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Lion Links: 6/14/21

USWNT wins, Orlando Pride players reflect on Pulse shooting, Euros and Copa America begin, and more.

Soccer: U.S. Women’s National Team Summer Series-USA at Jamaica Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

While it was a weekend without local professional soccer, there was plenty of action on television. The Euros and Copa America kicked off this weekend, plus the United States Women’s National Team took on Jamaica. Let’s look at some of the news of the day.

USWNT Breezes Past Jamaica

The USWNT scored quickly against Jamaica in Houston late Sunday night and didn’t look back in a 4-0 win. Carli Lloyd struck just 23 seconds into the game, the second-fastest goal in USWNT history. Lloyd also became the oldest player to score for the USWNT. In the seventh minute, Christen Press was taken down in the box by Orlando Pride defender Konya Plummer. Lindsey Horan stepped up and converted the penalty to double the lead.

Midge Purce then scored in the 23rd minute to put the game well out of reach. Pride forward Alex Morgan came on for Lloyd at the half and played the final 45 minutes. In stoppage time, Morgan headed in a cross from Sam Mewis for the fourth U.S. goal. The USWNT will next face Nigeria on Wednesday at 9 p.m. in Austin.

Pride Players Remember Pulse Shooting

The five-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting was Saturday and Pride players reflected on the tragedy. On June 12, 2016, the Pride received news of the shooting while in New York for a road game with the Western New York Flash the night before. Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris recalled the week after the shooting while trying to help the community.

“I don’t know if that pain will ever go away,” Harris said. “You never forget that feeling of just emptiness inside and really not knowing what to do. That’s something that’s so vivid. I can still almost feel it and smell it. ... It just felt like a storm. I was just spinning in this storm.”

Last summer, the Pride went to the Pulse memorial and will repeat that trip this week once players return from international duty.

First Weekend of Euro 2020

The European Championship kicked off this weekend with a full slate of games. It started on Friday when Italy completely dominated Turkey in a 3-0 win. On Saturday, Wales and Switzerland played to a 1-1 draw in Azerbaijan, Finland secured its first win in a major tournament by defeating Denmark 1-0, and Belgium dismantled Russia 3-0. On Sunday, England beat Croatia 1-0 thanks to a goal from Raheem Sterling, Austria handled North Macedonia 3-1, and an exciting Ukranian comeback was thwarted by a late Dutch winner as the Netherlands beat Ukraine 3-2.

Christian Eriksen Continues to Recover

Late in the first half of Saturday’s game between Denmark and Finland, Danish and Inter Milan star Christian Eriksen suddenly collapsed on the field. After nearly two hours, the game continued, though many questioned if it should have. On Sunday, Denmark’s team doctor said that Eriksen was “gone” before he was resuscitated. The midfielder remains in the hospital and is in stable condition as doctors continue testing to determine what caused the cardiac arrest.

Copa America Kicks Off

After protests and chaos, the 2021 Copa America officially kicked off last night. In the opening game, favorites Brazil showed why so many have chosen them to win. Against a Venezuelan squad missing 12 players due to a COVID-19 outbreak, Neymar recorded a goal and an assist as the hosts won 3-0. The second game of the day featured Orlando City midfielder Sebas Mendez. Unfortunately, it was his foul that led to the deciding goal from a free kick as Colombia edged Ecuador 1-0.

Concacaf World Cup Qualifying Second Round Begins

The second round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying is underway. The winners of the three match-ups will head into the final round, where they’ll join the United States, Mexico, Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Honduras. In the first legs, El Salvador dominated St. Kitts & Nevis 4-0, Panama squeaked by Curacao 2-1, and Canada escaped Haiti with a 1-0 win. Former Lions Darwin Ceren and Cyle Larin scored for El Salvador and Canada, respectively. The second legs will take place tomorrow night as the nations aim to advance to the third round.

Free Kicks

  • It was a successful weekend for the Orlando City academy as the U-15 squad beat Inter Miami 2-1 while the U-17 squad beat Inter Miami 3-0 to clinch the MLS Next Southeast division crown.
  • On Saturday, Wales continued its pre-match odd photo tradition.

That’s all for today. Have a great week!