Yesterday was a doozy. We had an Orlando City match, seven more Major League Soccer matches, huge Leagues Cup news, and seemingly tons of other news. This is a hefty one, so let’s just skip the pleasantries and jump right into it.
Orlando City Falls 3-1 On The Road Against The Chicago Fire
Orlando City has lost two games in a row for the first time this season, falling to the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field. Orlando fielded a heavily rotated lineup with no Nani, Mauricio Pereyra, Chris Mueller, or Antonio Carlos. It was a lively, back-and-forth first half, with Andres Perea getting his first goal for the club in the 34th minute on a wonderful finish around the six-yard box following a good run and cross from Mikey Halliday — though a touch from a defender negated Halliday’s first assist. Orlando lost the advantage right before halftime after Kyle Smith lost Boris Sekulic at the far post and the Slovakian defender headed it across the goal and in. Orlando had plenty of opportunities and generally looked the better of the two teams, but it was level at half.
The second half was even more frustrating. Orlando had chances, including a great look for Benji Michel early in the half, but couldn’t find the winner before Chicago started pouring it on. Alvaro Medran played a good through ball that split the Orlando City back line before Robert Beric slotted home the chance. The Lions nearly got the game back, especially with Nani, Pereyra, and Mueller on the field, and had a few clear-cut opportunities, but couldn’t finish. To make matters worse, Chicago found space on a late breakaway following a poor Smith cross leading to a Chinonso Offor goal deep into second-half stoppage time. Orlando had over twice as many attempts on goal as Chicago, but lacked the quality offensively and defensively to get a result against the resurgent Chicago Fire.
Orlando To Host Santos Laguna in Leagues Cup
Leagues Cup is back and Orlando City’s opponent is finally set. The Lions will face the reigning runners up in Liga MX, Santos Laguna. The match is set for Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. at Exploria Stadium, with live coverage on TUDN and ESPN+. Per the release, the qualifiers from Liga MX for the tournament were, “the top four teams from the overall standings from the 2020-2021 Liga MX season that are not scheduled to participate in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League,” the same qualifying as MLS. It’s a single-elimination tournament starting in the quarterfinals, with a neutral-site — yet to be determined — final set for Sept. 22. Santos Laguna have a solid history in continental competitions, finishing runners-up in the 2012 and 2013 Concacaf Champions League. This is Orlando City’s first ever appearance in a competitive international competition.
Orlando Pride Eyeing One More Addition, Krieger Injury Update
According to Orlando Head Coach Marc Skinner, the Pride are looking to bring in one more player in this transfer window.
“We’re looking at other potentials of ongoing conversations, so we do have a couple of options that we are looking into. Hopefully, we’re pretty close to one, so that will hopefully be something we can add in.”
Orlando already added defenders Amy Turner and Kylie Strom this summer.
Captain Ali Krieger went down injured against North Carolina on Sunday, but it looks to be a minor injury, with no tears or fractures detected. She could return to action as soon as Friday, but only if she’s able to participate in training today.
Midweek MLS Results
Outside of Orlando’s disappointing result, there was a full slate of MLS action on Wednesday. The Eastern Conference was madness, starting with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory for CF Montreal over New York City FC — the game was actually played at Exploria Stadium — before Toronto FC turned the league on its head, taking a 3-0 lead over conference leaders the New England Revolution. The Revs nearly got the game back, scoring two second-half goals and hunting an equalizer late, but Toronto held on for the huge upset.
There was a much fuller slate of games out west, with five Western Conference showdowns. LAFC went on the road and won 2-0 over Austin FC, Colorado beat Minnesota 2-0 at home, Seattle kept their undefeated season alive with a 2-0 victory in Houston, Real Salt Lake scored in the first minute and cruised to a 4-0 win, and the LA Galaxy won 3-1 over FC Dallas.
- Ashyln Harris was once again nominated for Save of The Week for her fantastic penalty stop against North Carolina.
Time to cast those votes ️— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) July 7, 2021
Your nominees for the @Verizon Save of the Week are here ⤵️
*Voting closes in 24 hours*
- Charlotte FC named its first ever head coach, Miguel Angel Ramirez. The Spaniard previously coached at Internacional in Brazil and led Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle to the Copa Sudamericana title in 2019. At 36, he is the youngest head coach in MLS.
- Nashville SC announced the record signing of Ivorian striker Ake Loba from Liga MX giants Monterrey. The transfer cost $6.8 million and the 23-year-old forward will be a Designated Player.
- The EURO 2020 final is set after England ousted Denmark in extra time, courtesy of Harry Kane’s decisive goal. England will face Italy this Sunday.
That’s what I’ve got for today. Thank you all so much for reading. Have an extraordinary day!