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Lion Links: 2/21/22

Orlando City season preview, USWNT defeats New Zealand, the Sunshine Kit turns heads, Americans abroad, and more.

Soccer: 2022 SheBelieves Cup-New Zealand at USA Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! It’s match week and I hope you are as excited as I am. The off-season has seemed incredibly short and all too long at the same time. I’m still debating whether or not to get the new jersey. I’ve never been a white jersey type of person, but I’m curious on your thoughts. What do you think of it, and are you getting one? Let’s get to the links.

Orlando City’s Season Begins This Week

With the MLS season set to get started this weekend, it’s a good time to take a look at where Orlando City stands and how it got here. The departures of Nani, Chris Mueller, and Daryl Dike, as well as the arrivals of Ercan Kara, Facundo Torres, and César Araújo, means there are questions about how the Lions might do in 2022. The club is heading into its third season of the Óscar Pareja era. While the club has made the playoffs the past two years, the Lions are looking to make a longer run in the postseason.

Ranking the Best Kits in MLS

I’m certain you’ve seen Orlando City’s new Sunshine Kit, and the general consensus is positive for the Lions’ new away jersey. As our own Michael Citro put it, this jersey “will appeal to fans who are tired of the ‘plain, white t-shirt’ look of some of the past away jerseys.” The club did a great job with the reveal, dropping plenty of glimpses in the lead up to the unveiling, and pairing it with purple shorts completes the look. Orlando City supporters aren’t the only ones that think it’s a winner.

You can submit your own rankings for all the new MLS kits to reward the bold and punish the bland.

USWNT Defeats New Zealand

New Zealand defender Meikayla Moore gave up three own goals in a 5-0 loss to the United States Women’s National Team in the SheBelieves Cup. A distraught Moore came off in the 40th minute shortly after the third own goal. Ashley Hatch gave the U.S. a goal in the 51st minute and Mallory Pugh added the fifth goal of the match in stoppage time. The U.S. will finish up the SheBelieves Cup this Wednesday at 9 p.m. against Iceland. Orlando Pride midfielder Gunny Jonsdottir came off the bench in Iceland’s 2-1 win against the Czech Republic. The USWNT must beat Iceland to win the 2022 SheBelieves Cup, while Iceland needs only a draw to secure the trophy.

Reyna Injured in Return to Action

After five months of recovery for a hamstring injury, Borussia Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna suffered yet another leg injury in his first match back. The injury means Reyna may also miss the next round of World Cup qualifiers for the USMNT.

Meanwhile, fellow American Jordan Pefok scored in his third straight match for Young Boys in the Swiss Super League, reaching the 20-goal mark on the season. The American striker converted a penalty in the 53rd minute to give Young Boys a lead. Midfielder Brenden Aaronson scored in his second consecutive match as RB Salzburg won 2-0 against Wolfsberger AC. Tyler Adams came on as a substitute and had an assist in RB Leipzig’s 6-1 win over Hertha Berlin.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City B lost 5-2 to Miami FC in a preseason friendly. The Young Lions managed to score their goals in the 40th and 89th minutes.
  • Former Lion Santiago Patino scored a brace for San Antonio FC as it defeated Houston Dynamo 2 by a score of 2-1.
  • Houston Dynamo 2 signed Orlando City 2021 MLS SuperDraft pick Andrew Pannenberg and five other players to MLS NEXT Pro professional contracts.
  • The Houston Dynamo are reportedly making a play for Atletico Madrid midfielder Hector Herrera. An offer has been made for the Mexican International though there’s been no decision.

That will do it for today. Keep checking back for coverage of the upcoming match against CF Montreal this Sunday.