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Lion Links: 5/23/22

Orlando City draws in Austin, the Orlando Pride lose to Chicago, USMNT positional needs, English Premier League results, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Austin FC Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! It was a jam-packed weekend of mixed results, and I’m still recovering from it all. I’ve had better soccer weekends but as I’ve often said, soccer is days, weeks, months, and years of pain with scattered moments of joy sprinkled in. Thankfully, I’m a big Ted Lasso fan, so “onward, forward,” and let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Draws Austin With Nine Men

Orlando City traveled to Austin FC for the first time in club history, and it was indeed one for the history books. The Lions were able to jump out to a 2-0 lead, and things seemed to be on track for all three points when the bottom fell out. A penalty kick goal and two red cards later, the Lions were struggling to get out of Texas with a point once Austin equalized. Ultimately, Orlando City was able to do so, but there was plenty of controversy to go around. You won’t be surprised to hear that PRO referees were involved. Michael Citro has your match recap, and check back for the players grades and Man of the Match, as well as our five takeaways.

Orlando Pride Fall to the Chicago Red Stars

The Orlando Pride hosted the Chicago Red Stars in Exploria Stadium and lost 4-2. Unlike last week, the Pride conceded the first goal in the 11th minute on Sarah Griffith’s second-time header. Orlando was able to limit the damage and head into the half only down the one goal. Things got worse in the second half as Chicago had goals from Bianca St. Georges in the 54th minute and Mallory Pugh in the 64th minute.

The Pride pulled one back with a goal from Amy Turner in the 84th minute, but Pugh scored another to earn a brace in the 86th minute. Leah Pruitt scored a second goal for the Pride, but it was not enough as Orlando lost for the second time this season.

Gregg Berhalter’s Areas of Need

The 2022 FIFA World Cup nears closer every day, and Gregg Berhalter’s United States Men’s National Team has some positions that are still in question. With Josh Sargent, Jordan Pefok and Daryl Dike all injured, the striker position is still up for grabs. Haji Wright will get a look, as will Jesus Ferreira and others. Center back is another area of need after losing Miles Robinson to injury. Erik Palmer-Brown and Cameron Carter-Vickers will be in the mix, as will Aaron Long. Of course, with months to go, which players are healthy and in form will go a long way towards who is in Qatar at the end of the year.

EPL Season Ends in Dramatic Fashion

Manchester City was able to secure the English Premier League title with a comeback 3-2 win over Aston Villa. Back in January, City was 14 points clear of second place Liverpool, but the Reds closed the gap to force the title decision to the final day of the season. Liverpool did its part by defeating Wolverhampton 3-1, but Aston Villa boss and former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was not able to secure a result to give his former club the title.

At the other end of the table, Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch kept his club in the Premier League following a 2-1 win over Brentford. Marsch said that it was a “band-aid” job done since he took over in February and that the real rebuild starts now. Burnley was defeated 2-1 by Newcastle thanks to a brace from Callum Wilson and was relegated along with Watford and Norwich City. Tottenham Hotspur secured its top four finish by defeating Norwich 5-0.

Free Kicks
  • Wrexham AFC owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny attended the FA Trophy final between their club and Bromley. Unfortunately for the star owners and Wrexham supporters, Bromley lifted the trophy following a 1-0 win.
  • If wanting to know where new soccer-specific stadiums are being built in the U.S., this article is for you. I will note that there are none listed in either the Atlanta or New York City areas. Shameful, really.
  • Several Manchester City fans are facing lifetime bans for assaulting Villa goalkeeper Robin Olsen, following City’s win. Such behavior is not acceptable, and City is right to find and ban those that perpetrated the infractions.

That will do it for today. Keep your head high and get ready for another week of soccer. What else can we do?