Hello, Mane Landers. I hope everyone is doing well as we are only a few days away from Orlando City’s 2021 season. I’ll be working Saturday, but will keep track of the match and hope for a Lions’ victory against Atlanta United. The Orlando Pride are also in action tonight. We have plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.
The Lions Are Hungry for More in 2021
Orlando City released the first part of its 2021 Bleed Purple video series following the Lions’ preparation for the upcoming season. A majority of the players from last season are back for another year under Head Coach Oscar Pareja. Many of the Lions enter this season hungry after learning lessons from a very successful 2020 season that ended in a loss to the New England Revolution in the MLS playoffs. With higher expectations this time around, the Lions begin their season at home against Atlanta United this Saturday.
Orlando Pride Take On NJ/NY Gotham FC Tonight
After a 2-2 draw against Racing Louisville FC this past weekend, the Orlando Pride will now have to shift their focus to taking on Gotham FC tonight at 7 p.m. The match will be Gotham’s first of the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup and it’s been 563 days since these two teams last faced each other. In that last meeting at Red Bull Arena on Sept. 29, 2019, the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Tonight will be the Pride’s first match at Exploria Stadium in front of fans since Oct. 12, 2019. Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner expressed his thoughts on being back at home in front of the fans.
“We’ve played now, we’ve got experience playing so hopefully that will show. We can be a little bit sharper, we can set the tone within our backyard. Being in Orlando will be special for us and I have no doubt about that,” Head Coach Marc Skinner said ahead of the match. “We have to make this home a real fortress for our performances, that will give us the best chance to win. Use the wonderful support of being in front of our fans again to drive us forward and then from there, when we are at home, play as a force to be reckoned with.”
Alex Morgan Scores in USWNT Win Over France
The Orlando Pride’s Alex Morgan scored in the 19th minute with an assist from Christen Press to help the U.S. Women’s National Team win 2-0 against France.
Morgan started in the match and drew a penalty in the game’s opening minutes, Megan Rapinoe converted from the spot to give the USWNT an early lead. After the game, USWNT Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski praised Morgan’s performance and the striker spoke about the benefits from playing the pair of friendlies in Europe.
“I was really looking forward to this camp in general because preseason with Orlando went really well,” she said. “I felt like I was able to gain that couple percentage [points] that I was just lacking as I was coming back from pregnancy, so I felt like really good going into this camp. I was really happy to get minutes and both games, and I felt like, tonight we had a good showing. And it’s always nice to get on the scoresheet against France, it makes it that much more special.”
MLS Clubs Advance in Concacaf Champions League
Atlanta United defeated Alajuelense 1-0 last night, winning 2-0 on aggregate to advance to the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals. Alajuelense pressed late in the match to try and score, but Jürgen Damm’s goal put the game away in stoppage time for Atlanta. The Portland Timbers cruised past CD Marathon 5-0 and won 7-2 on aggregate to also advance to the quarterfinals. Tonight’s action will feature Toronto FC facing off against Club Leon and the Philadelphia Union hosting Deportivo Saprissa.
Bayern Munich Eliminated From the UEFA Champions League
In Paris, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored for FC Bayern Munich to give them a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain. However, it wasn’t enough for Bayern to win on aggregate, PSG advancing on away goals. Elsewhere, Chelsea lost to FC Porto 1-0 in the second leg but still advanced 2-1 on aggregate to the semifinals. Today’s games will see Liverpool try to come back from a 3-1 loss in the first leg against Real Madrid while Borussia Dortmund aims to overcome its 2-1 defeat when it hosts Manchester City.
- Sao Paulo was ordered to pay Orlando City $6 million in regards to a lawsuit over Kaká’s loan contract. The Brazilian club reportedly paid 30% of the amount last week, but the installment plan for the rest is still to be determined.
- It’s that time of the year for the MLS power rankings and Orlando City starts the season ranked seventh. Predictably, defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew SC takes the top spot as we enter the MLS season.
- MLSsoccer.com’s Steve Zakuani named the top five MLS players at each position, with Orlando’s Daryl Dike and Chris Mueller making the list.
- The NWSL Disciplinary Committee issued a one-game suspension to Louisville forward Jorian Baucom after her tackle on Orlando Pride defender Ali Riley in the 83rd minute.
- Major League Soccer unveiled new a U22 initiative and roster rules for the upcoming season. The U22 Initiative will open doors for Homegrown Players and players selected in the MLS SuperDraft. New guidelines were also set to help players gain coaching experience and development opportunities in MLS front offices.
- The 2021 Gold Cup final will be hosted in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium on Aug. 1.
That will do it for today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday, stay safe, and I’ll see you next time.