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Lion Links: 8/27/21

Orlando City hosts Inter Miami tonight, Orlando Pride sign Parker Roberts, USMNT roster announced, and more.

Orlando Pride v North Carolina Courage Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Not only is it Friday, but it’s also an Orlando City game day as the Lions take on Inter Miami. It’s always nice having something to look forward to once the work week is over. The Orlando Pride are also in action this Sunday against NJ/NY Gotham FC, so it’s shaping up to be a fun weekend. But for now, enjoy these links from around the soccer world.

The Lions Host Inter Miami Tonight

Orlando City faces off against Inter Miami tonight at 8:30 p.m. in Exploria Stadium. It is the third and final meeting between the two Floridian clubs this season, with Orlando winning 2-1 in Fort Lauderdale on June 25 and then sharing a 1-1 result in Orlando on Aug. 4. It should be a good match-up as the Lions are riding a five-game unbeaten streak in MLS play while the Herons have won their past two games. The game is part of MLS Rivalry Week and Miguel Gallardo and Evan Weston broke down what to watch for in tonight’s Tropic Thunder showdown.

Orlando Pride Sign Parker Roberts

The Orlando Pride added some depth to their midfield by signing Parker Roberts to a contract through the end of this season. The Pride traded a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft to Kansas City for Roberts’ discovery rights. The 24-year-old reunites with Pride interim head coach Becky Burleigh, who coached Roberts throughout her collegiate career at the University of Florida.

Four Pride Players Named to List of Most Marketable Athletes

The Pride’s Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger, Alex Morgan, and Sydney Leroux were all named to SportsPro’s annual list of the 50 Most Marketable Athletes in the world. Harris placed third on the list, finishing behind Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka, while Krieger was listed at seventh, Morgan 10th, and Leroux at 45th. The metrics used for the list go beyond follower count and include reach and fan engagement to determine which athletes are most influential across multiple sports. Orlando Pride Executive Vice President Amanda Duffy weighed in on the importance of Pride players making the list and using their platform to promote social change.

“This is a tremendous honor and recognition for each of these four players,” added Amanda Duffy, EVP of the Orlando Pride. “The list itself speaks to the growing power of women and women in sport, as well as the opportunities in front of brands and agencies that choose to invest in them. While we’re elated to have four members of the Pride who call Orlando home included on this list, we’re proud of how these players, along with the full Pride roster, use their platforms as a catalyst for change both globally and right here in the Central Florida community.”

Gregg Berhalter Names USMNT World Cup Qualifying Roster

United States Men’s National Team Head Coach Gregg Berhalter called up 26 players for training camp ahead of World Cup qualifiers next week. Players in Europe such as Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Sergino Dest, and Giovanni Reyna will team up with MLS All-Stars such as Matt Turner, Cristian Roldan, Walker Zimmerman, and Sebastian Lletget. FC Dallas forward Ricardo Pepi was also named to the roster, choosing the USMNT over Mexico and giving Berhalter some needed firepower up top.

Orlando City’s Daryl Dike wasn’t called up, although that could be due to the shoulder injury and tendinitis that’s kept him sidelined since the Concacaf Gold Cup. The USMNT will instead rely on Pepi, Josh Sargent, and Jordan Pefok at center forward. There are three World Cup qualifying matches for the USMNT during this international window, with the first coming on Sept. 2 against El Salvador. After that match, the U.S. will host Canada on Sept. 5 in Nashville and then travel to play Honduras on Sept. 8.

Champions League Group Stage Set

The draw for the UEFA Champions League group stage was decided and there are plenty of interesting match-ups to look forward to. Group A will pit Paris Saint-Germain against Manchester City in a pairing that could also see PSG’s Lionel Messi square off against Cristiano Ronaldo as City nears a deal with Juventus for the Portuguese forward. Speaking of Juventus, it was drawn into Group H with Chelsea FC, meaning we could see a battle between the USMNT’s McKennie and Pulisic.

They aren’t the only Americans who will take part in the group stage though. A total of 12 American players will feature in the tournament. Brenden Aaronson, who scored two goals to help RB Salzburg get through the qualifying round, will play against Timothy Weah’s Lille, John Brooks’ Wolfsburg, and Sevilla in Group H. Dest and FC Barcelona will take on Bayern Munich, Benfica, and Dynamo Kyiv in Group E. Meanwhile, Reyna and Borussia Dortmund are in Group C along with Sporting Lisbon, Ajax, and a Besiktas squad spearheaded by former Lion Cyle Larin.

Free Kicks
  • Nani posted a nice group photo of him, Orlando teammate Pedro Gallese, and the rest of the MLS All-Stars.

That’s going to be it for today, Mane Landers. It’s an exciting time for soccer given all of the matches going on and the transfer news involving plenty of big names. Have a great Friday and rest of your weekend. Go Orlando!