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Lion Links: 7/9/21

Orlando Pride sign Jodie Taylor, the Pride host Racing Louisville FC tonight, Amy Turner reflects on decision to join the NWSL, and more.

NJ/NY Gotham City FC v Orlando Pride Photo by Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos/Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? July hasn’t been too kind to Orlando City or the Orlando Pride, but hopefully that starts turning around as the month rolls on. There’s plenty of soccer to look forward to throughout the month at least. Before we jump into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy 20th birthday to Orlando City Homegrown Player Jordan Bender, who is on loan with the Charlotte Independence.

Orlando Pride Sign Jodie Tyler

With Alex Morgan gone for the Olympics, the Pride have signed English forward Jodie Taylor to a deal that will keep her in Orlando through the 2021 season. The Pride acquired Taylor’s rights before the season in a trade that sent defender Carson Pickett to the North Carolina Courage. Taylor spent the 2020-2021 season in Europe, scoring once in six appearances for an Olympique Lyonnais squad loaded with talent. This isn’t Taylor’s first rodeo in the National Women’s Soccer League though, as she scored 14 goals in 47 matches with the club now known as OL Reign and had stints with the Washington Spirit and Portland Thorns.

The Pride have relied heavily on Morgan and Sydney Leroux on offense so far this season. The pair have scored eight of the team’s 12 goals this year and Taylor should take some of the pressure off of Leroux while Morgan is away.

The Pride Host Racing Louisville FC Tonight

Orlando will aim to bounce back when it takes on Racing Louisville at 7 p.m. tonight in Exploria Stadium. The Pride are coming off of their first shutout loss of the season, falling 2-0 at home to the Courage and relinquishing the top spot in the NWSL standings. They can reclaim that spot tonight with a win against a Louisville side that also lost last weekend. Although Louisville has lost four of its eight games this season, all have come at the hands of the impressive Courage and Thorns. This isn’t the first meeting between Orlando and Louisville in 2021, as the two sides fought to a 2-2 draw in the NWSL Challenge Cup’s group stage. Tonight’s match could end up being a battle between two of the league’s best goalkeepers, as Louisville’s Michelle Betos leads the NWSL with 48 saves while the Pride’s Ashlyn Harris secured yet another NWSL Save of the Week after denying a penalty — her third such stop this season.

Amy Turner Details Her Decision to Join the Pride

Pride defender Amy Turner made her NWSL debut in the team’s recent loss to the Courage. Although she only played a few minutes late in the match, it was a big moment for Turner as the entirety of her career was spent in England. After playing with various clubs as women’s soccer grew in England, Turner joined Manchester United for its inaugural season in 2018 and helped her team earn promotion and then a league title the following year. But she was urged to make a change by Americans Tobin Heath and Christen Press, who both joined United for the 2020-21 season.

“They used to say to me that I was probably the most recognizable player on the team for someone that they knew playing in the NWSL with the way I defend and the way I play, which was not something I’d really thought about too much before,” Turner said. “They reassured me that, in their opinion, it was a good decision for me and hopefully a good move in my career.”

Fellow Englishwoman Jade Moore has helped Turner settle in in Orlando, easing the transition between countries. As a center back, Turner’s addition should bring some organization to the back line and perhaps allow Ali Krieger to move to her preferred position at right back.

Getting Set for the Concacaf Gold Cup

The Gold Cup starts tomorrow and although the United States Men’s National Team and Mexico are expected to go far, there are plenty of teams that could potentially shake things up. The tournament opens with a match between El Salvador and Curacao at 5 p.m., with former Lion Darwin Ceren possibly in action for El Salvador. Later tomorrow night, at 10 p.m., Mexico’s campaign will start against Trinidad and Tobago. Unlike the USMNT, Mexico’s squad will be at nearly full strength for the tournament and is expected to easily top its group.

The USMNT is in a group with Canada, Haiti, and Martinique. Although the U.S. shouldn’t have much trouble claiming one of the top two spots, Canada’s and Haiti’s offenses should lead to some excitement in the group. On Sunday, Canada will take on Martinique at 6:30 p.m. and the USMNT plays Haiti at 8:30 p.m. The group match between the USMNT and Canada on July 18 could also give us an intriguing match-up between Orlando City forward Daryl Dike and former Lion Cyle Larin.

Exploria Stadium will host the majority of matches for the group that includes Costa Rica, Jamaica, Suriname, and Guadeloupe. The final group will feature guest nation Qatar along with Honduras, Panama, and Grenada.

Free Kicks
  • Alex Morgan wasn’t able to bring her daughter to Tokyo with her while playing in the Olympics.
  • Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli, who plays for Arsenal at the club level, named Marta as the player he most wants to meet while at the Olympics.

That’s going to be it for today, folks. I hope you all have a great Friday and enjoy all of the soccer this weekend. Go Orlando!