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Lion Links: 2/2/22

Orlando Pride announce preseason roster, NWSL Board of Governors approves CBA, USMNT aims to rebound against Honduras tonight, and more.

Orlando Pride v Racing Louisville FC Photo by Joe Robbins/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. I’ve been busy networking here in Chicago this past week. Besides that, I’ve just been preparing for this snow storm set to hit the Midwest later today. Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride midfielder Viviana Villacorta!

Orlando Pride Announces Preseason Roster

The Orlando Pride began its preseason camp at the Orlando Health Training Ground at Sylvan Lake Park for the 2022 NWSL season. There are 29 players on the Pride’s preseason roster, including veterans Sydney Leroux, Marta, and Erin McLeod. Goalkeeper Kaylie Collins and midfielders Meggie Dougherty Howard and Parker Roberts are unsigned players on the roster and the club extended offers to all three.

There are also a few players that haven’t reported to camp as Chelsee Washington is currently on loan with Canberra United in Australia and goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse was recently signed from Bordeaux. Forward Jessie Scarpa also hasn’t reported to camp just yet and she is one of two non-roster invitees alongside midfielder Thais Reiss. Pride Head Coach Amanda Cromwell will prepare the club for the NWSL Challenge Cup that begins on March 19 ahead of her first season with the Pride.

NWSL Board of Governors Approves New CBA

The National Women’s Soccer League’s Board of Governors approved the collective bargaining agreement that was ratified by the NWSL Players Association on Monday. This is the first CBA for professional women’s soccer in the United States and it runs through 2026. The contract will increase the minimum player salary to $35,000 and players will receive other benefits, such as matching retirement fund contributions, housing stipends, eight weeks of parental leave, and up to six months in paid mental health leave. Leroux shared her thoughts on the importance of this CBA for the league and its players.

“The first CBA and women’s soccer ever I think in this country, I think is really, really special. And the people who are working behind the scenes, the PA, everything, was amazing,`` she said after the team’s first practice.

“They put so much work in and we’re very thankful and grateful to finally have a CBA in place. So we’re very excited for that.’’

USMNT Looks to Rebound Against Honduras Tonight

The United States Men’s National Team will aim to get back on track tonight at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota tonight against Honduras. Both teams are coming off of losses as the USMNT fell 2-0 on the road to Canada while Honduras lost 2-0 to El Salvador at home. Honduras will be playing for pride tonight after being eliminated from World Cup qualification. Despite the loss to Canada, the Americans still remain in second place in the standings ahead of Mexico on goal difference.

Tonight’s match starts at 7:30 p.m. and you can watch it on FOX Sports 1, Univision, and TUDN. Forward Tim Weah returns after missing Sunday’s match due to Canada’s vaccination requirements, but the USMNT will be without Chris Richards and Tyler Adams due to injury. The USMNT still remains on track to qualify for the World Cup but dropping points at home may change that.

Keeping Up With World Cup Qualifying Around the World

Canada sits atop the Concacaf standings and remains the only team without a loss in 10 qualifying matches so far. Canada will take on El Salvador tonight as it looks to extend its unbeaten run. Former Orlando City forward Cyle Larin shared his thoughts on Canada’s win against the USMNT and the growing rivalry between the two countries.

“We’re Canadian guys, they’re Americans, so it will always be a fight. You see each game, we’re battling, we’re arguing, we get in scuffles. It means a lot, I know it means a lot to Canadian people, every time we go out there and we play the Americans, and this time we won. I think it’ll be like that for a long time coming.”

In South America, Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese started for Peru in a 1-1 draw with Ecuador. Midfielder Sebas Mendez rode the bench for Ecuador and his country will qualify with a win over Paraguay on March 24. Meanwhile, Facundo Torres didn’t play in Uruguay’s important 4-1 win over Venezuela that lifted the team to fourth in the standings.

South Korea qualified for its 10th straight World Cup after a 2-0 win against Syria. In the other group, Saudi Arabia also could’ve qualified but fell 2-0 to Japan while Australia had to settle for a 2-2 draw with Oman after conceding a late penalty.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City is ranked 18th among MLS teams in minutes played returning for the 2022 season.

That will do it for me, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.