Take a deep breath, Mane Landers. It’s been a crazy 15-straight days of World Cup soccer, but today is a day of rest as the tournament transitions from the group stage to the knockout rounds. The bad news is that Yoshimar Yotún and Peru did not survive the group stage. The good news is that Yoshimar Yotún and Peru did not survive the group stage, so now the Orlando City midfielder can return to the City Beautiful and try to get the Lions back on track. Just one more weekday separates you from a weekend filled with even more soccer, so let’s start the day off right with some Links!
Justin Meram Sounds Off on Fan Criticism
Things haven’t exactly been going as well this year for Orlando winger Justin Meram as it did last season when he scored a career-high 13 goals for the Columbus Crew. Because of this and only scoring once so far this season, fans have begun to single out Meram and criticize him as the team rides a seven-game losing streak. However, Meram is speaking out against the criticism, saying that it has escalated far beyond a few jeers and jabs.
“What I’ve dealt with, death threats or, comments of – you know we have Mason [Stajduhar] here who just came over cancer – but comments of, ‘You know, you look like a cancer patient,’” Meram said, later clarifying fans wished death upon him but stopped short of threatening to take action.
“This has probably been the hardest four months, maybe, of my life, my career,” Meram said.
Meram has had to put up with this disgusting behavior and more before finally deciding to step away from social media and focus on his club, teammates, and play. Meram attributes the decline in his performance to the growing pains from joining a new club and trying to find his place among the Lions offense. Regardless of his struggles, no fan should ever resort to death threats or nasty insults to criticize a player. Some tend to forget that players are people just like them and I hate that Meram has had to deal with this behavior.
No Excuse Not to Attend Saturday’s Orlando Pride Game
Despite Wednesday’s loss to the Houston Dash, the Orlando Pride are still in second place in the NWSL as they gear up for a heavyweight showdown against the league-leading North Carolina Courage Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. It should be one of the best games this year and the Pride have made sure that you won’t have an excuse for not attending the game. For Saturday’s game, anyone age 17 and under will be given free admission and there will be many discounts that you can check out in the video below.
But that’s not all. Saturday will also be Orlando Vegans Night where fans can enjoy great vegan options at Orlando City Stadium like cauliflower tacos and black bean burgers. Those festivities start at 12:30 and last all the way through the Pride’s game. But don’t worry, meat lovers, all the standard fare will also be available during the game.
By the way, the Courage got even better yesterday with the acquisition of former USWNT midfielder Heather O’Reilly.
Rooney Lands in D.C.
Wayne Rooney may not be able to take the field for D.C. United until the secondary transfer window opens on July 10, but MLS is abuzz with the news of his arrival in the nation’s capital. Fellow English superstar turned MLS player David Beckham weighed in on Rooney’s move on Instagram.
But Beckham wasn’t the only one who welcomed Rooney to MLS. Orlando’s own Dom Dwyer took to twitter to send his greetings.
U.S. Interim Coach Gets an Extension
First reported by Paul Tenorio of The Athletic, U.S. interim head coach Dave Sarachan has gotten a contract extension to last until the end of the calendar year. The move makes sense considering the U.S. has friendlies planned throughout the year and U.S. General Manager Ernie Stewart can’t even begin his search for a new coach until he starts his job on Aug. 1. It should also be noted that the extension will not preclude Stewart from hiring another coach.
- Could Cyle Larin’s European adventure be coming to an end already? And, if so, is he being targeted by FC Dallas?
- Following his exit from the World Cup, Yotún is on his way back to Orlando and Jordan Culver has the scoop on when that could be.
Also, a heads up for Orlando City fans. Yoshi Yotún is set to arrive back in Orlando Saturday afternoon, per club officials. #OCSC— Jordan Culver (@JordanCulver) June 28, 2018
- Verizon is shutting down NWSL streaming partner Go90. The league games will revert to streaming on the NWSL site and on the league’s app at the end of July.
- The full roster for the MLS All-Star Team will be revealed later today at noon ET. In case you missed it, you can check out the Fan XI and the list of the weekend’s activities.
- When Orlando City faces Atlanta United this Saturday, the Lions won’t have to worry about Darlington Nagbe as he will be out for two to three months with an injury. So how different will Atlanta look when the Lions take them on.
- Seattle Sounders defender Roman Torres was injured in Panama’s 2-1 loss to Tunisia as the central defender had to limp off the pitch with an apparent left ankle injury.
- In case you missed out on one of the best moments of this year’s World Cup, here’s the video of Belgian player Mitchy Batshuayi celebrating after his team scored.
That’s all from me folks! I hope you have an amazing Friday as we get ready for a very busy weekend of soccer. Vamos Orlando!