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Lion Links: 8/23/21

The Orlando Pride fall against the Washington Spirit, the MLS All-Star match is nigh, European action heats up, and more.

SOCCER: AUG 22 NWSL - Orlando Pride at Washington Spirit Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! Well, it was a mixed bag of a weekend, but since it’s my birthday tomorrow, I’m going to keep a great attitude. Thanks to the MLS All-Star match on Wednesday, we get a little extra soccer, and that is always a good thing. It is also a little weird to think we’re heading towards the end of August. This year is flying by, though if we’re not careful, we’re in for a repeat of some of 2020. Let’s get to the links!

Orlando Pride Fall to the Washington Spirit

The Orlando Pride traveled to Audi Field on Sunday to take on the Washington Spirit and were unable to come away with any points. The Pride had a slow start but took the lead in the 68th minute thanks to a brilliant goal from Marta. However, the Spirit evened the match a mere two minutes later when Kylie Strom gave the ball away in the box and Ashley Hatch scored. The Spirit then secured a home win with a golazo from Ashley Sanchez in the 89th minute. The loss snapped a three-game unbeaten run with Becky Burleigh as interim head coach. The Pride are sixth in the NWSL standings and are back in action on the road this Sunday against NJ/NY Gotham FC.

Injury Bug Bites the MLS All Stars

Orlando City’s Nani and Pedro Gallese were both selected to take part in MLS All-Star events set for this week. However, Gallese is battling back from injury and Nani had to exit Orlando’s game against the Chicago Fire in the first half due to injury. Because of this, it is not clear if they will participate in tomorrow’s MLS All-Star Skills Challenge or Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game. They’re not the only ailing All-Stars though as LAFC forward Carlos Vela may also miss the match due to a quad injury according to LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley. The New England Revolution’s Carles Gil, who leads the league with 15 assists, is also recovering from a sports hernia and has not played for the Revs since July 31.

The MLS team will still have plenty of talented players at its disposal though when it takes on the best of Liga MX. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Raul Ruidiaz, and Lucas Zelarayan will represent MLS, and they are also notable players who have played in both MLS and Liga MX.

European Soccer Heats Up

With the European transfer window closing in just over a week, Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly looking to move on from Juventus and did not start in the team’s Serie A opener. There are very few clubs that can afford the 36-year-old forward, with Real Madrid, Manchester City, and his former club Manchester United among them. Given Manchester City hasn’t secured Harry Kane quite yet, Ronaldo may make things interesting as the window closes. Ronaldo came on in the 59th minute in Juventus’ 2-2 draw with Udinese. He seemed to score the game-winner in the last moments of the match, but the goal was disallowed after video review determined he was offside.

Speaking of Kane, he is back in a Tottenham jersey, though it’s uncertain if he still will be on Sept. 1. One might wonder if Manchester City even needs an expensive striker given how the club is doing after a 5-0 win over Norwich City. Elsewhere in Europe, Memphis Depay stepped up for FC Barcelona to score an equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao while Romelu Lukaku scored his first goal since returning to Chelsea in a 2-0 win over Arsenal.

There was also ugliness in France’s Ligue 1 as Nice supporters threw bottles and hit Marseille’s Dimitri Payet while he was taking a corner kick. Payet decided to throw it back, and the end result was fans storming the pitch. None of this is good. The match was abandoned when Marseille refused to return to the pitch to finish the match.

Angel City FC Reportedly Finds Its First Head Coach

It appears that Angel City FC reportedly hired Freya Coombe as the team’s first head coach. Coombe is currently Gotham FC’s head coach and Angel City will join the NWSL next season. This could have some impact for the Pride as their next match is against a Gotham FC side that may be in a vulnerable state of mind. If Coombe does head to Los Angeles, she will become the fifth NWSL coaching change this season.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City Director of Scouting Ricardo Moreira was able to see the Young Lions in action as they defeated Chicago 3-0.

That will do it for me today. Please be careful out there. Get vaccinated, and wear your masks. We’re all in this together.