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Lion Links: 3/24/21

Orlando City to play in Leagues Cup, Wilfredo Rivera discusses his signing, Alex Morgan called up, and more.

Orlando City SC v Sporting Kansas City Photo by Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope everybody is having a good first week of spring. It’s hard to believe that March is almost over. How are you all doing now that we are less than a month away from Major League Soccer’s return? We have plenty to get to today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Will Host Match in 2021 Leagues Cup

Orlando City will officially take part in the second edition of the 2021 Leagues Cup this August. The tournament will be Orlando’s first international competition since joining MLS and the Lions will get to host a Liga MX club. The other MLS clubs participating alongside Orlando in the single-elimination tournament will be the Seattle Sounders, Sporting Kansas City, and New York City FC and their Liga MX opponents will be decided later in May.

Wilfredo Rivera Discusses His Signing and More

Orlando City Homegrown Player Wilfredo Rivera signed a three-year deal with the Lions on Monday. While fielding questions from Evan Weston, Rivera talked about signing with the first team, what he learned while training in Bradenton, and the motivation that propels him forward as a player. Rivera was part of the Orlando City Academy since 2018 and also spoke about what he’s learned from Orlando City Academy Director Marcelo Neveleff over the years.

“He’s taught me that if you don’t work hard, you’re not going to get anywhere. It does not matter. Your talent, your capabilities, [what] you can do, but if you do not work hard, he will definitely let you know.”

Benji Michel Features in Interview

Orlando City Forward Benji Michel did an interview on the This Week in MLS Show hosted by Eli Lesser. In the interview, Benji talked about his time with Orlando City’s youth academy and how the team kept track of him while he played college soccer at the University of Portland. Benji also shared what it meant for him to make the U.S. Men’s Olympic qualifying team and his goals to jump from Orlando City’s bench to the starting XI.

Alex Morgan Named to USWNT Roster

Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan was called up to the United States Women’s National Team for a pair of friendlies in April against Sweden and France. USWNT Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski named 17 NWSL players and six Europe-based players to the roster. Morgan is the only Orlando Pride player that will head to Europe with the USWNT while Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris will be with the club next month.

Sam Mewis was also called up after an injury kept her out of the USWNT in the SheBelieves Cup and forward Carli Lloyd could earn her 300th cap next month. She would become the third player in international soccer history to play 300 times for her country, joining the ranks of former USWNT players Kristine Lilly and Christie Pearce Rampone.

Free Kicks
  • With the National Women’s Soccer League season right around the corner, ESPN FC and espnW ranked the top 50 women playing right now. Two Pride players made the cut, with Morgan placed at 38th and Marta at 35th.
  • Along with many other sports leagues, including MLS, the NWSL partnered with the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative as part of a campaign to better inform fans about vaccination.
  • We also have another top 50 list from Goal.com featuring the most promising youngsters in men’s soccer.
  • USL Championship side Louisville City FC is considering applying for an MLS expansion spot in the future with Sacramento’s MLS bid in doubt.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday, stay safe, and I’ll see you next time.