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Lion Links: 4/29/22

Ignacio Galvan reportedly headed to Orlando City, Orlando Pride players discuss the NWSL’s growth, Europa League semifinals begin, and more.

NWSL: NJ/NY Gotham FC at Orlando Pride Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I’ve been busy for most of this week but am looking forward to some soccer and relaxation. Although Orlando City B’s game — scheduled for tonight — was postponed, we still have Orlando City and the Orlando Pride to look forward to over the next couple of days. European leagues are also nearing the end of their seasons, which makes the games carry a little more weight as teams battle for different positions on the table. Let’s dive into today’s links!

Report: Ignacio Galvan Headed to Orlando on Loan

According to Racing Radio, 19-year-old Argentine left back Ignacio Galvan is headed to Orlando City to join the club on loan until the end of the year. The reported purchase option of $500,000 for 80% of the player rights matches a report in March that Orlando City and Racing Club had reached a verbal agreement. Galvan hasn’t played many minutes with Racing Club in Argentina’s top flight, but would have a chance to develop with Orlando City B or behind Joao Moutinho for needed depth at left back. This isn’t Orlando’s first time working with Racing as center back Rodrigo Schlegel also joined Orlando from the Argentine club through a loan with an option to buy.

Orlando City Takes On Charlotte Tomorrow

The Lions boast a strong record in first meetings against MLS expansion clubs and hopefully that trend continues tomorrow night when they welcome Charlotte FC to Exploria Stadium. Center back Robin Jansson will become the third Lion to reach 100 appearances across all competitions for the club if he takes the field tomorrow. The Beefy Swede anchors a defense that aims to bounce back from a 3-0 loss at home to the New York Red Bulls. While Charlotte FC has had a decent inaugural season so far, it’s yet to win on the road. Miguel Gallardo and Evan Weston detailed how the club is preparing for this match and what to expect from Charlotte.

NWSL Veterans Reflect on League’s Growth

Orlando Pride midfielder Erika Tymrak, defender Toni Pressley, and other veteran players discussed how the National Women’s Soccer League has grown since its first season in 2013. Jasmyne Spencer, who was selected by the Pride in the 2015 NWSL Expansion Draft, praised the Pride’s effort to make the club equal to its men’s side and boost the sustainability of the NWSL. The league is entering its 10th year and Tymrak remarked on the improvements made in the time since being drafted in 2013, including the ratification of a collective bargaining agreement earlier this year.

“Players feel safe now that we have a CBA, and we actually feel like we have, not only rights, but we have a platform to speak about issues that 5–6 years ago, I don’t know if we would speak about them in fear of the league not being able to sustain that type of scrutiny,” says Tymrak. “But now that there is more stability, I think it gives players more security and more power to actually speak out about issues that affect us.”

The Pride’s regular season will start on Sunday when they take on NJ/NY Gotham FC in Exploria Stadium. Here’s a detailed preview on the team following a rough NWSL Challenge Cup campaign that included four losses and injuries to both Marta and Sydney Leroux.

Europa League Semifinals Begin

Only four teams remain in the Europa League and the first legs of the semifinals kicked off this week. On the road in London, Eintracht Frankfurt scored in the first minute of its match against West Ham United thanks to a header from Ansgar Knauff. Jamaican forward Michail Antonio leveled things up for West Ham in the 21st minute, but Daichi Kamada scored in the 54th minute to lift Frankfurt to a 2-1 win. RB Leipzig came out on top in the other semifinal, winning 1-0 against Rangers FC. American midfielder Tyler Adams started for Leipzig while James Sands came off the bench for Rangers.

In the Europa Conference League, AS Roma and Leicester City battled to a 1-1 draw at King Power Stadium. Feyenoord had a strong start against Marseille in the other semifinal, scoring twice in the first 20 minutes, but Marseille levelled things up before halftime. Cyriel Dessers completed his brace with a goal in the second half to give Feyenoord a 3-2 win in the first leg.

Free Kicks
  • Americans Sergino Dest, Brenden Aaronson, and Giovanni Reyna were all named to ESPN’s list of the best men’s players 21 or younger.
  • USMNT defender Walker Zimmerman will reportedly sign a new Designated Player deal with Nashville SC.

That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. Have a great Friday and rest of your weekend!