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Lion Links: 5/6/21

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Orlando Pride’s Ashlyn Harris honored for Challenge Cup play, Orlando City set for familiar foe, USMNT adds a friendly to the schedule, and more.

Ornaldo Pride v North Carolina Courage Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Happy Thursday, everyone. Hopefully you’re not too tired from staying up late to watch Concacaf Champions League last night. I always seem to stay up too late and live soccer matches starting after 9 p.m. is often the culprit.

While I’m busy yawning and slamming a 5-Hour Energy, here’s the news of the day for you to enjoy.

Harris Named to JWS Best Xl for Challenge Cup Performance

Just Women’s Sports named Ashlyn Harris to its NWSL Challenge Cup Best XI. The Orlando Pride’s starting goalkeeper turned in an outstanding performance during the group stage of the competition, keeping her team in the game and helping the Pride earn a pair of shutouts.

“Harris strung together a series of outstanding performances during the Challenge Cup, earning two clean sheets and maintaining an 84.2% save success rate throughout Orlando’s four games. Most notably, Harris stopped two penalty kicks within a week’s time — one against the Washington Spirit and one against NJ/NY Gotham FC — earning the honor of Budweiser’s Player of the Week in the second week of the tournament.”

NYCFC Is a Familiar Foe — Get to Know the Pigeons Anyway

If there’s a team that Orlando City fans know well, it’s New York City FC. Some of the club’s most memorable moments since joining MLS have come against the Lions’ fellow 2015 expansion side. No one will ever forget Rodrigo Schlegel in that wild penalty shootout in the playoffs last year or the Running of the Wall — another shootout in a knockout match — in the 2019 U.S. Open Cup. Nevertheless, Orlando City would like to tell you a little more about Saturday’s opponents, so enjoy.

USMNT Will Take on Costa Rica in June

The United States Men’s National Team has added a friendly to the schedule on June 9 against Costa Rica. The Yanks will take on the Ticos at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT in the first friendly opportunity on U.S. soil during a FIFA window since 2019. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. Capacity for the match is limited to 10,000 fans at the moment, and it will be interesting to see if that changes in the coming weeks. Ticket information will be available at a later date for those American Outlaw types who are looking to get to a game.

Americans Christian Pulisic, Zack Steffen Set to Meet in UCL Final

USMNT teammates Christian Pulisic of Chelsea and Zack Steffen of Manchester City will square off in the UEFA Champions League final. Pulisic helped his team eliminate Real Madrid with a 2-0 win to advance on Wednesday. The U.S. attacking midfielder assisted on Mason Mount’s goal. While it will be neat to see Pulisic or Steffen become the first American to win that particular trophy with their team, I must say I’m not excited that the teams happen to be Chelsea and Manchester City, but Chelsea has been impressive on both the men’s and women’s sides, becoming the first club to put both teams in the Champions League final in the same year.

Concacaf Champions League Quarterfinals Results

It was a rough night for Major League Soccer, as the Columbus Crew and Portland Timbers were both knocked out of the CCL in Mexico by Liga MX sides on Wednesday night. The Columbus Crew lost 3-0 in the opener, falling 5-2 on aggregate across the two legs.

In the nightcap, the Portland Timbers needed a win against Club America after last week’s 1-1 draw. On a wet night in Mexico City, the Eagles grabbed the early lead to put the pressure on Portland and went on to win the match 3-1 and the tie 4-2 on aggregate.

MLS has one remaining team in the competition: the Philadelphia Union.

Free Kicks

That’s all my time for today. I’d like to thank Daniel Finton, who normally would appear in this slot on Thursday mornings, for his time with The Mane Land. Daniel is off to the next adventure in his life and we appreciated his contributions to the cause while he was on staff.