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Lion Links: 8/30/21

The Orlando Pride defeat NJ/NY Gotham FC, Ashlyn Harris breaks NWSL save record, World Cup qualifiers are close, and more.

Portland Thorns FC v Orlando Pride Photo by Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! It was a weekend of (mostly) positive results for Orlando City and the Orlando Pride over the weekend, with the Lions earning a draw at home and the Pride winning on the road. I’ll always take that kind of weekend if given a choice. Additionally, Florida was spared the brunt of Hurricane Ida’s fury, though our thoughts go out to those affected in Louisiana and Mississippi. Let’s get to the links.

Orlando Pride Defeat NJ/NY Gotham FC

The Orlando Pride traveled to Harrison, NJ and earned all three points on the road against NJ/NY Gotham FC with a 1-0 win. Erika Tymrak scored her first goal for the Pride in the 49th minute with a long-range effort and made her intentions clear on Twitter.

Despite Gotham taking more than twice as many shots, and holding the majority of possession, Orlando was able to give Becky Burleigh another win and rebound from last week’s loss. The Pride return to Exploria Stadium next Sunday to host the Houston Dash.

Ashlyn Harris Breaks NWSL Save Record

Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris entered the match against Gotham FC with 466 saves in NWSL, which was two behind former Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart for the most in league history. In the 68th minute, Harris made her third and final save of the match, taking over the record with 469 saves. Obviously, Harris is nowhere near done and will continue to add to her total. The record-breaking save came on a shot by fellow United States Women’s National Team teammate Carli Lloyd. Harris praised goalkeeping coach Lloyd Yaxley for his training over the course of her career since she joined the Washington Spirit in 2013 for the NWSL’s inaugural season.

“I’m so grateful to the commitment he’s shown to me and my success and my career,” Harris said. “I just want to thank him because I would have never been here without him constantly pushing me. Even when I doubt myself, like he’s right there to pick me up. In the offseason, he’s running sprints and suicides with me. ... I owe so much to him.”

Abby Dahlkemper Traded to the Houston Dash

The Dash acquired Abby Dahlkemper from the North Carolina Courage in exchange for $25,000 in Allocation Money and additional incentives based on performance. The center back is coming off a season in England with Manchester City where she made eight appearances. Dahlkemper spent part of her summer in Tokyo with the USWNT for the Olympics and now returns to the NWSL once more. She will strengthen a Dash defense that’s conceded 20 goals this season as the club hunts for a playoff spot.

World Cup Qualifiers are on the Horizon

The United States Men’s National Team begins its FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign this Thursday against El Salvador at Estadio Cuscatlán. The U.S. has never lost to Los Cuscatlecos in World Cup qualifying, with a 2-0-2 record. In the last meeting in 2009, the U.S. came back from a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw in the same stadium as the upcoming match. One concern for the USMNT is the status of its wingers. Christian Pulisic is awaiting a negative COVID-19 test in order to participate in the upcoming qualifiers. USMNT winger Tim Weah will miss the matches after suffering a thigh injury.

Elsewhere, clubs in La Liga lost their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to keep FIFA from extending the international window for the qualifiers. Players returning to Spain after international duty will miss matches on Sept. 11 if the fixtures are not rescheduled, which will be difficult with Champions League matches congesting the calendar. There are also quarantine issues for players traveling from English Premier League clubs upon their returns to England. Holding World Cup qualifiers during a pandemic is difficult.

European Soccer is in Full Swing

The best time of the year is here. MLS is in full swing and the European leagues are back in season. The big news was, of course, Lionel Messi making his debut for Paris Saint-Germain. Kylian Mbappé scored both goals in PSG’s win over Reims, but was still overshadowed by Messi’s entrance in the second half.

In England, Chelsea managed to maintain a 1-1 draw against Liverpool despite going down a man to end the first half. Liverpool evened on a legitimate penalty, though the letter of the law also saw Chelsea’s Reece James earn a straight red. Even as a Liverpool fan, I don’t think that rule is fair when applied to an inadvertent hand ball.

Borussia Dortmund might not have the firepower to really challenge Bayern Munich this season, but it did get off to a good start with a 3-2 win over Hoffenheim. USMNT midfielder Giovanni Reyna started Dortmund off by scoring a goal in the 49th minute. Jude Bellingham added a second in the 69th minute, and Erling Haaland scored the game winner in stoppage time.

Free Kicks
  • Take a look at this hilarious flop by Andre Silva when USMNT defender John Brooks barely bumped him. I hope Silva was able to recover, and he’d better hope that Brooks never actually puts something behind a real foul.

That will do it for today. Stay safe, get vaccinated, and mask up. Vamos Orlando!