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Lion Links: 6/11/21

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Orlando City SC announces Pride month initiatives, USWNT wins, Ashlyn Harris wins NWSL Save of the Week, and more.

United States v Portugal - 2021 WNT Summer Series Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? It’s hard to believe that we’re already well into June, but I’m pretty excited for all of the soccer this summer. However, I’m not looking forward to how much hotter it is going to be in the coming months. A trip to my mailbox already ends up with me sweating and the temperatures are only going to rise as the summer wears on. But for now, let’s kick back and enjoy these links from around the soccer world.

Orlando City SC Announces Pride Month Initiatives

Tomorrow is the five-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting and Orlando City SC and the Orlando Pride launched initiatives to honor the victims and survivors. The club will donate six of the 49 rainbow seats in Exploria to the organization, with new seats of the same colors replacing them to continue paying tribute to those who lost their lives in the tragedy.

Orlando City’s game on June 22 against the San Jose Earthquakes and the Pride’s game on June 20 against NJ/NY Gotham FC will both be presented by the National Pulse Memorial & Museum, with a ticket plan available to attend both matches. Players will also wear jerseys with rainbow numbers in these matches to celebrate Pride month and those jerseys, along with other items, can be purchased by fans and a portion of the proceeds will be donated.

USWNT Wins in Texas

In its first match of the Summer Series, the United States Women’s National Team won 1-0 against Portugal. The Pride’s Alex Morgan started and played 73 minutes until Carli Lloyd was brought on to replace her. The USWNT wasn’t able to break through until the 76th minute when Sam Mewis got her head on the end of a corner kick from Christen Press to score. The USWNT will continue the Summer Series with a game Sunday night at 10:30 p.m. against Jamaica and then take on Nigeria Wednesday night at 9 p.m.

Keeping Up With the Pride

Morgan isn’t the only Pride player in action during this break, Pride defender Konya Plummer started for Jamaica in the the Reggae Girlz’ 1-0 win against Nigeria. Meanwhile, Pride goalkeeper Erin McLeod is in Spain with the Canadian National Team for a friendly against Russia today at 11 a.m. Marta and Brazil are also in Spain for a friendly against Russia today at 3 p.m. and then Canada and Brazil will face off on Monday at 3 p.m.

In other news, Ashlyn Harris won NWSL Save of the Week yet again. This time, it was for her diving save to keep former Pride defender Emily Sonnett from scoring off a header in the Pride’s 1-1 draw with the Washington Spirit.

UEFA Euro Gets Started Today

Well, it took some time due to the pandemic, but the Euros are finally here. The tournament kicks off today at 3 p.m. in Rome as Italy takes on Turkey. The match will give most of the world its first look at Italy’s revamped playing style against a capable Turkey side led by 35-year-old forward Burak Yilmaz. Although that is the only game slated for today, there will be at least two games every following day up until the group stage ends on June 23.

The tournament will feature the best players in Europe not named Erling Haaland, who will be watching at home after Norway failed to qualify. There are many players to keep an eye out for in this tournament beyond Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo, including several MLS players. France enters the tournament as the favorite, but is in a tough group against Portugal, Germany, and Hungary.

Free Kicks
  • After what has felt like an eternity, but has really only been about four months, Daryl Dike is officially back in Orlando and Benji Michel picked him up from the airport.
  • Orlando midfielder Sebas Mendez was called up for Ecuador’s Copa America squad. Mendez started in Ecuador’s past two qualifying matches so it will be interesting to see how much he plays in this tournament.
  • Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was also predictably called up for the tournament. Gallese and Mendez will both be in Brazil at least through June 27 for the group stage of the tournament so we should get a look at Brandon Austin in goal for Orlando.

That’s going to be it for today, Mane Landers. I hope you all enjoy your Friday and have a wonderful rest of your weekend.