How’s it going, Mane Landers? Orlando City returns to action tomorrow afternoon so make sure to stay safe and hydrated out there. It will actually be the first Orlando season opener I’ll be able to watch, although just from the comfort of my sofa. I’m pretty excited to say the least. But for now, let’s get this Friday started with links from around the soccer world.
Orlando City is Aiming for Titles in 2021
The second part of Orlando City’s 2021 Bleed Purple video series was released and it will surely get you hyped for tomorrow. With footage from the preseason and commentary from players and coaches, the video shows how hard the Lions have been working to prepare for the 2021 season. Although the pandemic prevented the Lions from training in Cancun this time around, they were able to get the most out of their time at IMG Academy in Bradenton.
Alexandre Pato was the biggest addition this off-season and assistant coach Josema Bazan detailed how his experience and technique should make Pato a scoring threat in the air this year. It’s an exciting time to be an Orlando fan as the Lions are capable of winning trophies in MLS.
Derek Dodson is Headed to Orlando
According to Steven Goff, Derek Dodson left Georgetown to report to Orlando City. The Lions drafted Dodson in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft, trading up to select the forward with the No. 8 overall pick. Dodson didn’t feature in Georgetown’s 1-0 win over Creighton yesterday and won’t be with the team for the Big East final against Seton Hall tomorrow or the NCAA Tournament.
Georgetown's Derek Dodson, an Orlando City first-round draft pick, has reported to the MLS club in anticipation of finalizing a contract in coming days. Second-ranked Hoyas are without him for Big East semifinal today and rest of postseason. #hoyasaxa #vamosorlando— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) April 15, 2021
In Orlando, Dodson will reunite with Georgetown teammate Rio Hope-Gund, who signed with the team last week. When signed, the rookie will join a crowded group of forwards in Orlando’s potent offense.
Ashlyn Harris Nominated for Save of the Week
Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris is up for NWSL Save of the Week for her penalty save against NJ/NY Gotham FC. A handball in the box by Konya Plummer in the 11th minute gave Gotham an early penalty, but Harris stopped Nahomi Kawasumi’s low shot and scrambled to snuff out the rebound and keep the score level. Gotham goalkeeper DiDi Haracic was also nominated for denying Sydney Leroux in the 38th minute.
Europa League Semifinals Set
After a draw at home in the first leg, Arsenal went on the road and won 4-0 against Slavia Prague to advance to the Europa League semifinals. Goals from Nicolas Pépé, Alexandre Lacazette, and Bukayo Saka all came in the first 25 minutes of the match, with Lacazette scoring another in the 77th minute. Elsewhere, Edinson Cavani scored in Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Granada, AS Roma fought to a 1-1 draw with Ajax to advance on aggregate, and Villarreal cruised to a 2-1 victory over Dinamo Zagreb. In the semifinals, United will face off against Roma while Arsenal takes on Villareal in an exciting pair of match-ups.
- Even if it’s just over tug of war, I’ll never get tired watching these Lions celebrate.
These Lions will compete in anything— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) April 15, 2021
Tug of war pic.twitter.com/zYgBRi7T49
- Former Lion Dom Dwyer is reportedly a trialist with Toronto FC. The Canadian team is in Orlando and will play in Exploria Stadium, so at least there will be a sense of familiarity for Dwyer if he signs.
- Orlando forward Tesho Akindele received his master’s degree through Southern New Hampshire University. Congrats to him for managing that while also playing in MLS.
- Although no Lions made the cut, here are the top 10 young players who could break out this MLS season according to MLSsoccer.com’s Charles Boehm.
- Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez had a difficult time finding the back of the net in his first MLS season with the LA Galaxy. The 32-year-old discussed his vulnerability and the expectations he faces as he tries to bounce back in 2021.
- 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year Andy Najar is returning to D.C. United after years spent battling injuries abroad.
- American center back John Brooks has his eyes on improving with Wolfsburg as the team hunts a UEFA Champions League berth. Brooks has parlayed success at the club level into becoming the backbone of the United States Men’s National Team.
- Juventus, Inter Milan, Napoli, and four other Serie A clubs submitted requests for Serie A President Paolo Dal Pino to resign, claiming mismanagement.
- We end our links with some bizarre news as Tottenham Hotspur announced a partnership with Dulux, a paint supply company, only for the company to then take jabs at the team on Twitter.
That’s going to be it for today, folks. I hope you all have a great Friday and an even greater weekend. Tomorrow should be plenty of fun so make sure to get plenty of rest. Go Lions!