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Lion Links: 6/23/21

Orlando City crushes the San Jose Earthquakes, the Orlando Pride take on Kansas City today, Orlando academy sides clinch titles, and more.

SOCCER: JUN 22 MLS - San Jose Earthquakes at Orlando City SC Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with everyone down in Central Florida. I’ve been busy finally getting settled in Chicago, but I was able to check out the DuSable Museum of African American History this past weekend. There is plenty to get to today, so let’s jump right into the links.

Orlando City Wins Big at Home

The Lions got off to a hot start against the San Jose Earthquakes and didn’t look back in a strong 5-0 win. It all started after Benji Michel drew a penalty kick in the sixth minute. Nani converted it and in the 16th minute Michel scored to double Orlando’s lead. Daryl Dike then scored with a left-footed shot in the 31st minute to give Orlando a 3-0 lead before the match was delayed due to weather. Later in the second half, after the worst of the storm passed, Dike got his head on the end of a cross from Nani for the team’s fourth goal and Michel scored in the 90th minute for the fifth.

Check back later today for Christopher Adams’ five takeaways from the win and your player grades and Man of the Match from Marcus Mitchell.

Orlando Pride Face Kansas City Today

At 2 p.m. today, the Pride will take on Kansas City in their first of two road matches this week. The last meeting between the two sides was on May 30 when the Pride won 1-0 at home thanks to a goal from Alex Morgan. Kansas City is coming off of a 1-0 loss to the Portland Thorns this past Sunday and hasn’t scored in its last four matches. Meanwhile, the Pride are unbeaten this season and have scored in all six of their games. On Saturday, the Pride will take on the Houston Dash in Texas.

Orlando Academy Teams Clinch Division Titles

Orlando City’s U-17 and U-15 sides both clinched MLS NEXT Southeast Division titles after impressive seasons and they will take part in the MLS NEXT playoffs this weekend. The U-17 squad won 10 of its 12 games and scored 39 goals while only conceding eight. As for the U-15 team, it won 11 of its 13 games to finish above Inter Miami and Atlanta United. Oscar Pareja, head coach of the first team, detailed the importance of these players excelling at the academy level.

“That is not a small detail that they have won their conferences and they have won titles already in a short time,” said Pareja. “We put our Academy in such a great place. So we are looking forward to [continue] developing the program from the bottom to the top, everybody connected with the same identity, everybody connected with the same intentions and the same game model, but most importantly just [developing] the Orlando City culture of winning.”

Euro 2020 Group Stage Wraps Up Today

England managed to hang on and defeat the Czech Republic 1-0 to win the group and advance to the knockout stage. Despite the loss, the Czech Republic also advanced as one of the top four third-place teams in the tournament. In the other match, Croatia defeated Scotland 3-1 to book its ticket to the next round while Scotland was eliminated.

The group stage of Euro 2020 concludes today after four matches. It all starts at noon with Slovakia taking on Spain while Sweden plays Poland. Sweden is the only team in the group with a guaranteed spot in the next round while the other teams have plenty to play for. In the later matches at 3p.m., Germany faces Hungary while Portugal takes on France. With four points already, France is through to the next round, but none of the other teams are entirely safe.

The knockout stage begins this Saturday, with Wales playing against Denmark in Copenhagen and Italy playing Austria in London.

Free Kicks
  • Arsenal winger Willian stopped by to watch the Lions beat San Jose.
  • In Copa America action today, Ecuador and Peru will clash in a match that pits Orlando’s Sebas Mendez and Pedro Gallese against each other at 5 p.m.
  • Former Lion Hadji Barry made the USL Championship Team of the Week after recording a goal and three assists in one match for Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.
  • The Houston Dynamo announced a change in ownership with Ted Segal acquiring majority ownership of the club. Part of his investment will also include the Houston Dash and leasing rights to BBVA Stadium.
  • UEFA denied a request from Munich mayor Dieter Reiter to light up Allianz Arena in rainbow colors for today’s Euro 2020 clash between Germany and Hungary. In response, several Bundesliga clubs announced they will light their stadiums in rainbow colors to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.
  • The British government announced that crowd capacity will increase to 60,000 at Wembley Stadium for the Euro 2020 semifinals and final.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday, take care of yourselves, and I’ll see you next time.