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Lion Links: 6/9/21

USMNT takes on Costa Rica tonight, USWNT gets ready for Portugal, NWSL expands to San Diego, and more.

Honduras v United States: Semifinals - CONCACAF Nations League Finals Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all of you are doing well and aren’t too overwhelmed with all the international soccer going on. I’ve been busy buying new furniture, making new friends, and surviving my first week at my new job. It was also nice to catch up with former Orlando City SC assistant coach C.J. Brown with his new team, Chicago House AC. Everything is going well up here in the Windy City. Before we jump right into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando midfielder Joey DeZart, who turns 23 today!

USMNT versus Costa Rica preview

After defeating Mexico 3-2 to win the Concacaf Nations League, the United States Men’s National Team will play Costa Rica in a friendly today at 7 p.m. in Utah to wrap up this international window. The team has much to look forward to with the Gold Cup next month and 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the fall. Costa Rica is currently on a 10-match winless streak, with its last win coming against Curaçao in group play in the Concacaf Nations League in November of 2019. USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter will probably rotate players and Orlando’s Daryl Dike should get some minutes up front. With Zack Steffen out due to a bone bruise, Ethan Horvath will likely feature in goal for the Yanks again after his heroics in the Nations League.

USWNT Gets Ready for Portugal

The United States Women’s National Team will play a trio of friendlies this month for the Summer Series. The first match will be against Portugal tomorrow in Houston as the team prepares for the Olympics this summer. The team will play Jamaica on June 13 followed by Nigeria on June 16 and these games will help USWNT Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski decide which 18 players will make the trip to Tokyo.

This match will be the 10th time the U.S. and Portugal have faced each other. The USWNT has won the last nine meetings against Portugal, outscoring them 38-0. Portugal enters this match after just missing out on qualifying for the 2022 UEFA Women’s Euro and will look to build momentum to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time.

NWSL Expands to San Diego

The National Women’s Soccer League announced that San Diego will receive the latest expansion team. Former USWNT head coach Jill Ellis will be the club’s president and the team will debut in 2022. Despite being courted from many different organizations, Ellis will now have an opportunity to build a new expansion team from the ground up. NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird shared her thoughts on San Diego joining the league.

“On behalf of the NWSL and our board of governors, I’m thrilled to welcome San Diego NWSL to our league,” said NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird. “The NWSL’s growth is obviously a priority for us, but we’ve always said that growth has to be done thoughtfully and deliberately. That’s exactly what we’ve done here. San Diego NWSL has all the hallmarks of a successful expansion club: a committed ownership group with the resources required to invest in the success of our league and our players, in a community full of soccer players and fans, in a region that has been underrepresented in our league. I can’t wait to watch it all come together.”

USL Launches W-League

The United Soccer League announced the USL W League, which is set to begin in 2022. This league aims to provide women with a pre-professional pathway for their careers. The W League also announced its eight founding members: Chattanooga Red Wolves SC, Greenville Triumph SC, Hartford Athletic, Kaw Valley FC, Minnesota Women’s Soccer, Queensboro FC, South Georgia Tormenta FC, and a club led by D.C. United’s ownership group. The league alignment will be similar to USL League 2 in that the season would start in May and end in late July.

Free Kicks
  • According to Planet Football, Orlando City goalkeeper Brandon Austin’s loan was extended until the end of the season.
  • Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese made four saves in Peru’s 2-1 win over Ecuador. Orlando midfielder Sebas Mendez started for Ecuador and played the first half before his substitution. Elsewhere, Brazil won 2-0 over Paraguay while Argentina and Colombia fought to a 2-2 draw.
  • Canada won 4-0 over Suriname to book its spot in the next round of World Cup qualification. Alphonso Davies got the scoring started in the 37th minute and then Jonathan David had a hat trick in the second half. Canada will take on Haiti in a home-and-away series starting on June 12, with the winner advancing to the final group stage. As far as the other match-ups, Saint Kitts and Nevis will take on El Salvador while Panama will face off with Curaçao.
  • USMNT defender Mark McKenzie was subject to online racial abuse after his mistake in the Concacaf Nations League final.
  • French midfielder Gaëtane Thiney will be joining NJ/NY Gotham FC on loan from Paris FC.
  • Manchester United has entered contract talks with Paul Pogba to work on an extension as he enters the final year of his contract in the upcoming English Premier League season.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Take care of yourselves, stay safe, and I’ll see you next time.