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Lion Links: 3/29/22

Marta will have surgery, 2022 Generation Adidas Cup announced, scouting Costa Rica, and more.

Washington Spirit v Orlando Pride Photo by Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone! My voice has never sounded worse after standing in The Wall for the United State’s Men’s National Team’s victory on Sunday, but I’m still riding a bit of a high from that night. The soccer doesn’t stop now either, with the USMNT and Orlando Pride playing tomorrow, and the Pride, Orlando City, and Orlando City B all playing over the weekend. That means there’s lots to talk about, so let’s get into it.

Marta Will Have Surgery

Orlando Pride captain Marta has announced that she injured a ligament in her knee during the team’s game over the weekend, and will have surgery to repair it. The Pride fell 1-0 to the North Carolina Courage on Saturday in the team’s second game of the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup. Marta went down after jumping to try to win a ball in the first half, and after briefly trying to continue playing, was subbed off for Mikayla Cluff in the 31st minute of play. The Pride have not released a statement yet, so we have no details regarding the exact nature of the injury or a possible timetable for her return. Regardless, we wish her a speedy recovery.

2022 Generation Adidas Cup Announced

Major League Soccer has announced the 2022 Generation Adidas Cup — a youth tournament featuring teams from 80 professional academies from 10 different countries. Teams will compete at the U-17 and U-15 level at the Toyota Soccer Center in Frisco, TX, from April 9-17. Orlando City is fielding a team in both divisions, and every MLS club will be represented in each division, while St. Louis City SC will have a team at the U-17 level. Each age group will have 40 teams split into 10 groups of four, with each team playing three games to determine who qualifies for the knockout rounds. Some of the big-name clubs represented from around the world include Manchester United, River Plate, and Flamengo.

Scouting Costa Rica

Only one more match lies between the United States Men’s National Team and qualification for the 2022 World Cup. The Yanks take on Costa Rica tomorrow and a win, draw, or loss that isn’t an ungodly blowout will see the USMNT seal an automatic qualification spot. Our friends over at SBNation’s Stars and Stripes FC took the time to preview the opposition and make note of what we can expect tomorrow night. Keylor Navas should start in goal and Orlando City fans will likely see familiar faces like Kendall Waston, Francisco Calvo, and Ronald Matarrita. Costa Rica has only averaged 32.8% possession over its last five games, and it will be interesting to see if that holds as the home side will have plenty to play for.

Christian Pulisic’s Special Celebration

If you were watching the USMNT’s 5-1 thumping of Panama on Sunday, you might have noticed Christian Pulisic break out the worm while celebrating his second goal of the night. There’s a reason he did so, and that reason is a young man named Mason who is fighting osteosarcoma. Pulisic met Mason on Saturday during training, and he requested that the USMNT talisman perform the celebration if he scored on Sunday. Christian didn’t forget the request, and the result was that an already special moment was made a little more meaningful.

Free Kicks

That does it for me. Y’all stay safe out there.