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Lion Links: 4/16/22

Lions travel to Columbus, Pride host the Courage, OCB drops points, another major MLS transfer, and more.

NWSL: Orlando Pride at North Carolina Courage Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Happy double match day, Mane Landers. Tonight, Exploria Stadium will be the home of the Orlando Pride as they host the North Carolina Courage at 7 p.m. Shortly after the Pride kick off, Orlando City will be getting underway at Field against the Columbus Crew at 7:30 p.m. There is plenty to be excited about as the Lions look to gain points on the Philadelphia Union in the race to Eastern Conference supremacy. Some might say it is too early to look that far down the road, but I am feeling optimistic after Ercan Kara found the net and Pedro Gallese continues his historic run to be the winningest MLS keeper in Orlando.

Orlando City Looks to Remain Unbeaten Away

The Lions have a win and two draws on the road so far in this young season. As the team travels to Columbus, the lads will look to keep that streak alive. If the Lions win, Pedro Gallese will officially overtake Joe Bendik’s club record of 25 wins in all competitions. Any time you tune in to a Columbus Crew match, it is hard to take your eyes of Lucas Zelarayán. He is an electric talent for the league and can score from anywhere on the pitch. Stalwart Robin Jansson and his partner in the back, Rodrigo Schlegel, will need to be alert on all fronts though as Caleb Porter has called for more from the rest of his attackers as the Columbus has been shut out in back-to-back games.

“Lucas has an edge every game to create, to score goals. He’s never happy if he doesn’t score a goal. He’s never happy if our front guys don’t score a goal. But I think we need some of the other guys to have that same standard and that same edge and that same chip on their shoulder to do whatever it takes.”

The match is quickly approaching and hopefully the Lions are mentally ready from the start. Tonight has all the ingredients to become a high scoring affair from both sides of the ball. Let’s just hope those goals continue to come from Kara and “world-class” Alexandre Pato.

Pride Host Courage at Exploria Stadium

There will be a couple new faces in the opposition’s attack as the Pride take on the North Carolina Courage tonight. Most notably, French forward Valérie Gauvin has joined the Courage from Everton FC on a one-year contract. She is a 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup player boasting seven goals across 37 appearances for the French National Team. In addition to Gauvin, Brazilian winger Kerolin has since made her debut in the team’s last match against Gotham FC. The Courage started the Challenge Cup well with two wins but have drawn their last two matches. They still retain first place in the East Division of the table as the 2022 edition of the NWSL Challenge Cup continues.

For the Pride, Gunny Jónsdóttir is back from international duty with Iceland and will look to score again as the Pride still hunt for their first win of the Challenge Cup. So far this season, she is the only player yet to find the net in a team that lacks firepower.

OCB Drops Points on Road

Orlando City B travelled to take on Columbus Crew 2 Friday night before the senior teams’ weekend match-up. OCB continued its trend of putting out some first team players to garner more minutes and experience in competitive matches. Michael Halliday, Joey DeZart, Jack Lynn, and Wilfredo Rivera all started for the Young Lions. While goals came in both first-half stoppage time and later in the second half, the Young Lions were on the wrong side of the scoring on each occasion in a second consecutive 2-0 loss. Jacen Russel-Rowe and Erik Hurtado scored for Columbus. Orlando City B is now 1-2-1 with five points on the season.

LAFC Finalize Diego Rossi to Fenerbahce

It was not many years ago that people around the world regarded MLS as a “retirement league.” However, recent years have shown MLS is trending to be more of a “selling league.” LAFC has now joined the ranks of teams taking young talent and selling it on for a large fee, tying the fifth-biggest outbound transfer in league history. Turkish Süper Lig club Fenerbahce has officially acquired on-loan Uruguay international winger Diego Rossi from LAFC permanently. Including the initial loan fee, the total package is around $10 million with LAFC retaining a “significant” sell-on percentage.

Free Kicks

I don’t know about you, but I feel a double win coming on today. Vamos Orlando!