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Lion Links: 2/22/21

Alex Leitão teases possible new signing, USWNT defeats Brazil in the SheBelieves Cup, Orlando Pride defender Ali Riley speaks out against racism, and more.

2021 SheBelieves Cup - United States v Brazil Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Hopefully your weekend was nice and relaxing. I worked for most of it, but I’m pretty sure I perfected a rum punch recipe I’ve been working on. The trick is nutmeg, apparently. Unfortunately, nutmeg can’t fix the fact that it’s Monday and the weekend is over. These links from around the soccer world should help get your morning started on the right foot though.

But first, let’s wish a happy birthday to Orlando City’s Jonathan Suarez! Loaned to Orlando earlier this year, the 24-year-old seems ready to defend Exploria Stadium.

Alex Leitão Hints at Signing Dutch Winger

There is plenty to look forward to in 2021 as a Lions supporter. Not only was most of the roster kept from last season, but the club is making moves to become a strong contender this year as well. Alexandre Pato will be intriguing to watch and reports surfaced that Orlando is close to finalizing a deal for Dutch winger Silvester van der Water. The addition would boost an already strong offense and Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão teased the signing on Twitter. Written in Dutch, the tweet translates to “Good evening everyone, wish us all a good week! ( eyes ).”

Defensively, former Seattle Sounders left back Joevin Jones was noted as a good fit for Orlando to add more depth to the position. It will be interesting to see which Lions can continue their success following a strong season and if more reinforcements are coming, but the team should be exciting to watch regardless.

USWNT and Canada Win SheBelieves Cup Matches

The Orlando Pride’s Alex Morgan and Marta started and faced off in the SheBelieves Cup as the United States Women’s National Team beat Brazil 2-0 at Exploria Stadium. Christen Press gave the USWNT an early lead in the 11th minute and Megan Rapinoe scored in the 88th minute to secure the victory. After scoring, Rapinoe celebrated by giving a shout out to Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger’s daughter.

In the later game, Canada beat Argentina 1-0 for its first win ever in the SheBelieves Cup. The Pride’s Jordyn Listro made her debut for Canada and started on a side that included former Pride center back Shelina Zadorsky. It took until stoppage time for Canada to break through, with Sarah Stratigakis putting away a loose ball to keep Canada’s hopes alive in the tournament.

With six points from two games, the USWNT sits alone at the top of the standings and will take on Argentina on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Earlier that day, Canada and Brazil will face off at 4 p.m. in what should be a great match-up.

Ali Riley Stands Against Asian Discrimination

As violence towards Asian Americans rises, Pride defender Ali Riley is using her platform to speak out against racism and discrimination. Riley is being more vocal about her mixed heritage and is using social media to bring awareness to the bigotry affecting the Asian communities in her home state of California and across the United States.

“I haven’t been that comfortable talking about my experience as an Asian American and I haven’t been really vocal about even being half Asian,” Riley said. “But I’m really angry and I’m fired up and I want to make sure that I’m actually doing something about it. That’s where social media, I think, is is a really powerful tool. And I learned that a lot in the last year through everything that was going on and wanting to use my voice and my platform to affect change.”

Ups and Downs From Americans Abroad

Let’s start with the bad news. American forward Jordan Morris had to be taken off the field on a stretcher due to a leg injury in Swansea City’s 4-1 loss to Huddersfield Town. More details on the extent of the injury should be available after his MRI, but it didn’t look good.

In some of the better news from Americans playing abroad, Orlando’s Daryl Dike started in Barnsley FC’s 1-0 win over Bristol City. Although he hasn’t found the back of the net despite the opportunity to do so, Dike has helped Barnsley win three straight games.

Elsewhere, Duane Holmes scored twice in that aforementioned Huddersfield win, Tyler Adams had an assist in RB Leipzig’s 3-0 win against Hertha Berlin, and DeAndre Yedlin helped set up Galatasaray’s only goal in a 1-0 victory over Alanyaspor. Bobby Wood also scored his first goal in over two years in Hamburg’s 3-2 loss to Wurzburger Kickers.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City will unveil its jersey for the 2021 season on March 5 at Ace Cafe for the second annual City Art Jam.

That’s it for today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a great Monday and rest of your week!