Let’s all take a collective breath, shall we? It’s our first day without a Women’s World Cup game since the tournament started and a great chance for us all to relax before a busy Saturday. Tomorrow, the Orlando Pride, Orlando City B, and the United States Men’s National Team will all be in action and the World Cup knockout stage will begin. But for now, let’s kick back and all enjoy some Lion Links to start our Friday off right.
Nani Named to All-Star Game
Orlando City midfielder and Portugal international Nani was selected to the 2019 MLS All-Star Game that will be held at Exploria Stadium on July 31. Part of the Fan XI, Nani garnered plenty of votes from around the league after a strong 2019 campaign so far. The 32-year-old leads Orlando City with eight goals and four assists this season and is a dark horse candidate for both MLS MVP and Newcomer of the Year. Nani becomes the fifth Lion to be named an All-Star and we will have to wait to see if another Lion joins him this year.
USWNT Wins Over Sweden, Faces Spain
Getting some revenge for the team’s loss in the 2016 Olympics, the United States Women’s National Team beat Sweden 2-0 in its final FIFA Women’s World Cup group stage match. Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan wore the captain’s armband before taking it off when she was subbed out after the first half, while Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris spent the match on the bench. Midfielder Lindsey Horan opened the scoring early in the third minute and an own goal after a Tobin Heath strike in the second half doomed Sweden as the U.S. cruised.
With the win, the U.S. won its group and will play Spain on June 24. It’s a little weird that the team with 18 goals scored and none conceded doesn’t earn a match with one of the third-place finishers, but that’s just the way this cookie was going to crumble.
World Cup Bracket Set in Stone
Pride defender Shelina Zadorsky played a full 90 minutes in Canada’s 2-1 loss at the hands of the Netherlands yesterday. The result placed Canada second in the group with a knockout match against Sweden looming on June 24.
As for the other Pride players, Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond will face off with Norway tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET. After a third-place finish in Group C, Marta and Camila will play on June 23 when Brazil takes on France in a heavyweight match where the winner may face the U.S. in the quarterfinals. Make sure to check out the knockout schedule and how the rest of the bracket shakes out.
USMNT Facing an Interesting Test
Although United States Men’s National Team midfielder Michael Bradley doesn’t think there’s much weight in a rematch with Trinidad and Tobago, it’s hard to imagine revenge isn’t on the mind of both players and fans when the Yanks face the Soca Warriors tomorrow night in the Gold Cup. A win for the USMNT would both clinch a berth into the quarterfinals and eliminate Trinidad and Tobago.
While the team is vastly different than the team that lost the qualifier back in 2017, that is part of why this match has the attention of many fans as it will be a good chance to see how this young team compares. The tension isn’t one-sided however, as former Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino warns that the USMNT may be headed towards more disappointment.
- The Orlando Pride are still hunting for their first win of the season and will get their chance tomorrow at 7 p.m. when they take on Sky Blue FC on the road. It’s been a difficult season so far, but the Pride are ready.
Gearing up for Saturday. Gearing up for Sky Blue. #VamosOrlando pic.twitter.com/10VYxvhzD2— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) June 19, 2019
- Despite not playing in the USWNT’s match against Chile and not scoring against Sweden, Morgan remains the favorite to win the Golden Boot. However, Australia’s Sam Kerr is right there with her with five goals so far.
- Speaking of Morgan, while it didn’t necessarily look like an injury, the American star was quickly subbed out after a hard foul. She isn’t expected to miss any time and the substitution was more of USWNT Head Coach Jill Ellis looking ahead.
- Pride goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer featured on a podcast about playing in the NWSL. She and some teammates also stopped by the Orange County Animal Shelter to bring awareness of the benefits towards adopting your next pet.
Today, some teammates and I and made our way down to @OCAS_Orlando to bring awareness to this amazing organization- please consider adopting your next pet! #brbadoptingthemall #adoptdontshop @ Orange County Animal… https://t.co/72eGwf1Fab— Haley Kopmeyer (@hkopmeyer) June 20, 2019
- The movement to have 2026 World Cup games played here in the Orlando area now has solid look.
The #GO26 World Cup Pursuit Partners - @citybeautiful @OrangeCoFL @orlandocitysc & @GreaterORLSport - are excited to share the official Greater #Orlando 2026 Host City Candidate Logo!— @ORLANDO2026 (@ORLAND2026) June 20, 2019
Full release on our website: https://t.co/AeUZqJhvEp@ussoccer #FIFAWorldCup #ORLAND2026 pic.twitter.com/F6r1T1PxF5
- The Philadelphia Union look all set to add forward Andrew Wooten to the team. Meanwhile, the Seattle Sounders lose a forward as Will Bruin tore his ACL in training.
- Maurizio Sarri has wasted no time at all to badmouth Chelsea as he takes over for Juventus.
- We end our links with this game-winning goal from Cameroon that you may have missed. It may have been a solo effort in the dying moments of the game, but it was a team effort throughout the group stage as Cameroon advances to the knockout stage and will face England.
A MIRACLE FOR CAMEROON!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 20, 2019
Ajara Nchout scores with the LAST KICK of the game and sends Cameroon to the knockout stage! #FIFAWWC https://t.co/MCNcR6Hf6I
That’s going to be it from me, folks. I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and stay hydrated out there.