What’s up, Mane Landers? It looks like we were able to dodge the hurricane for the most part and now we head into a weekend filled to the rim with soccer. Not only are all three of Orlando’s teams in action the next couple of days, but the United States Men’s National Team has a match with Mexico tonight as well. It should be a fun time so let’s kick off this Friday the right way with links from around the soccer world.
Lions Prepare for League Leading LAFC
Orlando City returns home after a crushing 3-0 road loss to the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend to now face LAFC in a crucial home match. With only five games left this season, the Lions will need to win practically all of them for a shot at the playoffs. It’s a tall order as they start by taking on the undisputed best team in the league this season, however, both sides will be without starters and Orlando has proven capable of using a deep roster to surprise opponents. While having key players out is far from ideal, it will be a good chance for some Lions to shine in front of the home fans.
“There are a lot of guys who don’t have as many minutes as they like who have been training well,” Uri Rosell said. “Saturday is going to be an opportunity for them to show up. Hopefully everybody will be set and ready to take that chance.”
In injury news, it looks like right back Ruan could make his return tomorrow while newest Lion Mauricio Pereyra is doubtful according to Head Coach James O’Connor after training. It’s not the best of news but hopefully this means he will become more available down the stretch.
I'm back at Orlando City training today after a few weeks of vacation.— Austin David (@AustinDavid22) September 5, 2019
Mauricio Pereyra is out here, but is only jogging around the field. James O'Connor says that he is "doubtful" for this weekends game against LAFC. pic.twitter.com/5xuELjEKGO
While injuries certainly play a part, the biggest reason the Lions will be shorthanded this week is due to the whopping five international players playing for their countries. Last night, Ecuador took on Peru in a friendly that saw Orlando midfielder Sebas Mendez play all 90 minutes to help Ecuador towards a 1-0 win. Carlos Ascues didn’t feature in the match, but it was a nice chance for him to train with the Peruvian National Team.
Meanwhile, Canadian Lions Tesho Akindele, Will Johnson, and Kamal Miller prepare for Canada’s match against Cuba to start the Concacaf Nations League. With a Gold Cup qualifying spot on the line, Canada won’t be holding back to prove it belongs with the best in Concacaf. After tomorrow’s match in Toronto, the Orlando trio will travel to Cuba on Sept. 10 for the second part of the series.
USMNT Hosts Mexico in Gold Cup Final Rematch
The United States Men’s National Team will get another try at beating regional rival Mexico tonight in East Rutherford, NJ after losing 1-0 in the Gold Cup just two months ago. Ten of the available players for USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter played in that Gold Cup, but the team also welcomes some newer faces in defenders Sergino Dest and Miles Robinson, as well as the return of 29-year-old midfielder Alfredo Morales. Although it is just a friendly, there is still plenty to play for in the match as the U.S. prepares for the Nations League and it will be interesting to see what starting squad Berhalter rolls with tonight.
Orlando City B Welcomes North Texas SC
The only team eliminated from playoff contention in the USL League One, Orlando City B plays against first-place North Texas SC tonight in a match so lopsided that the league isn’t looking too closely at the meeting. North Texas can clinch a playoff spot with a win so the Young Lions have a chance to play spoiler in the game as they turn their attention towards next season. Although the team has struggled this season, any soccer is better than no soccer at all and the off-season will be here before we know it so I suggest heading out to the game if you can.
- Here is a pretty inspirational feature from Nani about the importance of chasing your dreams.
- With so many players away, we may see a lot of Benji Michel and Santiago Patino this weekend. The pair have spent many years together and the two young players push each other to be their best.
- With the season approaching, learn more about Orlando SeaWolves star Osvaldo Rojas.
- Goalkeeper Damian Las had key saves throughout the night and Ricardo Pepi scored late to give the U-17 USMNT a 2-1 comeback win over Mexico in the Four Nations Tournament.
- A handful of Timbers Army supporters have been suspended for three matches for political signage at a game. They will be able to appeal their ban but time will tell if this is the last of the controversy we see regarding the league’s policy.
- Diego Maradona may be returning to a coaching rule in Argentina, although with a club rather than the national team.
That’s all from me, folks. I hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy every moment of it. Stay hydrated and try getting some good rest if you can. Vamos Orlando!