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Lion Links: 4/15/21

Pride lose at home to Gotham FC, Orlando City sells out home opener, Americans reach the Champions League semifinals, and more.

Gotham FC v Orlando Pride Photo by Alex Menendez/ Getty Images

Howdy, Mane Landers. I hope you have all overcome the first half of your week with ease. With the Orlando Pride playing last night and the MLS season quickly approaching, there is quite a bit to talk about today. Let’s get right into the links.

Orlando Pride Suffer Home Loss to Gotham FC

The Orlando Pride lost their home opener to Gotham FC, 1-0 at Exploria Stadium last night, falling to 0-1-1 in the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup. After failing to capitalize on a number of chances — Marc Skinner’s team managed 17 shots — it almost seemed inevitable that the visitors would somehow find the net and it happened late. A completely unmarked Paige Monaghan scored in the 79th minute and slotted home the game’s only goal. The Pride will hope to improve in the match next Wednesday at home against the Washington Spirit, but with the two toughest opponents in the group coming up, things look pretty bleak for the Pride in this competition.

Orlando City Sells Out Allotted Tickets for Opening Match

The Orlando City home opener against Atlanta United has sold out. Exploria Stadium still has limited capacity due to the pandemic and priority was given to season ticket members and partial plan holders, but the club did not actually announce the number of tickets sold for Saturday in their press release or the story linked above.

“Since we are starting the season with reduced capacity, our priority was to ensure that our Season Ticket Members had access to tickets for all April and May matches. The demand for tickets was not surprising and we are pleased that all tickets for the Home Opener went to Season Ticket Members first, followed by Partial Plan holders,” Orlando City SC VP of Ticketing Christopher Spano said. “We will continue to work with MLS as well as local authorities to further increase stadium capacity when it is safe to do so. We would like to thank all Members for their patience with us throughout this process and look forward to moving to the next phase.”

The Lions May hope that the limited number of supporters make their presence known against the side’s southern rivals.

SBI: Orlando City has MLS Cup Potential on Paper

With the new season set to start in just two days, SBI released its 2021 MLS season preview for Orlando City. Last season, City had its best campaign in franchise history. The Lions will look to improve on those successes in 2021. While the pressures could be higher this time around, the squad itself looks strong as ever.

“Orlando City, at least on paper, has the makings to be a potential MLS Cup contender. Pareja showed in 2020 that he can squeeze a lot out of the group, and the majority of the roster that impressed last year is back for another run.”

Two Americans Reach Champions League Semifinals

For the first time in history, two Americans have reached the semifinals in the Champions League. Christian Pulisic put forward a man of the match performance against Porto on Tuesday, and the industrious outing helped see his side through against the prickly Portuguese side. Manchester City backup goalkeeper Zack Steffen also progressed to the final four at the expense of fellow countryman Gio Reyna and Borussia Dortmund.

Last season, Tyler Adams was the lone USMNT player to reach the semifinals, doing so with RB Leipzig. This time around, however, the two Pennsylvanians have done so. Steffen and City will take on Paris Saint-Germain, while Pulisic and company are set to square off against Real Madrid. Can either be the first from the country to win the big-eared trophy?

Free Kicks
  • Pedro Gallese showed off this world class save in a training video. Let’s hope he isn’t forced to have one of these against Atlanta this Saturday, but it’s nice to know that he can do it if needed.
  • Orlando Pride defender Toni Pressley dished on what it’s like to hang out with Marta in Brazil.

That’s all for today’s set of links, folks. As always, thanks for reading. I’ll catch you on the flip side.