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Lion Links: 4/6/22

Orlando City gets ready for the Chicago Fire, Orlando Pride goalkeeper Erin McLeod out four to six weeks, UEFA Champions League quarterfinals start, and more.

NWSL: Orlando Pride at North Carolina Courage Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all of you are doing well down in Florida. Let's wish a happy birthday to Orlando City B defender Dominic Bell! There is plenty to cover today so let’s get to the links.

Lions Get Ready for the Fire This Weekend

Orlando City SC will look to bounce back as it hosts the Chicago Fire this Saturday at Exploria Stadium. The Lions lost 4-2 to LAFC this past weekend, with Alexandre Pato and Joao Moutinho scoring Orlando’s goals. Orlando City is in sixth place in the Eastern Conference while the Fire are in fourth following a 0-0 draw at Soldier Field against FC Dallas. The two teams faced off in Chicago earlier this year, battling to a scoreless draw. The last time these two sides met at Exploria Stadium was in August of last year when the Lions shut out the Fire 1-0.

Mauricio Pereyra is currently tied with Nani for the club record of 26 assists across all competitions and he could break that record this weekend. Also, if goalkeeper Pedro Gallese secures a win on Saturday, he would tie Joe Bendik in total wins with 25.

Pride Goalkeeper Erin McLeod is Out Four to Six Weeks

The Orlando Pride announced that starting goalkeeper Erin McLeod underwent a successful arthroscopic knee procedure and will be sidelined for four to six weeks. McLeod was injured in the Orlando Pride’s 1-0 loss to the North Carolina Courage in their second match of the NWSL Challenge Cup and she was out for the Pride’s past two games. The Canadian will miss the final two matches for the Pride in the NWSL Challenge Cup and possibly the first four regular season games as well.

With McLeod out, the Pride will have to count on 27-year-old goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse, who has started the last two matches. In her first appearance, the Pride lost 1-0 to NJ/NY Gotham FC when Midge Purce scored in the 86th minute. This past weekend, Moorhouse made eight saves as the Pride fell 4-1 to the Washington Spirit. Kaylie Collins will be the team’s backup goalkeeper while McLeod recovers.

UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals Begin

Liverpool dominated its first leg match-up in Portugal as it defeated Benfica 3-1 in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. Goals from Ibrahima Konate and Sadio Mane put Liverpool in control in the first half. Darwin Nunez scored for Benfica early in the second half, but a late goal from Luis Diaz put Liverpool in a commanding position going into the second leg at Anfield next week. In the other quarterfinal, Manchester City defeated Atletico Madrid 1-0 in the first leg at Etihad Stadium. Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden came off the bench in the 68th minute and set up Kevin De Bruyne's crucial goal just two minutes later to give his team victory heading into the second leg. In today’s quarterfinal matches, Chelsea hosts Real Madrid while Villarreal takes on Bayern Munich.

U.S. Open Cup Action Continues

The second round of the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup kicked off this week. USL League Two side The Villages SC traveled to Al Lang Stadium to take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The Rowdies won 6-0 thanks to a hat trick from Lucky Mkosana and they advanced to the third round.

The second round continues today with 13 more matches, including one between Floridian teams as Miami FC and Miami United face off. There are also former Lions in action as Hadji Barry plays tonight for the Colorado Springs Switchbacks and Derek Dodson will play for Memphis 901 FC tomorrow night. Orlando City will play in the third round later this month and will find out its opponent in Friday’s draw at noon.

Free Kicks

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