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Lion Links: 10/14/21

Pride fall in Chicago, USMNT comes back to beat Costa Rica, Nani praises Dike, Pride players called up, and more.

Orlando Pride v OL Reign Photo by Jane Gershovich/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Good morning, soccer friends. I hope all is well! Yesterday was a pretty active one in our soccer bubble with a pair of big games plus other news bits from around the soccersphere, so let’s dive in.

Orland Pride Fall 1-0 to Chicago Red Stars

The Pride’s losing streak reached three games Wednesday, when they fell on the road to the Chicago Red Stars, 1-0. Once again, the Pride dug themselves an early hole, with Chicago’s Kealia Watt scoring in the sixth minute. Chicago was on the front foot most of the first half, routinely getting around Orlando’s penalty box, but Orlando survived and had a chance to equalize when Sydney Leroux was tripped in the box, sending Alex Morgan to the penalty spot. Unfortunately, that penalty missed the frame of the goal to the left and the Pride went into the half down a goal.

The second half was more of the same, with most of the opportunities coming from the home side. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris did everything she could to keep the Pride in it, but the equalizing goal never came, and the Pride head back to Orlando empty handed. Orlando now sits four points out of the playoffs with just two matches to play.

Nani Discusses Daryl Dike in Interview

Orlando City captain Nani spoke to MLS host Stephen Keel on Instagram Live to discuss Orlando’s brightest young star, Daryl Dike, after the striker was ranked second on MLSSoccer.com’s 22 under 22 list. The captain had nothing but praise for the former SuperDraft pick, highlighting Dike’s humility and work ethic.

He’s been humble, he’s been paying attention, he wants to help the team, he wants to learn, the most important thing is he wants to learn. Everything he’s taken in, he listens. ... I think he’s much more mature.

Nani also spoke on Dike’s immense potential, saying, “I think he can take his game very far...his potential is incredible.”

USMNT Comes Back to Win 2-1 Win Over Costa Rica

The United States Men’s National Team got its World Cup qualifying campaign back on track with a decisive 2-1 victory against Costa Rica. The match started about as poorly as possible, with Los Ticos opening the scoring a minute in off a really bad goal that had no business being conceded. Fortunately, the home side rebounded and found an equalizer courtesy of Sergino Dest in the 25th minute. The U.S. was the better team by some distance and in control of the match, even if it couldn’t find the decisive goal. That winner did eventually come when Tim Weah smashed the ball at the near post where it bounced off Costa Rica’s backup goalkeeper and into the back of the net. On a more clinical night, the U.S. could’ve put up four or five goals, but regardless it stands as a promising 2-1 win at home against one of the region’s top teams.

Pride Players Called Up for International Duty

The United States Women’s National Team announced its roster for two games against South Korea later this month, with the Pride’s Alex Morgan amongst those called up. Neither friendly, on Oct. 21 and 26, overlap with the Orlando Pride’s final two games, meaning Morgan should be theoretically available for both. The usual suspects are all here, with 17 of the 21 players coming from this summer’s Olympic roster.

The team will also honor midfielder Lindsey Horan before the first match as recognition for 100 career appearances, a landmark she reached during the Olympics.

Orlando’s Ali Riley was called up by New Zealand for friendlies against Canada’s celebration tour matches and her Pride teammate, Erin McLeod, was invited to join her national team as well.

Free Kicks

That’s all from me this Thursday morning. Thank you all for reading.