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Lion Links: 4/4/22

Antônio Carlos may be out for six months, the Orlando Pride lose to the Washington Spirit, Orlando City B earns points, and more.

Orlando Pride v Washington Spirit - 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! I know it was a rough weekend for those who wear purple, but it’s a new week and we might as well try to make the best of it. Two losses and a draw is not what Orlando City and Orlando Pride supporters are hoping for, but at least the future is bright thanks to Orlando City B. Let’s get to the links.

Antônio Carlos May Miss Six Months

Forget what I said about starting the week on a positive note. According to a report from WFTV’s Joe Kepner, Orlando City center back Antônio Carlos may be sidelined for four to six months after suffering a torn hamstring in Saturday’s loss to LAFC. It is worth noting that the evaluation of the Brazilian center back’s injury is still ongoing. Prior to the injury, Carlos had been one of the best defenders in the league and we wish him a speedy recovery. Rodrigo Schlegel will be pressed into service to start alongside Robin Jansson, with 17-year-old Homegrown Player Thomas Williams behind them on the depth chart. The Mane Land will bring you updates as we learn more about Carlos’ injury.

Orlando Pride Eliminated After Loss

The Pride could not afford a loss if they wanted to remain in NWSL Challenge Cup contention. Unfortunately, it was not to be as the Washington Spirit dismantled the Pride, 4-1. Gunny Jónsdóttir was a bright spot for the Pride, scoring the Pride’s only goal and providing much of the attack. Ashley Sanchez and Andi Sullivan scored two minutes apart for the Spirit at the end of the first half, and Ashley Hatch scored a third only four minutes into the second half. The game got away from the Pride and they were chasing the match over the final 47 minutes. Trinity Rodman scored the Spirit’s fourth goal in the 87th minute, though the match was over long before then. The Pride will see out the group stage of the Challenge Cup over their next two matches. They’ll have a two-week break before playing the North Carolina Courage on April 16 in Exploria Stadium.

Orlando City B Wins Penalty Shootout After Draw

The Young Lions drew 2-2 with New York City FC II but earned an additional point after a penalty shootout. I know that seems confusing, but it’s part of some of the new things MLS NEXT Pro is trying this season. There will be a penalty shootout after a draw, with the winner of the shootout earning an extra point. Moises Tablante scored the first goal of the game in the 18th minute and was fouled in the box later in the first half for a penalty that David Boccuzzo converted. NYCFC II converted a penalty of its own between Orlando’s goals and Kenan Hot scored an equalizer just before halftime.

After a scoreless second half, the match ended 2-2 and the shootout began. Joey DeZart’s kick was saved, but goalkeeper Javier Otero came up with two crucial saves and Tablante put his attempt away to give OCB an extra point. OCB will hit the road but won’t need to travel far for its next game as it takes on Inter Miami II in Fort Lauderdale this Sunday.

Keeping Up With the Americans Abroad

With World Cup qualifying over, USMNT players returned to their clubs as they ply their trade overseas. American center back Cameron Carter-Vickers scored the winning goal for Celtic and then helped the defense hold on for a 2-1 victory in the rivalry match between his side and Rangers. The win puts Celtic six points above Rangers and in the driver’s seat for winning the Scottish Premiership.

Ricardo Pepi may not have scored, but his Augsburg club put some distance between it and the relegation zone by beating John Brooks’ Wolfsburg side 3-0 in the Bundesliga. Giovanni Reyna came off the bench for some minutes in Borussia Dortmund’s loss to RB Leipzig. Tim Ream’s Fulham defeated Queen’s Park Rangers 2-0 in the Championship. FC Kaiserslautern forward Terrence Boyd had a hat trick in the German club’s 5-1 win over MSV Duisburg

Free Kicks
  • Bruce Arena did not mince words when it came to the decision for the USMNT to play in frigid conditions during qualifying. The former U.S. coach described it as “stupid.”
  • After signing a one-day contract, Federico Higuain retired from soccer as a member of the Columbus Crew.
  • The European leagues rolled on, as Liverpool, Manchester City, and Real Madrid kept pace at the top of their respective leagues. The three-way race in Serie A remains tight as Inter beat Juventus 1-0, Napoli won 3-1 over Atalanta, and AC Milan plays Bologna today.
  • Part of “PRO gonna PRO” is that PRO will admit when it is wrong sometimes, but will never do anything about it. I’m not even talking about the officiating in Orlando City’s match, but rather the egregious call the referee made in the game between Toronto FC and New York City FC. A penalty was given, then taken away, and later determined after the match that it shouldn’t have been taken away.
  • In much sadder news, Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal is battling prostate cancer. He plans on staying in his current position as the Netherlands prepares for the World Cup. We at The Mane Land wish him the best.

That will do it for today. Keep your heads up, and vamos Orlando!