How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope you all have a had a great week as we head into the Fourth of July weekend. Stay safe if you decide to be out and about celebrating the holiday. I’ll be spending most of it working, but am still looking forward to watching some National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup action tomorrow. But for now, let’s hop into some links!
Orlando City Strengthening Defense
It’s been nearly four months since Orlando City played on March 7 and the club is working on recreating its pressing style before the team returns to play on July 8 against Inter Miami CF. A large part of that process is rebuilding the leg strength and energy in the players’ legs, particularly with defenders. The back line will need to cover a lot of ground in matches, and although it’s been some time since his last game, center back Robin Jansson has noticed cohesiveness in training.
“We have become more like a unit on the field,” Jansson said. “Everybody does the work really good on every position. Oscar is demanding something from every position and we want to have it in a certain way so that has been great. Defensively, it feels like it has been more structured.”
Orlando City midfielder Mauricio Pereyra also discussed how the team’s fitness and mentality is coming along. There are still differences compared to training in the club’s facilities that the team is adjusting to, but Pereyra said the team needs to maintain the intensity and keep pushing forward for the match with Miami.
"We just need to keep going." #MLSisBack | #VamosOrlando pic.twitter.com/IpREzpYEaA— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) July 2, 2020
Ali Riley Reflects on Her Time in Orlando
Orlando Pride and New Zealand defender Ali Riley posted on Instagram that she is returning to Malmo, Sweden, as the Pride aren’t going to play matches anytime soon. The 32-year-old was signed by the Pride this February and wasn’t able to play for the club due to the coronavirus pandemic and the team’s withdrawal from the NWSL Challenge Cup. Her future with Orlando is perhaps in doubt as she’ll be 33 in October and her contract status is unclear, but Riley said she hopes to wear the Pride colors again.
“I don’t know what the future holds, but I really hope that I get the chance to wear this jersey again.”
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Over the past two weeks I’ve felt a lot of things: anger, confusion, fear, disappointment, frustration, sadness. But when I take a deep belly breath (thanks @erinmcleod1) and reflect on my experience here in Orlando, I am filled with so much love and gratitude. Since getting here in early February, I’ve been given the coaching and resources to improve my game, reconnected with old friends (did you know that @ashlynharris24 and I were roommates in 2011?), and made new friends that already feel like family. I have been welcomed into an amazing community and connected with fans from around the world despite never having played a game for this club. My teammates have certainly pushed me to develop as a player, but more importantly as a person- to listen, learn, support, and take action in the fight for social justice. Even without a season, coming to this club has changed my life in the most meaningful ways possible. Thank you. I don’t know what the future holds, but I really hope that I get the chance to wear this jersey again. For now, it’s time to return to Malmö to be with my älskling @warrernilsson!
USL League One Schedule Format Revealed
Orlando City B will play 20 games over the course of 15 weeks for the 2020 USL League One season. The Young Lions will face 10 opponents, taking on new “rival” (per the league) Fort Lauderdale CF four times and not playing against Forward Madison FC. The regular season starts July 18 and continues until Oct. 24 Then the top two teams in the league will play in the final the following weekend on Oct. 31. Teams are allowed five substitutions each game and you can still watch all USL League One games on ESPN+ during the season.
Columbus Crew Player Tests Positive
A day after six FC Dallas players tested positive for the coronavirus, an unidentified Columbus Crew player has now tested positive as well. This is now the 10th player to test positive since teams started arriving in Orlando for the tournament. The Crew are now under quarantine for further testing and concerns about the tournament’s safety continue as more teams land in Orlando.
Some MLS Stars Will Miss MLS is Back Tournament
LAFC forward and MLS MVP Carlos Vela will likely opt out of the MLS is Back Tournament, staying with his pregnant wife instead. Defensive Player of the Year Ike Opara won’t be with Minnesota United for the tournament as he continues rehab for a preexisting condition. Philadelphia Union forward Cory Burke can’t make the trip due to travel restrictions and LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos is undergoing hernia surgery.
- Miguel Gallardo got a nice shout out for his involvement as a community ambassador for the Orlando City Foundation.
Extremely thankful to have @migallardo01 on our team. Our community is a MUCH better place because of his passion and involvement! pic.twitter.com/7UyzkfSVRX— OrlandoCityFnd (@OrlandoCityFnd) July 2, 2020
- Some MLS players have had issues with the food options at the Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin Resort, including a $65 sandwich. Meanwhile, Minnesota Head Coach Adrian Heath is getting used to an Orlando area that looks different from when he coached the Lions.
- In United States Men’s National Team news, midfielder Weston McKennie is open to a move away from Schalke 04 and Matt Miazga will stay at Reading for the rest of the season.
That’ll do it for me today. Enjoy your holiday weekend and stay safe.