Good morning, Mane Landers! Can you believe it’s already the first weekend of August? Another year — and Orlando City season — flying by. The Lions start the month at home tonight against Western Conference opponent FC Dallas. Just 30 minutes prior to that match, the Young Lions of Orlando City B will kick off at Cooley Law School Stadium against Lansing Ignite. But before you head downtown to Exploria Stadium, here are some links.
Mauricio Pereyra Brings Unpredictability to Offense
As an attacking midfielder, newest Lion Mauricio Pereyra is eager to create chances and add some bite to Orlando’s offense. The 29-year-old hasn’t played since late May and although that makes him a bit rusty, Orlando Head Coach hopes Pereyra can be an impact player when he does get rolling with the Lions.
“I think it’s trying to get something a little different,” O’Connor said. “For an opponent, if you don’t know what the player you’re playing against is going to do, I think it’s very hard to defend against. That’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for players who can do something a little bit differently and impact the game.”
Lions Look to Finally Score on Dallas
Orlando City is ready to turn All-Star momentum into excitement for fans for the rest of the season. The club has arguably the biggest match in the club’s history coming up on Tuesday when the Lions host Atlanta United in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal battle. It’s therefore pretty safe to assume that Head Coach James O’Connor will put forth a heavily rotated lineup for tonight’s FC Dallas game. Hopefully, the starting XI can still find the back of the net for Orlando City’s first goal against Dallas in the series between the two teams. The Mane Land’s Ben Miller chatted with Drew Epperley of the FC Dallas blog Big D Soccer for both our Intelligence Report and to answer three of Epperley’s questions about the Lions. Also, don’t forget that it’s Military Appreciation Night!
Orlando City Needs to Choose Internationals Wisely for Open Cup
In typical U.S. Soccer fashion, the rules for the Open Cup are weird and often unclear. Unfortunately, teams are only allowed to play five International players in the competition, so the Lions will have to carefully choose who to play in Tuesday’s big semifinal match. One of the club’s nine internationals, Robinho, isn’t eligible anyway since he previously featured in an Open Cup game for Columbus Crew SC. Cristian Higuita will likely still be out injured, and it’s unclear whether Mauricio Pereyra will have his paperwork in line early enough to play.
A fair assumption, given the importance of the match to Orlando City, would see Nani, Robin Jansson, and Lamine Sane as three of the all but guaranteed international players in O’Connor’s squad. That leaves Carlos Ascues, Sebas Mendez, and Ruan as the three men to fill the final two spots. My money’s on Ascues being the odd guy out, but O’Connor’s final decision is definitely one of huge importance.
New Orlando Pride Star Claire Emslie Answers Fan Questions
Scottish international and new Pride striker Claire Emslie took to Twitter for a question-and-answer session on Friday. She already loves The Wall, calling the supporters’ section “insane,” and has been “learning a lot” from teammate Marta. Orlando Pride player Bridget Callahan got in on the fun, asking Emslie if fellow Pride player Danica Evans or Callahan herself was Emslie’s favorite roommate. Check out the full thread here and make sure to get your tickets to see Emslie in person on Aug. 10.
First Female Ref for Major UEFA Men’s Game Announced
Stephanie Frappart, the French referee you may recognize from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup final between the United States and the Netherlands, has been chosen for the UEFA Super Cup match on Aug. 14. Champions League winners Liverpool FC will face off with Europa League champs Chelsea FC in the “showpiece” game. Frappart isn’t a stranger to setting the pace, as she was the first female referee for France’s Ligue 1 during the 2017/18 season. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin stated the following:
“I have said on many occasions that the potential for women’s football has no limits and I am delighted that Stephanie Frappart has been appointed to officiate at this year’s UEFA Super Cup... I hope the skill and devotion that Stephanie has shown throughout her career to reach this level will provide inspiration to millions of girls and women around Europe and show them there should be no barriers in order to reach one’s dream.”
In addition, Manuela Nicolosi and Michelle O’Neal will be assistant refs for the match. Congratulations to Frappart and her crew!
- Although Nani is ready to move on from the MLS All-Star Game, Orlando City SC released a great compilation video of what celebrating soccer for five days in The City Beautiful meant.
- SunRail confirmed that there will be late service for Tuesday evening’s Open Cup match.
Another special service announcement! Tuesday, 8/6, SunRail is running 10:30PM southbound service from Church Street Station for the semi-final of the Open Cup: Orlando City v. Atlanta United! Visit https://t.co/9eD9uYj07A for details. ⚽️ @OrlandoCitySC pic.twitter.com/vlK3kMSJ0X— SunRail (@RideSunRail) August 1, 2019
- Apparently, Justin Meram will celebrate if he scores for the northerners that are Atlanta United when the wannabe rivals come to town.
- ProSoccerUSA.com has the MLS Week 22 preview here.
- Seattle Sounders defender Roman Torres was found to be in violation of the MLS Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Policy “by testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance” and has been suspended for 10 games and fined 20% of his annual salary.
- So the plague is still a thing, everyone. And a serious thing at that. The Colorado Rapids’ home at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park is surrounded by plague-carrying fleas that have infested prairie dogs. No, I am not making this up.
Statement regarding tomorrow's match, fireworks and closures around @DSGpark due to plague.— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) August 2, 2019
FAQ: https://t.co/6ZNnTzxN9C#Rapids96 | #Elevate pic.twitter.com/EJMwRmHjIR
- Nike has extended its partnership with the National Women’s Soccer League through the 2022 season, continuing the sporting good’s company exclusivity as the “worldwide partner for NWSL gear and apparel.”
- The USWNT, minus superstars Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe because of injury, will begin its World Cup victory tour tonight in Pasadena, CA, on the 20th anniversary of a historic match.
- It seems that Manchester United has finally been able to convince Leicester City to let go of defender Harry Maguire.
- Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is “bothered” by Liverpool FC’s gaffer Jurgen Klopp’s recent comments regarding Man City’s activity during the transfer window.
- Newly promoted English Premier League side Sheffield United has broken its previous transfer record with the signing of forward Oli McBurnie from Swansea City.
- I must introduce you all to Wigan Athletic’s mascot, Crusty the Pie.
Wigan Athletic's new mascot for the 2019/20 season is a thing of beauty. Crusty The Pie pic.twitter.com/iRs9WJ0LDi— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) August 2, 2019
- Here’s a look at all of the updated 2019-2020 kits for many of Europe’s biggest clubs.
- FC Barcelona megastar Lionel Messi was given a three-month ban from playing internationally with Argentina and a $50,000 fine for his criticism during the Copa America.
- Chelsea legend Claude Makelele has accepted the position of “technical mentor” to the club’s young players.
Ya’ll know what to do now, get out to the stadium and get loud for your Lions! Go City!