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Lion Links: 6/18/21

Orlando City and the Orlando Pride return to action this weekend, MLS makes Juneteenth plans, Christian Eriksen will receive pacemaker, and more.

Montreal Impact v Orlando City SC

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope you all are staying nice and cool as the summer heats up. My air conditioning went out for a few days this week but was thankfully fixed before I could melt. Let’s get this Friday started off right with some links from around the soccer world.

What to Expect From the Lions

After a three-week international break, the Lions return tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. against Toronto FC. Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese is playing in the Copa America, so we will get our first look at Brandon Austin tomorrow. Midfielder Uri Rosell could also make his first appearance of the season after missing time due to injury and his recovery comes at a great time as Sebas Mendez is also in Brazil for the Copa America.

João Moutinho also healed up during the break, but Ruan and Alexandre Pato aren’t expected to feature in tomorrow’s game. Center back Rodrigo Schlegel also isn’t expected to play as he remains with his family after the recent passing of his father. Daryl Dike is back with the team after time on loan with Barnsley and playing internationally for the U.S., but Head Coach Oscar Pareja will ease him back into things.

“I think it’s important for all of us to understand about timing his return,” Pareja said. “Obviously with Daryl being part of our first season last year and the success he had in England and with the national team, we want to have him available for the fans and the group and the competition. … But we want to be smart about his timing.”

Orlando Pride Return to Exploria Stadium

The National Women’s Soccer League also returns after a break and the Orlando Pride will host NJ/NY Gotham FC at Exploria Stadium on Sunday at 6 p.m. The Pride are undefeated after five matches, but Gotham got the better of the Pride in the NWSL Challenge Cup, so this should be a good match-up. This is also the first Orlando match since Exploria Stadium was opened to full capacity so if you have tickets to the game make sure to catch up on the safety guidelines in place. Masks are recommended but not required, all transactions will be cashless, and players and coaches are restricted from autographs or direct contact with fans.

MLS Will Recognize Juneteenth This Weekend

Major League Soccer announced a series of initiatives alongside Black Players for Change to celebrate Juneteenth, which commemorates when slavery ended in the U.S. on June 19. Players in action this weekend will wear a stylized numbers on their jerseys, which will then be auctioned off to benefit organizations that uplift Black communities. The Black National Anthem will also be played prior to each match.

Match Pauses to Tribute Christian Eriksen

In Denmark’s match against Belgium, both sides stopped play in the 10th minute to pay tribute to Eriksen, who was watching from the hospital after his cardiac arrest in Denmark’s opening match. Although Denmark ended up losing the match 2-1, the Scandanavian country led at the time of the stoppage thanks to a goal from Yussuf Poulsen in the second minute.

Eriksen will have a type of pacemaker implanted to help prevent fatal cardiac arrests by restoring a regular hearth rhythm through a jolt. Italian FA rules don’t allow players to play with the type of pacemaker Eriksen will receive so the Inter midfielder will need exemption to return to his club.

Free Kicks
  • Gallese made four saves in Peru’s 4-0 loss to Brazil. It was Peru’s first match of four in the group stage and Brazil’s offense is the strongest one Gallese will face in the group, so there is still time for Peru to turn things around.
  • Nani will be able to play tomorrow night now that his suspension is over and he seems fired up in training.
  • The Pride are also hard at work to make sure they stay on top of the NWSL standings.

this year.

That’s going to be it for me today. I hope you all have a fantastic day and rest of your weekend. Vamos Orlando!