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Lion Links: 6/21/21

The Orlando Pride equalize late, Brandon Austin is settling in, Pedro Gallese and Peru win, Euro 2020 results, and more.

SOCCER: JUN 20 NWSL - NJ/NY Gotham FC at Orlando Pride Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! I love this time of the year. There is so much soccer between MLS, the NWSL, Euro 2020, and Copa America. You can practically turn on the television anytime of the day, and watch some soccer. Plus, we have an Orlando City match tomorrow night. What a time to be alive. Let’s get to the links.

The Orlando Pride Remain Undefeated

The Orlando Pride hosted NJ/NY Gotham FC in the friendly confines of Exploria Stadium and played to a 1-1 draw. Honestly, the Pride had plenty of missed chances throughout the match, including in the first half. That lack of finishing hurt the Pride when Caprice Dydasco scored for Gotham in the 45th minute to give the visitors the lead at the half. The Pride kept pressing, though it took almost the remainder of the match for the Pride to finally get an equalizer in the 90th minute off Courtney Petersen’s beautiful shot from the left side of the box. Despite Marta’s efforts to find the winning goal, Orlando had to be content with keeping its undefeated streak going with the draw at home.

Brandon Austin Discusses His First Start

The Lions’ win this weekend was the first time Orlando supporters saw goalkeeper Brandon Austin in action, but those in the Tottenham Hotspur organization are already familiar with his abilities. Despite the Lions conceding two goals against Toronto FC, it was a good performance from the backup keeper. On loan from Tottenham, Austin weighed in on his experience since joining the Lions.

“The team and everyone around the club have made me feel welcome since I’ve arrived here, so to now get this opportunity that I’ve worked hard for is really pleasing, especially again because we won the game and it was a really important three points.”

Austin will continue to get chances in goal while Pedro Gallese is with the Peruvian National Team at the Copa America.

El Pulpo Wins in the Copa America

Speaking of Gallese, he helped Peru win 2-1 over Colombia. Sergio Peña put Peru up in the 17th minute and Colombia scored the equalizer in the 53rd minute after Gallese fouled Miguel Borja in the box, earning a yellow card. On the subsequent penalty kick, Gallese chose the wrong direction and Colombia evened the score at 1-1. The craziness continued in the 64th minute when David Ospina couldn’t quite get to a ball in time to keep it off the line. The goal was determined to be an own goal from Colombian defender Yerry Mina and gave Peru the lead once more. Gallese redeemed himself later in the match with this save in the 69th minute to ensure Peru won and stayed alive in the tournament.

In the earlier match, Ecuador and Venezuela played to a 2-2 draw. Ecuador took the lead twice only for Venezuela to pull even each time. Ayrton Preciado scored the first of Ecuador’s goals in the 39th minute. In the second half, Edson Castillo put Venezuela on the board with his goal in the 51st minute, but Gonzalo Plata put Ecuador back on top 20 minutes later. It looked as though Ecuador would get the win, but Ronald Hernández slipped in behind the Venezuelan defense and deftly put a header into the back of the net in stoppage time. Orlando’s Sebas Mendez started in the midfield for Ecuador and played 67 minutes. Ecuador and Peru will square off in a crucial match Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Pride Players Stand Up For LGBTQ Youth

Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris has led the team to support young transgender athletes. During the national anthem before Sunday’s match, players wore shirts stating “Protect Trans Children” over their jerseys in response to legislation earlier this month preventing transgender girls from participating in girls youth sports. Petersen spoke about the importance of the players using their platform to make a difference.

“Using our platform to create this voice is something that we focus on and that we have been focusing on,” Petersen said. “I think it’s really important that we continue to do that throughout the season because we have such a tremendous platform to bring awareness to these topics. It means so much to us.”

Euro 2020 Continues

Despite losing 1-0 to Italy, Wales advanced alongside its opponent thanks to a better goal differential than Switzerland. Italy won all three of its matches to top the group while Wales finished in second, Switzerland in third, and Turkey bringing up the rear. Switzerland had a dominant 3-1 win over Turkey, but its fate will depend on how the other third-place finishers in the tournament perform.

The competition continues today at noon with Ukraine taking on Austria in a fight for second place while the Netherlands play North Macedonia. At 3 p.m., Denmark will need a win against Russia if it wants a chance to advance while Finland will play Belgium.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando defender Rodrigo Schlegel’s father passed away last week and the defender has been with his family. The rest of Orlando City’s players and coaches dedicated the win over Toronto FC to Schlegel.
  • On the road against Atlanta United, the Philadelphia Union completed a huge comeback with two goals in the final 10 minutes for a 2-2 draw. The Union’s equalizer was a stunner from defender Jakob Glesnes at long range.
  • French striker Antoine Griezmann has his eyes set on joining MLS once his contract with FC Barcelona is up in 2024.
  • Only vaccinated fans will be able to attend the 2022 World Cup according to Qatar’s prime minister.
  • Ligue 1 may be in serious financial trouble due to issues involving its broadcast rights. The league worked out a deal for Amazon to become its primary broadcasting partner. However, that deal upset Canal Plus, which still has the rights to two matches per week. To be fair, Amazon received a better deal than Canal Plus, so it’s no surprise it is a little miffed. Canal Plus is threatening not to broadcast the matches, nor pay for them, which would be a huge financial liability for Ligue 1.

That will do it for me. Stay tuned for our coverage of the Lions’ match Tuesday night against the San Jose Earthquakes. Vamos Orlando!