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Lion Links: 3/2/22

NWSL Challenge Cup broadcast schedule released, Orlando City moves up in MLS power rankings, Americans abroad, and more.

Chicago Red Stars v Orlando Pride Photo by Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. I’m happy to just finally get some spring weather up here in Chicago and get a break from the snow for a bit. There’s plenty to cover today, so let's get to the links.

NWSL Challenge Cup Broadcast Schedule Released

The National Women’s Soccer League announced the broadcasting schedule for the upcoming NWSL Challenge Cup later this month. All six of the Orlando Pride’s matches will be broadcast on Paramount+ and internationally on Twitch. Five matches during the group stage will be televised on CBS, including a game between Angel City and San Diego Wave FC on April 2 that could feature Alex Morgan and other former Pride players.

The Pride's first match will be on March 19 at Exploria Stadium against the defending NWSL champion Washington Spirit. The Pride will then travel to take on the North Carolina Courage on March 26 before hosting NJ/NY Gotham FC on March 30. The team will then play those same three teams again in April, with the top team in the group advancing to the knockout stage.

In preparation for the Challenge Cup, the Pride will be in action tonight at 7 p.m. as they host the Kansas City Current in a preseason match. The game is open to the public and the Orlando City Foundation is accepting donations to support the Parramore community.

Lions Move Up in MLS Power Rankings

Orlando City has moved up one spot to 11th in the latest MLS power rankings after winning 2-0 against CF Montreal at home. Facundo Torres, Ercan Kara, and Cesar Araujo made their debuts and Alexandre Pato scored his first goal in MLS. It may take some time for the new players to adapt but hopefully Pato can build on this momentum while Head Coach Oscar Pareja strengthens the team into a cohesive unit.

New York City FC remained on top despite a 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy. Nashville SC jumped up three spots to claim second after a 1-0 win against the Seattle Sounders. The Columbus Crew made the biggest jump, moving up seven spots to ninth after shutting out the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0 over the weekend. Montreal dropped four spots to 17th after its loss to the Lions.

Houston Dynamo Reportedly Add Hector Herrera

According to reports, the Houston Dynamo have acquired Atletico Madrid midfielder Hector Herrera as a Designated Player. Herrera would join the Dynamo in the summer on a free transfer once his contract expires. The 31-year-old has featured often for Atletico Madrid since joining the Spanish club in 2019 and would bring plenty of experience to Houston’s midfield. With Mexico, Herrera has scored 10 goals in 96 appearances and should bring some interest from El Tri supporters to Houston.

Americans in Action in Europe

Meanwhile in Europe, there are plenty of Americans in action for league and cup matches this week. Today, Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig look to advance in the DFB-Pokal Cup as they face Hannover. In the FA Cup, Christian Pulisic and Chelsea will take on Luton Town while Josh Sargent and Norwich City travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool. Yunus Musah and Valencia take on Athletic Bilbao in the second leg of the semifinal in the Copa del Rey.

There are also plenty of Americans to watch in the Scottish Premiership, including former Lion Chris Mueller. The winger has started in nine straight games for Hibernian FC and will aim for his first league goal in today’s match against Dundee FC. Cameron Carter Vickers, James Sands, Christian Ramirez, and Ian Harkes are all in action in Scotland as well.

Free Kicks
  • Toronto FC is reportedly close to adding Italian fullback Domenico Criscito for a potential boost to its back line.

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