Happy Wednesday, everyone! It’s a packed week for Orlando professional soccer as both sides look to continue unbeaten streaks with one team traveling and one at home. Hopefully you’ve got some great Mother’s Day presents already bought so you’re not rushing around on match day.
Anyway, we’ve got Pride and City updates for this week, the NPSL fighting its way into the professional ranks, and we jump on the transfer rumor wagon because it’s fun to dream.
Pride Look to Remain Unbeaten for Fourth Straight
Today the Orlando Pride will face off in their first ever road match at Rio Tinto Stadium against Kelley O’hara and the Utah Royals. The good news is the side — other than Camila — is looking in great shape per Head Coach Tom Sermanni:
“The fact is, everybody’s fit and everybody’s healthy and there’s unbelievable competition for spots. You know, we’ve got ourselves in a good position at the moment. Every game in this league is tough, even more so when you’re playing away from home.”
U.S. based fans will be able to tune into the match at 9 p.m. ET on the go90 platform while international fans can watch at NWSLsoccer.com or on the NWSL app.
City Expects Playoff Atmosphere This Sunday
The opportunity to gain a share of the Eastern Conference’s top spot (barring NYCFC’s result against LAFC) will take place this Sunday when the Lions face Atlanta United — who currently sit at the top of the Supporters’ Shield race.
Energies will be high on Sunday as the Lions are looking for their seventh win in a row against the second-year side that hasn't lost since opening day.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Joe Bendik said. “A lot of preparation is going to go into it this week and we’re going to try and do the same thing, out-compete them and out-work them.”
I expect a fantastic crowd on Sunday. And you should get to the game if you can.
Let the MLS Transfer Rumors Start Spinnning
Around this time every year, there are rumors coming out of the woodwork because the European (and other fall/spring leagues) seasons are coming to a close and it’s a good time to bring up some aging names looking for a new home. Today’s rumors are as follows:
- Wayne Rooney to D.C. United.
- Stephan Lichtsteiner gaining interest.
- Enner Valencia to MLS or China.
- Toronto FC’s Alex Bono to Club Brugge.
New Zealand Officially Announces Equal Gender Rights in Football
The revised CBA offers four key factors for both the elite male and female footballers: Pay parity, equal prize money, equal rights for image use and, most notably, parity across travel while representing New Zealand.
Kudos to New Zealand and hopefully more countries will follow suit.
- An interesting story on the NPSL and what the next steps are in the U.S. Soccer pyramid.
- The U.S. Open Cup has officially kicked off. You can watch matches today on USSoccer.com
- Orlando will get a break when it plays Toronto FC next week as U.S. National striker Jozy Alidore will be out after having bone fragments removed from his foot.
- Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes, the longest-tenured manager in MLS, uses his contract as a recruitment tool.
- Are you huge on expected goal analysis for MLS teams? Then this is your heaven.
- Orlando City has the sixth-longest winning streak in MLS history.
- Norman Chad offers some insight into MLS expansion.
Have a great rest of the week. I’ll leave on some great news about Mason Stajduhar: