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Lion Links: 7/5/21

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Matheus Aias loaned out, the Orlando Pride fall, Orlando City’s U-17 team wins MLS NEXT Cup, and much more.

SOCCER: JUL 04 NWSL - NC Courage at Orlando Pride Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! I know that plenty of you reading this have today off as a holiday. Usually I would be jealous at work trying to sell some cars, but this year I’m off as well. I know that might not seem like a big deal, but I rarely get time off for holidays, so I’m pretty happy despite Orlando City’s 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls. I know the Lions will get back on the right side of the things, but I currently don’t know what to do with the holiday off.

Enough about me. I hope you enjoyed Independence Day and enjoyed grilled meats or impossible meats depending on your preference. I also hope you were able to see some fireworks and that you still have all your fingers if you set some off yourself. On that cheery thought, let’s get to the links.

Matheus Aias is Headed to Spain

Orlando City forward Matheus Aias was loaned out to Real Oviedo. No, not that Oviedo, this club is in Spain’s second division. The loan lasts until June 30, 2022 and there is reportedly an option to buy as well. Although Daryl Dike will head to the Gold Cup, Alexandre Pato is nearing his return from injury and this loan gives Aias an opportunity for some playing time away from Orlando. Oviedo’s season will start on Aug. 15, so Aias will have some time to settle in with his new club.

Orlando Pride Lose at Home

The Orlando Pride lost their second match in a row, falling 2-0 to the North Carolina Courage. The Courage scored off of a defensive mistake by Meggie Dougherty Howard in only the third minute of play. From then on, the Pride were chasing the game and the Courage’s Havana Solaun scored in the 66th minute. Orlando couldn’t find that last bit of quality with the ball, no matter if it was Marta, Taylor Kornieck, or Sydney Leroux. The other bad news was defender Ali Krieger coming off due to injury just before halftime. Defender Amy Turner made her Pride debut in the 80th minute as well. The Pride will host Racing Louisville FC this Friday at 7 p.m.

Orlando City U-17 Team Wins MLS NEXT Cup

The future is bright for Orlando City. One of the things that Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi and Head Coach Oscar Pareja are hoping to instill in Orlando is an academy system that will allow players to advance from near childhood to the senior team. Evidence of that system working came when Orlando’s U-17 side won the MLS NEXT Cup on Saturday night. The Young Lions defeated Players Development Academy from Somerset, NJ in penalty kicks after neither team scored during the match. Orlando goalkeeper Isaac Delgado made two saves during the shootout while Alejandro Nasato, Owen Van Marter, and Ian Silva all made their kicks to give the Young Lions the victory.

USWNT Send-Off Series Ends Tonight

The USWNT plays against Mexico tonight in its final game before heading to Tokyo for the Olympics. The match will be played in East Hartford, CT at 5 p.m. It will be the second time that the two teams will meet in five days, with the Yanks defeating Mexico 4-0 in the previous match. Pride forward Alex Morgan will be with the team, along with all the others heading to the Olympics.

Free Kicks

That will do it for today. Go Lions, go Pride, and go USWNT!