Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! We are in the depths of summer now, and hurricane season is ramping up. When you add in all the soccer from this last weekend, things are quite busy. I hope you were able to catch some matches, and also prepare for upcoming storms. I know that we don’t truly worry until the Waffle House closes, but it never hurts to be prepared. That’s enough lecturing for now, let’s get to the links.
Orlando City’s Offensive Woes
It’s not really news that Orlando City has had trouble scoring goals in recent weeks. In the early part of the season, the defense was able to cover any lack of scoring, but injuries to goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, defensive midfielder Sebas Mendez, and players on the back line have made such a strategy untenable. The striker position has been almost entirely absent thanks to Alexandre Pato’s injury, Daryl Dike being on international duty, and Matheus Aiás playing in Spain on loan. Tesho Akindele, who also has spent some time away on international duty, has had a good season with three goals and four assists, but hasn’t scored since June. Orlando City desperately needs an effective striker to stay near the top of the Eastern Conference.
Orlando Pride Keep Earning Results Under Burleigh
Becky Burleigh is undefeated as the interim head coach of the Orlando Pride, with two draws and one win. The latest match was the 1-1 draw against the league-leading Portland Thorns. The Pride have been more organized since Burleigh took over, and it is showing in the results. This is a big turnaround from the squad that had lost its way in the waning days of former coach Marc Skinner’s tenure with the club. Despite being out-possessed and outshot against the Thorns, the Pride were able to get a point. Burleigh praised the substitutes who were able to come on late in the match and secure the result for the Pride.
Young Lion Wins MLS Next Golden Ball
Orlando City U-17 player Gonzalo Agustoni-Chagas won the Golden Ball for the 2020-2021 MLS NEXT season. Agustoni-Chagas joined Orlando’s academy in August last year and made an immediate impact, scoring four goals during the season. He also scored twice in the MLS NEXT Cup playoffs, including an impressive goal from an unreal angle that’s worth watching over and over again.
Agustoni-Chagas is currently with the U-17 Uruguayan National Team. The Young Lion helped Orlando lift the MLS NEXT Cup and details on the upcoming season should become available in the coming weeks.
With the return of the English Premier League, we can enjoy watching more Americans playing abroad. Christian Pulisic started things off by helping Chelsea to a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday. Pulisic started and put himself in the perfect position to pounce on a muffed save by Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita for his first goal of the new season. Josh Sargent came off the bench in the 77th minute to make his debut for Norwich City, as the club began its campaign to avoid relegation. Unfortunately for Sargent, his club had to play Liverpool in its first match, and the Reds ran rampant over the Canaries in a 3-0 result.
Meanwhile, over in the Bundesliga, 18-year-old Giovanni Reyna scored Borussia Dortmund’s fourth goal in a 5-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. While we are focusing on the contributions from American players, it must also be noted that Erling Haaland contributed on all five of Dortmund’s goals, scoring two of his own and assisting on the other three. John Brooks, Julian Green, and Tyler Adams also all started for their respective Bundesliga teams.
- United States Men’s National Team and Schalke 04 forward Matthew Hoppe had a great Gold Cup and returned to 2. Bundesliga after the club’s relegation last year. It’s been a good year for Hoppe as he stood out with Schalke and is forming a strong relationship with USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. Many EPL sides are rumored to have interest in the 20-year-old attacker and he may not be in Germany’s second division for long.
- In the 10th minute of FC Barcelona’s opening match with Real Sociedad, supporters chanted Lionel Messi’s name. It was Barcelona’s first La Liga match since Messi’s departure for Paris and supporters weren’t quite as kind to club president Joan Laporta. Barcelona cruised to a 4-2 win, with Martin Braithwaite scoring twice and adding an assist.
- For the first time, Germany’s top two soccer divisions will be led by a female chief executive as Donata Hopfen signed on for a three-year contract starting in January.
- For the second week in a row, I have the unfortunate task of sharing tragic news. Even as a Liverpool supporter, I mourn the passing of Legendary Germany and Bayern Munich striker Gerd Muller, who won the Ballon d’Or in 1970 and even played for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Our condolences to his family and friends.
Stay safe out there as we get this work week started. Vamos Orlando!