Welcome to another Saturday morning! If you’re anything like me, you’re counting the days until the next mid-week holiday in a couple of weeks. Before you head out to make the most of the weekend, take a few minutes to catch up on all of the news in the soccer world.
First 11 MLS All-Stars Announced
As you already know if you read yesterday’s Lion Links, Orlando City’s Nani was named to the 2019 Major League Soccer All-Star roster. We now know the 10 other players that will be joining him on the Fan XI in Exploria Stadium on July 31. In addition to Nani, previously known players were Sporting Kansas City’s Graham Zusi and four from Atlanta United that I won’t waste time naming. Added Friday were the LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jonathan Dos Santos, Los Angeles Football Club’s Carlos Vela and Walker Zimmerman, and D.C. United’s Wayne Rooney.
It’s worth pointing out that these are the Fan XI players. The other 13 players will consist of two Commissioner’s Picks and 11 selected at a later date by the head coach, presumably James O’Connor (the host city’s head coach has been appointed manager of the All-Stars every year since 2013).
Three Big Matches Happening This Evening
Orlando City doesn’t return to MLS play until Wednesday, but the other two Orlando teams will be in action tonight along with the United States Men’s National Team. The Young Lions of Orlando City B (3-7-3, 12 points) travel to take on the Lansing Ignite tonight at 7 p.m. ET in Cooley Law School Stadium.
Meanwhile, the United States Men’s National Team plays its second 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup game — and it’s a bit of a revenge one — against Trinidad and Tobago at 8 p.m. with the USMNT clinching a spot in the next round with a win.
The Orlando Pride (0-7-2, 2 points) will be seeking their first victory of the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League season tonight as the squad is away to face Sky Blue FC. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. Head Coach Marc Skinner believes the Pride are “finally building to what [they’re] trying to perform whole for 90 minutes as a team.” Hear some more of the gaffer’s thoughts in this post-training video. Joanna Boyles put in her two cents as well.
Also, some of the Pride players used their time after training to visit the children at Arnold Palmer Hospital.
Always got time to share a at @APHospital! @orlandohealth | #VamosOrlando pic.twitter.com/SNhLYEhhGP— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) June 21, 2019
Women’s World Cup Updates Don’t Stop
The first rest day of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup was yesterday as the tournament transitions from the group stage to the Round of 16. Sadly, attendance was down during this cycle’s group stage, with a reported average attendance of just 18,498. Of course, that certainly didn’t stop the United States Women’s National Team from getting revenge on Sweden, but now comes the hard part.
One of the eight squads not advancing past the group stage is Thailand, though the Thai ladies are keeping their heads up. Oh, and makeup and muscles definitely go together.
In some good news, FIFA confirmed that goalkeepers will not receive yellow cards for the new encroachment rule in penalty shootouts during the remainder of the WWC. Here’s a look at the Tricolore 19, the new Adidas ball for the knock-out rounds of the competition. If you’re already having withdrawals from the top-level soccer action, this compilation of brilliant skills will remind you of what’s still to come. Don’t worry, goalkeepers get their time in the spotlight too.
USWNT Agrees to Mediation with U.S. Soccer Federation
The United States Soccer Federation confirmed that members of the USWNT have “tentatively agreed” to mediation after the World Cup in regard to their pay discrimination lawsuit. It’s not as if the 28 women who filed the suit against the federation have anything else to worry about right now. In case you don’t recall, the main issue addressed in the lawsuit is that “the women’s players are required to play more games than the men’s team and win more of those games, yet still receive less pay from the federation.” Stay tuned after the World Cup as more information about the case will inevitably become available.
- Tickets went on sale Friday for the Lions’ U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals home match with New York City FC. Make sure to get yours and show up for the men in purple, especially since these deals will be back.
We go again!— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) June 21, 2019
$5 beer and the Open Cup Power Menu continues on July 10th for our Open Cup Quarterfinal. #VamosOrlando pic.twitter.com/RKn78bwMna
- The Orlando SeaWolves of the Major Arena Soccer League announced a new chief operating officer and director of ticket sales, along with a new defender signing.
- Three MLS sides made signings on Friday — NYCFC added Scottish winger Gary Mackay-Steven, FC Dallas inked a deal with Homegrown Player Ricardo Pepi, and Toronto FC secured academy product Jacob Shaffelburg.
- Spanish striker Fernando Torres has officially retired.
- The English Premier League is going to ensure that VAR doesn’t award penalty re-takes for the aforementioned goalkeeper encroachment rule next season.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won’t have much of a budget for his Manchester United re-build this summer.
- Happy Chelsea FC news time. Legendary keeper Petr Cech has been appointed the club’s new technical and performance advisor. Congratulations, Mr. Cech!
Enjoy the weekend! Stay safe — and hydrated — in the extreme heat. Go City!