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Lion Links: 2/11/22

Orlando Pride build chemistry, USWNT players accuse USSF of inaction, Douglas Costa joins the LA Galaxy, and more.

Orlando Pride v NJ/NY Gotham City FC Photo by Howard Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope you all are doing well this Friday. Orlando City takes on the Colorado Rapids tonight at 7 p.m. in a preseason match open to the public. I’ll be following along from work and living vicariously through those of you who will be in attendance. Have fun, stay safe, and enjoy the Lions! But first, let’s dive into today’s links.

Orlando Pride Continue Their Preseason Training

The Orlando Pride are hard at work preparing for their NWSL Challenge Cup match against the Washington Spirit on March 19. Most of the training during the team’s preseason so far has been focused on improving player fitness and their skill on the ball. With so much turnover following this off-season, the players are building chemistry with one another both on and off the field. Midfielder Gunny Jónsdóttir spoke about the mix of veterans and young players on the roster heading into the season.

“You have to have a good balance in a team,” she said. “Whether it’s young players, older players, experienced players, players that have won, players that are hungry, I think we have a great mix of it all. You have the girls coming from college who want to show themselves in this league, girls who have played in the league for 10 years, who are also wanting to win things. So I think it’s just a great balance.”

USWNT Accuses USSF of Inaction

United States Women’s National Team players penned a letter accusing the U.S. Soccer Federation of failing to protect players from abusive coaches. The letter was signed by Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press, and many other notable USWNT players.

“USSF had the obligation to protect its players — yet it stood by as abuse continued to occur unchecked,” the players said in the letter provided to ESPN. “For starters, USSF should have immediately removed coaching licenses from abusers. Instead, USSF allowed those individuals to coach while saying it would investigate. USSF failed to do the bare minimum — to keep us and the young girls who play in the youth leagues safe.”

The letter comes following allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct involving former Chicago Red Stars manager Rory Dames, who resigned this past November. Press filed a formal complaint to the U.S. Soccer in 2018 regarding Dames’ behavior, but his coaching license was not suspended after the complaint. USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone issued a letter in response to the USWNT players.

USMNT Falls in FIFA Rankings

In the first FIFA rankings of 2022, the United States Men’s National Team dropped two spots to 13th, finishing one spot below Mexico. The USMNT won against El Salvador and Honduras in the latest Concacaf World Cup qualifying window but fell 2-0 to Canada, which jumped up seven spots to 33rd. It’s the highest Canada has ever reached in the rankings as the nation is undefeated after 11 matches in Concacaf’s Octagon.

Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and Peru remained in 22nd, Sebas Mendez and Ecuador climbed two spots to 44th, and Facundo Torres and Uruguay moved up a spot to 16th. Ercan Kara and Austria also jumped a spot to 30th.

Douglas Costa Joins the LA Galaxy

The LA Galaxy added Brazilian winger Douglas Costa from Juventus on a six-month loan and Costa has already agreed to a deal with the Galaxy through 2023 as his contract with Juventus expires this summer. The 31-year-old will become the Galaxy’s third Designated Player, joining fellow forwards Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Kevin Cabral.

Elsewhere in the Western Conference, the Houston Dynamo signed Brazilian fullback Zeca as a free agent for the 2022 season, with two club option years as well. The 27-year-old joins MLS after spending eight years in Brazil’s top flight. LAFC and FC Dallas swapped left backs as LAFC received MLS veteran Ryan Hollingshead in exchange for 23-year-old Marco Farfan.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City’s home game against Inter Miami on July 9 will now take place at 8 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m.
  • Here are some of the photos from the Pints with Pareja event at Exploria Stadium.

That’s going to be all I have for you today. Have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!