It’s Saturday, y’all! Congratulations on making it to the weekend. Even better news is that two Orlando teams are in action this evening, with the Lions traveling to face the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium and the Young Lions of Orlando City B also on the road to take on Forward Madison FC in Madison, WI. The MLS team kicks off at 7 p.m. ET and the Young Lions start an hour later, so here’s hoping you have the ability to utilize two screens at the same time. I’ve got some light reading to tide you over until then.
Orlando City Ready for Revs
Perhaps it’s too early to say tonight’s game is a “must-win” for the Lions, but it’s certainly one of the most important league matches for the club so far this season. The team has put the work in throughout training this week and appears ready for the challenge. Nani tweeted that the Lions are “going to New England focused on getting a win.” Since the game is still several hours away, take a few minutes to watch this awesome compilation of some of the club’s best 2019 moments.
The Mane Land’s own Ben_Miller spoke with Jack Catanese of the New England blog The Bent Musket for this week’s Intelligence Report. Make sure to check back later today for Michael Citro’s game preview and recap, Marcus_Mitchell’s Player Grades and MotM, and my five takeaways tomorrow.
All-Star Game Hype Continues
It’s no surprise that the hype train is coming faster and faster for this Wednesday’s Major League Soccer All-Star Game here at Exploria Stadium. Orlando City SC seems excited to be featured on what is possibly the biggest stage in MLS, especially considering La Liga super club Atletico Madrid is coming to town. If you’re still figuring out your transportation for the big match-up, SunRail may have you covered. Here’s a handy guide to all of the week’s events to keep that straight as well.
For his part, MLS Commissioner Don Garber is “looking forward to more terrific coverage” of the match from both ProSoccerUSA.com and The Orlando Sentinel. While you’re checking out ProSoccerUSA.com, take a second to enter the website’s MLS All-Star Challenge contest.
All-Star Skills Challenge Judges Named
I know the All-Star challenge I’m most looking forward to is the Skills Challenge, featuring Orlando City’s Nani, Chris Mueller, and Sebas Mendez. It will be streamed live on Twitter this Tuesday evening. Former Lion captain Kaká will have a chance to critique the current captain as a judge, in addition to Orlando Pride striker Alex Morgan, everyone’s favorite (*cough*) ginger Alexi Lalas, ex-NFL player Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, and eMLS champion Cormac “Doolsta” Dooley.
Nani Nominated for UEFA Award
While Nani won’t be captain of the MLS All-Star squad, his feelings shouldn’t be hurt too much as he has now been nominated for UEFA Goal of the Season of the 2018-2019 campaign. In a Europa League group stage showdown on Nov. 11, 2018, Nani scored a banger for Sporting CP that helped lead the club to a 6-1 victory over Qarabag. Other nominees include Cristiano Ronaldo, Ivan Rakitic, Lionel Messi, and Chelsea FC’s Pedro Rodriguez, meaning it’s safe to say Nani is among some great company. Voting is open now, so go give the Orlando City captain some love!
EA Sports Reveals FIFA 20 Cover Stars
Video game developer EA Sports showed off the cover athletes for the upcoming soccer game FIFA 20 on Friday. Liverpool FC defender, and arguably the best defender in the world, Virgil van Dijk will highlight the Champions Edition version of the game. One of my personal favorite players, former Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, will rock his new Real Madrid kit on the standard cover. Hopefully, you’re not someone like me and sunk thousands of hours and hundreds of dollars into FIFA games over the years, though these beautiful new covers might make you want to pick it up.
- You can score a free CITYiD patch to add to your collection during certain All-Star week events.
- This is just a friendly reminder that the Orlando SeaWolves are holding open tryouts this weekend in West Palm Beach for those of you that might fancy yourselves professional soccer players.
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This weekend! Spots still open for our South Florida open tryout for the 2019-20 season. Tryouts will take place THIS WEEKEND July 27th from 3pm-5pm and July 28th from 10am-Noon at @citysoccerfl in West Palm Beach. Must be 18 or older. Register at https://bit.ly/2S1tcWG #ProSoccer #SouthFlorida #westpalmbeach
- ProSoccerUSA.com has its MLS Week 21 preview here and ESPN has a preview of its own this week as well.
- D.C. United has released Zoltan Stieber and even though it was reported that the Hungarian midfielder was interested in Europe, I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing him in a purple shirt.
- FC Cincinnati is close to naming a new manager, former Dutch player Ron Jans.
- Inter Miami CF announced the club’s first two signings, winger Matias Pellegrini and forward Julian Carranza.
- This is an interesting deep dive about the Leagues Cup and the “evolution” of the often contentious MLS-Liga MX relationship.
- FIFA is attempting to hurry up and expand the Women’s World Cup to a 32-team format.
- Women’s World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe got herself a book deal. Who didn’t see that coming?
- Real Madrid is obviously going all-in to sign Paul Pogba away from Manchester United and the Spanish club is pretty confident about it too.
- Manchester City gaffer Pep Guardiola has high praise for Phil Foden.
- Speaking of high praise, my Chelsea news of the week involves former player Hazard believing in his replacement, U.S. international Christian Pulisic. Striker Tammy Abraham is also expressing confidence in his own abilities.
Stay cool this afternoon and then get out there and support your local watch party to cheer on the Lions tonight. Go City!