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Lion Links: 4/21/22

Lions win I-4 Derby, USMNT updates, other third-round U.S. Open Cup results, and more.

MLS: US Open Cup-Tampa Bay Rowdies at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Hello Mane Landers. I hope your Thursday is going well so far. Orlando City saw its first U.S. Open Cup action of the year Wednesday night and gave everyone a reason to not care about being tired this morning. Before we get into today’s column, let’s wish a happy birthday to Orlando City backup goalkeeper Adam Grinwis and midfielder Alexander Alvarado — currently on loan in Ecuador with L.D.U. Quito.

Now, let’s get to the news around the soccer world.

Lions Win Another Chapter in the I-4 Derby

Orlando City advanced to the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup with a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies. After a quiet first half that had the Tampa Bay Rowdies with much of the possession early on — until the Lions settled in to take 53% of the ball by halftime — it was a much different game in the second half. The home team got on the board first in the 51st minute after Benji Michel was pulled down in the box and Alexandre Pato finished the job from the spot. Junior Urso added a second goal to put the Lions up 2-0 and Orlando held on from there. Michael Citro was on hand and has your match recap linked above.

USMNT-Related Updates

There was a lot of news that came out surrounding the USMNT and the youth programs. The senior Red, White & Blue announced they will start their 2022 World Cup preparations at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati on June 1 when they host Morocco. The match will be the fourth meeting all-time against the two teams. A few Orlando City youths were called up for Mikey Varas’ U-20 USMNT national training camp in Carson, CA. Of those called up, Lions fans should be familiar with Michael Halliday, Thomas Williams, and Quembol Guadalupe. Poland continued its pursuit of Chicago Fire goalkeeper Gaga Slonina. The Fire goalkeeper has been with the U.S. youth national team’s system for years. Last night, the Polish federation revealed that they had met with the young keeper.

U.S. Open Cup Third-Round Action

The third round of the U.S. Open continued Wednesday night and a few MLS clubs were in action. Atlanta cruised to a 6-0 victory against Chattanooga FC and two of those goals came from former Lion Dom Dwyer. Minnesota United defeated Forward Madison 2-0 on the road and Charlotte FC had its hands full against the Greenville Triumph in South Carolina as the match went into extra time, but the MLS side won, 2-1. And the New York Red Bulls defeated Hartford Athletic 2-1 with goals from Lewis Morgan and Aaron Long.

Notable Results Around Europe

A full day of soccer action was had over in Europe with one of the bigger match-ups on the day being Arsenal defeating Chelsea 4-2 at Stamford Bridge. A brace from Eddie Nketiah proved to be vital in Arsenal’s win in the London Derby. Additional matches in the Premier League included Manchester City earning a comfortable win over Brighton & Hove Albion, 3-0, and Everton drawing 1-1 against Leicester City. In La Liga, Real Madrid won despite Karim Benzema missing two penalty shots en route to a 3-1 victory at Osasuna. Juventus advanced in the Coppa Italia after defeating Fiorentina 3-0 on aggregate to set up a final versus Inter Milan. In France, Paris Saint-Germain shut out Angers 3-0 with one goal coming from Kylian Mbappé. PSG is now on the verge of a 10th Ligue 1 title.

Free Kicks

That will be all from me today. Enjoy the rest of your day and I’ll see you all back here next time.