Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! We are almost halfway through the calendar year, and what a season it’s been for both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride. If you had told me before the seasons started that both teams would be sitting where they are in the standings, I’d have bet against it, but here we are. I hope your weekend was as enjoyable as mine. Let’s get to the links!
Nani Nominated for Player of the Week After Win
If you’re like me, you’re still pumped from Orlando City’s comeback victory against Inter Miami. The Lions are currently riding a three-match winning streak, and there are plenty of reasons behind their success against Miami on the road. Nani made the biggest impact in that match, assisting on Chris Mueller’s first goal of the season to equalize and then scoring the game-winning goal himself. For the second straight time, Nani is nominated for MLS Player of the Week.
Who is your pick?— Major League Soccer (@MLS) June 28, 2021
⬇️ Cast your vote! ⬇️
Did I mention Orlando’s three wins all happened within seven days? One player who gave his all in those three matches was midfielder Junior Urso. The Brazilian is embracing his time in Orlando and gave some insight on the people who inspire him, his tattoos, and why he is known as the Bear. Urso and the Lions have certainly earned a break before hosting the New York Red Bulls this Saturday. Until then, enjoy this highlight reel of the many goals scored by the Lions since the international break.
3 matches. 10 goals.— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) June 27, 2021
All in just under 7 days pic.twitter.com/4foFKiEXVJ
No Panic for the Pride
The Orlando Pride also had three matches in seven days. Unfortunately, the Pride weren’t able to get the win on the road against the Houston Dash. The defense was justifiably tired, and Houston jumped out to a quick two-goal lead. Given that this is the Pride’s first loss of the season, there’s no reason to panic. They are still at the top of the NWSL standings after the Portland Thorns fell 2-0 to the North Carolina Courage. Although Alex Morgan, Marta, Ali Riley, and Erin McLeod are all headed to Tokyo, this squad has better depth than in previous seasons to help weather the storm. Plus, in case you missed it, the Pride brought in English defender Amy Turner to boost the back line.
Young Lions Advance on Penalty Kicks
Orlando City’s U-17 squad advanced to the quarterfinals of the MLS NEXT Cup playoffs. In a match against Shattuck-St. Mary’s, neither side managed to break through and the game went to penalty kicks. The Lions were perfect from the spot and Orlando goalkeeper Isaac Delgado had a great save to book Orlando’s ticket in the next round. The Young Lions will now face the LA Galaxy in the quarterfinals tomorrow morning at 9:05 a.m. Congratulations to the Young Lions and good luck in the quarterfinals.
MLS Weekend Roundup
With Orlando winning on Friday and the Philadelphia Union only earning one point in a 3-3 draw against the Chicago Fire on Saturday, the Lions are alone in second place in the Eastern Conference standings. Orlando is only two points behind the New England Revolution, which lost 2-1 against FC Dallas after a brace from Ricardo Pepi. The Lions have a game in hand over New England, though the two don’t play each other until Sept. 25. New England finally gave Orlando City an opening to make up ground in the standings.
As for how other Eastern Conference teams did this weekend, the Columbus Crew fought Austin FC to a scoreless draw, Atlanta United and the Red Bulls also had a 0-0 draw, Nashville SC scored in stoppage to salvage a point in a 1-1 result with CF Montreal, and New York City FC won 2-1 due to a late goal by Thiago Andrade against D.C. United.
The other big news was a racist comment allegedly made by an undisclosed Minnesota United player to Diego Chara of the Portland Timbers in their match on Saturday. According to the Professional Referee Organization, none of the match officials heard the comment. The head referee did include the alleged incident in his official match report and an investigation by MLS will be done. The Loons won the match 1-0.
- Orlando midfielder Sebas Mendez started for Ecuador in a 1-1 draw with Brazil to advance to the Copa America quarterfinals. Pedro Gallese earned his first clean sheet of the tournament in Peru’s 1-0 win over Venezuela to advance as well. While Ecuador will likely play Argentina in the quarterfinals, the bracket won’t be set in stone until after today’s matches.
- Are you wondering how to watch your favorite Pride players in the Olympics? Here’s a primer, but know that you’re either going to be getting up pretty early or setting up your DVR.
- Former Pride attacker Chioma Ubogagu was dismissed from Real Madrid for “indiscipline” after a culmination of behavior such as unauthorized absences.
- There’s a lot of grousing about VAR, but here’s a reminder of what it was like before goal line technology and video review were prevalent. Ghost goals, like the one England was denied in its match against Germany in the 2010 World Cup, seem to be a thing of the past.
That will do it to start the week. Have a great day and vamos Orlando!