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Lion Links: 9/6/21

Mason Stajduhar has surgery, Orlando Pride draw with the Houston Dash, the USMNT draws with Canada, and more.

SOCCER: SEP 05 NWSL - Houston Dash at Orlando Pride Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! The weekend started out well with a win from Orlando City, but the rest wasn’t quite so good, despite neither the Orlando Pride nor the USMNT losing. I’m saying that I’ve had better weekends with one win and two draws. It was a busy weekend filled with plenty of soccer from around the world. Let’s get to the links!

Mason Stajduhar Has Successful Knee Surgery

Orlando City goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar underwent surgery to repair a left knee meniscus tear and a timeline for his recovery isn’t available at this time. The 23-year-old has played in five MLS games this season, filling in for Pedro Gallese and getting his first clean sheet in a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Aug. 21.

With Gallese on international duty with Peru and Stajduhar recovering from injury, Orlando’s keeper pool isn’t the deepest at the moment. Adam Grinwis, who started in Orlando’s 3-2 win over the Columbus Crew, will play between the sticks until Gallese’s return, with Greg Ranjitsingh available as a backup if needed. The Lions take on Atlanta United on the road this Friday and Gallese isn’t likely to play since he will have a match for Peru the night before.

Joey DeZart is Making the Most of His Playing Time

Injuries and international call-ups have limited Orlando’s midfield as key players such as Mauricio Pereyra, Sebas Mendez, and Andres Perea have been unavailable in recent weeks. As such, Joey DeZart has started in the past four games and already has more minutes this season than he did in his rookie campaign last year. He’s also making better use of those minutes, as he’s become a steady player alongside Junior Urso in the midfield while other Lions recover. DeZart has certainly played himself into better form during the starts, boasting a 91% passing rate, and helping the Lions keep opponents off the score sheet. Depth is an important aspect for any team that hopes to challenge for titles, and DeZart is doing his part for Orlando City.

The Pride Draw With the Houston Dash

Things did not start well for the Orlando Pride when a poor pass by Ali Riley resulted in a goal by the Houston Dash’s Rachel Daly in the 10th minute. There was also a scary moment in the 60th minute when Ashlyn Harris went down after contact in front of the goal. The stretcher was brought on, but Harris walked off under her own power before heading to the locker room. Erin McLeod came on for Harris, and Taylor Kornieck came on for Phoebe McClernon. Five minutes later, Kornieck tied the game for the Pride to salvage a point at home in a 1-1 result. Although it was not the Pride’s best match, a point is better than nothing. With only six games left in the Pride’s regular season, they will need better results at home though to hold onto a spot in the playoffs.

USMNT Earns Another Draw

Former Lion Cyle Larin scored an equalizer in the 62nd minute to give Canada a point on the road against the United States Men’s National Team in a 1-1 draw. Yes, there are still plenty of matches to go, but winning at home is important in World Cup qualifying and the U.S. was unable to do so against Canada. Brenden Aaronson had a good match, scoring the USMNT’s goal in the 55th minute to give his side the lead.

Christian Pulisic, who didn’t feature in the USMNT’s scoreless draw in El Salvador this past Thursday, played the entire match for the U.S. However, right back Sergino Dest was forced off due to an injury in the second half. Giovanni Reyna didn’t play due to a hamstring injury and goalkeeper Zack Steffen tested positive for COVID-19. Midfielder Weston McKennie broke a team rule and wasn’t available for the match either as the USMNT sits fifth in the standings after two draws. The U.S. will now head to Honduras for a late 10:30 p.m. match this Wednesday.

Free Kicks
  • Gallese started in Peru’s 1-0 win against Venezuela. It was an important victory for Peru after a slow start to its qualifying campaign. Meanwhile, Mendez wasn’t included in Ecuador’s lineup in its 0-0 draw with Chile.
  • Setting a good example for the community, all Orlando City and Pride players have received the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine was provided by organization partner Orlando Health. The club and Orlando Health continue to host mobile vaccine sites in the Central Florida area.
  • Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero, and Giovani Lo Celso were all cleared to play for Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Brazil despite accusations of them falsifying travel information regarding a mandatory quarantine for those visiting Brazil from the United Kingdom. Five minutes into the match, health officers and police came onto the pitch to detain the players. The match was halted and then officially suspended.
  • Former United States Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis was hired by FIFA as a lead advisor on the future of women’s soccer.

That will do it for today. The Lions face Atlanta this Friday, so get ready for a fun match-up. Vamos Orlando!