italy
The U.S. U-16 Boys National Team started off hot in defense of their Torneo Delle Nazioni title in Italy with a 1-0 result over the home country.
It’s always important to start quick, especially in enemy territory, and the young Nats got a 25th-minute goal off a dangerous cross:
The Yanks strike first! Daniel Leyva pokes home the rebound and the U-16 BNT leads Italy, 1-0. pic.twitter.com/NBgUdlNwwf— U.S. Soccer YNT (@ussoccer_ynt) April 24, 2018
From there they held on over the remaining time to get the W. They will play Libya on Thursday at 4:45 a.m. ET
Ethan Finlay Likely Out for the Season
For those that don’t know about one of the brightest spots for Minnesota United, you weren't watching when Minnesota visited here Week 2 when Ethan Finlay beat the Lions with his brace. Unfortunately for the Loons, Finlay will be sitting out for what looks like the rest of the season with an apparent ACL injury from this past week’s match against Seattle. All the best, Ethan, on a swift and strong recovery.
NWSL Weekly Awards
Former Orlando Pride goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe has been in every voting for Save of the Week this season and she takes the award this week for her PK save:
Chicago Red Star Sofia Huerta won Player of the Week:
✌️ goals in 2️⃣ games, plus 6 shots on goal and 4 chances created. @schuerta was everywhere for @chiredstarsPR in Week 4, and is the Player of the Week as voted by @NWSLmedia! pic.twitter.com/3Jjd5Fx8lO— NWSL (@NWSL) April 24, 2018
No Orlando Pride players were nominated this week.
- A Zlatan-less World Cup? Sounds like it. Unfortunately for all of us.
- Want to get your hands on a game-winning Parley kit from last weekend? Auction is up and running for a great cause.
- As someone who has been in the greatest standing section ever, Borussia Dortmund’s Yellow Wall, I will say that the Purple Wall is definitely a landmark part to the MLS and Orlando City. Our editor Michael Citro gives his take to 7500 to Holte.
- A really cool moment. I love sports:
One of our favourite moments of the season happened last night as Everton fan Jack McLinden, who has multiple health conditions, became the first ‘remote’ match-day mascot! pic.twitter.com/wxYoCMLw5n— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) April 24, 2018
That’ll do it! Have a great weekend, I hope your NFL team succeeds this week unless you’re from Baltimore or Pittsburgh. And can’t wait to watch this weekend’s slate of matches.