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Lion Links: 6/4/21

Orlando City will make good use of the international break, Alex Morgan named NWSL Player of the Month, USMNT wins, and more.

Honduras v United States: Semifinals - CONCACAF Nations League Finals Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? MLS may be on an international break, but there is still plenty of soccer to look forward to this weekend thanks to the Orlando Pride and United States Men’s National Team. I’m on vacation these next few days and am looking forward to just relaxing a bit. Today is also National Donut Day so be sure to look into your favorite local place to see if they’re running any promotions. Now, let’s get this Friday started with some links from around the soccer world.

Keeping Up With the Lions

Although the Lions won’t be playing during this international break, they are still staying busy. The break actually comes at a great time for the Lions as multiple players heal up from injuries. Forward Alexandre Pato hasn’t played since the season opener back on April 17, but should be ready to return later this month. Fullbacks Ruan and João Moutinho should also get needed healing before Orlando takes to the field again on June 19 against Toronto FC.

There are also Lions on international duty to watch as Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and Ecuadorian midfielder Sebas Mendez are taking part in World Cup qualifiers. Gallese had a rough night against Colombia in a 3-0 loss as Peru’s struggles continued. Mendez and Ecuador will take on Brazil tonight at 8:30 p.m. The two Lions will then face off against each other on June 8 in Ecuador.

Daryl Dike is with the USMNT and is expected to feature in its friendly with Costa Rica on June 9. Coincidentally, June 9 is also the day the summer transfer window opens up and there are sure to be offers for Dike once it does.

Alex Morgan Named NWSL Player of the Month

The Pride were dominant over the course of May, winning three of their four National Women’s Soccer League regular-season matches. Pride forward Alex Morgan led the offense and was named NWSL Player of the Month. With four goals so far this season, Morgan leads the league in scoring and also has an assist to her name.

The Pride also had the most players on May’s Team of the Month as Morgan, Sydney Leroux, and Phoebe McClernon were all selected. Leroux has two goals for the Pride, including the game-winner against the Portland Thorns. On defense, McClernon has played every minute for the Pride this season to help secure leads and see out games.

Learning More About Orlando City’s Academy

The first episode of a video series called Orlando City Next Gen was released. The episode provided a closer look at the club’s academy and its players and coaching staff. Academy Director Marcelo Neveleff detailed the academy’s efforts to help players reach the first team or further their education in college. The video is definitely worth checking out as Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi and Director of Scouting Ricardo Moreira also weighed in on the process.

The academy travelled to Atlanta this past weekend for the MLS Academy Cup, with both the U-17 and U-15 sides winning two of their three exhibition games. Ethan Subachan notably scored four goals across three games for the U-17 squad.

USMNT Advances to Concacaf Nations League Final

Jordan Siebatcheu scored his first goal for the USMNT and it was the difference maker in the USMNT’s 1-0 win over Honduras in the Concacaf Nations League semifinal. In the 88th minute, John Brooks did a fantastic job finding Weston McKennie in a pocket of space. McKennie headed the ball towards goal and it bounced right to Siebatcheu wide open in front of goal. The 25-year-old made a nice diving header to send the ball into the back of the net and give the USMNT the win. You can check out the goal below, including a cameo from Dike as Siebatcheu points him out to celebrate the goal.

The USMNT had a majority of possession and although it out-shot Honduras 10-7, both sides had four shots on target. The midfield lacked creativity at times and Zack Steffen stepped up to make great saves. Now the USMNT turns its attention to Sunday for the Nations League final against a Mexico team that beat Costa Rica in penalties in the other semifinal.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando Homegrown Player Wilfredo Rivera had an assist in Puerto Rico’s 7-0 win over the Bahamas. Puerto Rico’s next World Cup qualifying match will be on June 8 against Guyana.
  • Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was named MLS Player of the Month. After an underwhelming 2020 season, the LA Galaxy forward scored five goals in his first two games this season. Although he’s cooled off a bit since then, Chicharito still leads the league with seven goals.
  • Former USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones spoke about his efforts to become a coach in this next stage of his career. The 39-year-old discussed the importance of having more Black representation at the coaching level in soccer and how his role as a coach will vastly differ from his reputation as a player.
  • USMNT forward Bobby Wood landed in Utah and should be ready to roll for the rest of Real Salt Lake’s season. Orlando fans can rest easy though since the Lions won’t have to face off against RSL or Wood this season. Instead we can all sit back, enjoy the bad puns, and watch him take on the Western Conference.

That’s going to be it from me today! I hope you all have a nice Friday and even nicer rest of your weekend.