Salutations on a brisk Sunday morning, Mane Landers! These are exciting times for those of us who follow Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and OCB. Player signings, pre-season matches, and the promise of a new season has me ready for it all to start. Until then, we’ll just have to enjoy the news of the day. Let’s get to the links!
Orlando City Drops Preseason Match, Kara Injured
The Lions lost 1-0 in their second preseason match against FC Dallas on Saturday. This is where I remind you that preseason wins and losses don’t truly matter. What does matter is that Orlando City’s new Designated Player forward, Ercan Kara, was injured on a bad challenge by FC Dallas. Kara appeared to have injured his knee and we will now have to wait to see how bad his “lower body injury” actually is. From all accounts, the officials did little to rein in a Dallas side playing as if it was the playoffs and not the preseason. Orlando City’s next preseason match is Friday vs. Colorado.
Facundo Torres on Picking Orlando City
The Crow has landed, and he is excited to be a Lion. Facundo Torres had other offers for his talent, but ultimately Luiz Muzzi and Ricardo Moreira were able to close the deal to bring in a player Muzzi called one of the top three most exciting young players in all of South America. It was their belief in what Torres brings to the club that truly convinced him to sign the Young Designated Player contract.
“One thing I really believe in is the project they’ve got going on here,” Torres said through a translator. “From the very onset it was the confidence that they had in me and that was very important for not only me, but my family – to be at a club that valued me, that saw me in an important role and had the confidence in me to come here and be an important factor in the team.”
He also took some time to send everyone a message.
USMNT World Cup Qualifying Prospects
The USMNT sits in second place in the Octagonal. While the Yanks are not where they’d like to be, they are four points above Panama in fourth, and five points above fifth place Costa Rica with three matches left, including the match against Panama in Exploria Stadium on March 27. There are some things that the Yanks have going for and against them as they try to earn their way to Qatar. Assuming they do make it to the World Cup, it will be fun to ponder which players will make the trip.
European Match Highlights
There is plenty of action across the pond, including the Derby della Madonnina between Inter Milan and AC Milan. AC Milan veteran forward Olivier Giroud scored two goals in a three-minute span in the second half to give AC Milan a 2-1 come from behind victory. It also narrowed the race for the Serie A title race.
Meanwhile in England, the Frank Lampard era at Everton started with a bang. The Toffees defeated Brentford 4-1 in the FA Cup match. It was the biggest win in a managerial debut for Everton. Manchester City likewise dispatched Fulham by the same 4-1 margin. Unfortunately, their crosstown rival Manchester United lost to Middlesbrough in an 8-7 penalty shootout.
- Iceland has called up Gunny Jónsdóttir for the 2022 SheBelieves Cup.
- Orlando City U-17s did a great job of not giving up despite being behind and down a man.
A tie that felt like a win! Proud of this young group of @OrlandoCitySC U17’s coming back to tie 2-2 with @jacksonville_fc with only 10 men for the last 30! Onto the next! @AllOrlandoCity @RuckusOrlando @OrlandoLionsDen @ZTaifi pic.twitter.com/nposjBvN9g— Alyssa Taifi (@AlyssaTaifi) February 5, 2022
- Orlando City won’t need to worry about New England midfielder Lee Nguyen anymore as he has retired from playing. Unfortunately, the Orlando Pride will have to deal with him as he is now an assistant coach for the Washington Spirit.
- Former Liverpool and Lyon midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri is heading to MLS to play for the Chicago Fire. The Switzerland national team player wasn’t in Jurgen Klopp’s plans at Anfield and after about four months he was no longer in Peter Bosz’s plans at Groupama Stadium either. The deal is rumored to be north of $7.5 million pending a medical evaluation.
- The African Cup of Nations is a bright spot amid coups and turmoil in many of the countries that are participating. The final is today with two of Liverpool FC’s best meeting as Mo Salah’s Egypt and Sadio Mané’s Senegal face off.
- If you plan on attending the World Cup in Qatar and you plan on drinking alcoholic beverages, be prepared to pay for more than just the booze. Reportedly, officials in Qatar will limit drinking to private in-stadium areas for a whopping $4,950 per person.
That will do it for today. Enjoy the remainder of the weekend, and Vamos Orlando!