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Lion Links: 4/30/22

Charlotte’s first trip to Exploria Stadium, Orlando Pride open NWSL season at home, Dike to miss USMNT summer matches, and more.

MLS: FC Cincinnati at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

What’s up, Mane Landers? I hope you are all wrapping up a great week. Personally, I was able to get a bit of clearance from my surgeon to finally make my return to soccer and debut in my local league here. I’m no Ercan Kara, but I did put a solid header towards goal in my first minutes back. Who knows — maybe someone will find me playing amateur soccer and call me up in a fairy tale Robin Jansson-esque way. Until then though, I’ll be catching all the Orlando City matches and linking for you here. Let’s get to it!

First Charlotte FC Visit to Orlando

Exploria Stadium will be rocking tonight at 7:30 p.m. as Orlando City takes on Charlotte FC. The visitors will look to build off their road performance from last weekend. The club was able to draw at the Colorado Rapids and secure its first away point of the season. The second half of the match was considered to be the most commanding performance Charlotte has had away from home this season.

Charlotte FC goalkeeper, Kristijan Kahlina said the match against the Rapids “was important to get some points to increase our confidence.” With earning their first away points against the Rapids, Charlotte has a confidence boost heading into their away trip to Orlando.

The Lions give Charlotte good reason to be confident, too. Having played themselves to a pair of wins at home, the Lions have also lost three matches at Exploria Stadium already in this young season — the most recent coming last week against the New York Red Bulls in a three-goal, shutout loss that we have all been trying to put out of our memory.

Pride Open 2022 NWSL Season on Sunday

The Orlando Pride and Gotham FC meet for the second consecutive week after they drew 1-1 last Saturday in their final 2022 Challenge Cup fixture. This time, more is on the line as it will be the season opener of the 2022 NWSL campaign. The Pride have won just one of their last seven meetings in all competitions with Gotham.

With the official start of the season, Orlando has a clean slate and will be looking to get the ball rolling after finishing as the only team in the Challenge Cup to have not won a single group stage game. The Pride had draws against the Spirit and Gotham, but they took four matches to find the back of the net. Gotham has scored exactly one goal in each of its last five matches and has failed to score multiple goals in any of its last 10 matches in all competitions.

Daryl Dike to Miss USMNT Summer Fixtures

Former Lion and fan favorite Daryl Dike will miss the USMNT’s four summer matches. Dike has been on the sideline since January for West Bromwich Albion as he continues to recover from a leg injury. While this summer would have been a great time for Gregg Berhalter to evaluate the striker, he will not feature for the USMNT’s two friendlies and two Concacaf Nations League games in June.

It appears this is more of West Brom manager Steve Bruce’s decision than anyone else's.

Manager Steve Bruce confirmed he spoke with USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter to explain the situation. “I spoke to Gregg this week,” said Bruce, who previously managed Berhalter as a player during his stint at Crystal Palace in the 2001/02 season.

“They have been very very sensible and they understand the situation. Daryl will not be involved in the internationals. There’s another one in September so that is what he is focusing on. It’s good for Daryl too, so it’s good to clear that up. He can concentrate on what we have put in place to make sure he has a really good summer before he comes back for preseason.

Seattle to Break CCL Final Attendance Record

A record-breaking crowd is set to cheer on the Seattle Sounders at Lumen Field Wednesday night when they attempt to make history as the first MLS winners of the Concacaf Champions League against Liga MX’s Pumas UNAM. The club has already sold more than 61,000 tickets for the second-leg match. The first leg was a 2-2 draw in Mexico City that finished with a stoppage time penalty for the Sounders.

They’ll surpass the 61,004 fans that watched CF Montréal face Club América at Stade Olympique in 2015’s second leg. Wednesday’s match could also become the largest-ever crowd on-hand in CCL history, with 66,208 fans attending the 2015 semifinal second leg between Club América and Herediano at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

Seattle boasts an unbeaten record when passing the 60,000 attendance mark (7-0-1). It last surpassed the mark during MLS Cup 2019, when 69,274 fans watched the club defeat Toronto FC, 3-1.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City has partnered with Duvin Design Co. for all of your beach-going swimwear needs.

Today marks another match day. Head on down to Exploria Stadium and get loud. Show the new boys in town what a real MLS fan base looks like! Vamos Orlando!