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Lion Links: 4/20/22

Orlando City takes on the Tampa Bay Rowdies tonight, Orlando will host Arsenal this summer, Gaston Gonzalez injured, and more.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. The Lions will be in action tonight in their U.S. Open Cup third-round match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and I’m looking forward to it. There is plenty to cover today so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Takes On the Rowdies Tonight

The third round of the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup continues at Exploria Stadium tonight as the Lions host the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the I-4 Derby. This will be the first competitive game between the two rivals since 2014. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. and you can watch it on ESPN+. The Rowdies are coming into tonight’s match in good form after defeating FC Tulsa 3-1 this past weekend in the USL Championship, and they are in third place in the USL Eastern Conference with 12 points. One player to keep an eye on is Jake LaCava, who is on loan from the New York Red Bulls and is the Rowdies’ leading scorer with three goals. Orlando City has not lost to the Rowdies going back to 2013. The last time the U.S. Open Cup was played back in 2019, the Lions made it all the way to the semifinals before falling to Atlanta United. If Mauricio Pereyra gets an assist tonight, it will give him the all-time club record across all competitions for Orlando City.

Orlando City to Host Arsenal This Summer in Friendly

Orlando City announced that the club will play a midseason friendly against English Premier League club Arsenal in July. The match will be on July 20 at Exploria Stadium and this will be the first meeting between these two clubs. The last time the Lions faced an English Premier League opponent in a friendly was back in 2016 when the Lions hosted Stoke City in Melbourne. This match will be part of the “FC Series,” which is a national expansion of the Florida Cup, featuring clubs from around the globe. The other match fans in Orlando can check out will be the London Derby on July 23 when Arsenal takes on Chelsea at Camping World Stadium as part of the Florida Cup.

Gaston Gonzalez Injures Knee

You will need a translation for the full details as 20-year-old Argentine winger Gaston Gonzalez injured his knee in Union Santa Fe’s game against San Lorenzo and had to exit the match on a stretcher. This news comes after reports that Orlando City signed the winger as a U22 Initiative signing and that he would join the Lions in early May following discussions between Orlando and Union Santa Fe dating back to December. Medical tests will be conducted to determine the full extent of his injury and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Third Round U.S. Open Cup Action Begins

The third round of the U.S. Open Cup kicked off last night with 11 matches as MLS teams entered the tournament. Union Omaha became the first USL League One team to oust an MLS side in the Open Cup after winning a penalty shootout against the Chicago Fire. The Columbus Crew were also eliminated after Detroit City FC came back from a goal down to win 2-1. All other MLS sides survived their matches though. Inter Miami advanced past Miami FC thanks to a late goal from Leonardo Campana, DC United won 3-0 over Flower City Union, and FC Cincinnati needed extra time to defeat the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2-0. In Texas, FC Dallas beat FC Tulsa 2-1 while Houston Dynamo left back Sam Junqua scored in stoppage time to help his team win 2-1 against the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros. In California, the San Jose Earthquakes cruised to a 5-0 win over Bay Cities FC and the LA Galaxy held on for a 1-0 victory against Landon Donovan’s San Diego Loyal SC.

USWNT Learns Its Group for Concacaf Women’s Championship

The United States Women’s National Team now knows its opponents for the 2022 Concacaf Women’s Championship in Monterrey this summer. The USWNT was drawn into Group A and will face Mexico, Jamaica, and Haiti in the group stage that will begin on either July 4 or July 5. Canada, Costa Rica, Panama, and Trinidad & Tobago were drawn into Group B. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the semifinals and also qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The third-place teams in each group will go to a World Cup playoff that will take place next February. The winner of this tournament will qualify directly to the 2024 Olympics as well.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City remained in seventh place this week in the latest MLS power rankings after winning 2-0 against the Columbus Crew on the road.
  • Orlando forward Tesho Akindele was noted as a player who can make an impact in the U.S. Open Cup.
  • MLSSoccer.com gave a breakdown on which goalkeepers are helping or hurting their MLS teams through seven weeks of the 2022 MLS season. Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese is ranked third among those helping after a strong start to the year.
  • Orlando City winger Facundo Torres was recognized as one of the top young players from this past weekend in MLS.
  • The Attacking Third podcast released its latest NWSL power rankings, placing the Orlando Pride at 11th. Let me know in the comments below if you agree.
  • Former Lion Will Johnson will return to Central Florida Panthers SC for the upcoming 2022 National Premier Soccer League season.

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