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Lion Links: 6/11/22

Mason Stajduhar undergoes surgery, Michael Halliday makes U-20 roster, Pride seek revenge, USMNT shines in Concacaf Nations League opener, and more.

MLS: US Open Cup-Inter Miami CF at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Saturday, Mane Landers. The lulls of summer have fully kicked in. It seems that as the days get longer and the nights get shorter that I just get more and more tired. I thought summer was supposed to be about rest and relaxation? Maybe I should have skipped the USMNT match last night to catch up on sleep. Who am I kidding — I never miss a match! Nevertheless, there is always work to be done and links to be collected. Here is your collection of today’s links from around the soccer world!

Mason Stajduhar Undergoes Successful Jaw Surgery

File this news under “couldn’t have come at a worse time.” With Pedro Gallese’s Peru scheduled to play for a World Cup berth on Monday, El Pulpo is unlikely to be back and ready to go in the net at New England on Wednesday. So, it’s a particularly bitter blow that backup goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar sustained a jaw injury in training that was severe enough to require surgery. The club reported in a late Friday afternoon news dump that the surgery was a success in a short press release.

Orlando City SC goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar has undergone successful surgery to repair a fracture of his lower mandible, which was sustained in training this week. The procedure was performed by Dr. Daniel Crofton, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon with Orlando Health.

Stajduhar, who recently signed a new three-year contract with the Club, is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

With Stajduhar on the shelf and Gallese — at best — fighting fatigue and jet lag, it’s likely that Adam Grinwis will return to MLS action on Wednesday. Perhaps Gallese can arrive in time to back him up, otherwise, the best backup option might be Rodrigo Schlegel.

Halliday Makes U-20 USMNT Concacaf Championship Roster

U-20 U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Mikey Varas called up 20 players for the 2022 Concacaf Under-20 Championship. The squad features 17 players from MLS clubs, with Orlando City defender Michael Halliday making the roster. The United States will be playing in Group E and will be looking to win a third straight Concacaf title. The Concacaf U-20 Championship’s top three finishers in the four groups will advance to the Round of 16 and join four teams already qualified for the knockout round. Teams will then play a single-elimination tournament, with the four semifinalists qualifying for the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the two finalists qualifying for the 2024 Olympics. The United States has not qualified for the Olympics since 2008.

Pride Seek Revenge at Chicago

When the Pride head to Chicago tomorrow, it is the Red Stars who will be the heavy favorite. Chicago enters the match unbeaten in five games dating back to the middle of May. Orlando, on the other hand, is coming off a 5-0 loss against Houston. Chicago beat Orlando earlier this season and has done so in three regular season games in a row going back to last October. There will be new management at the helm for this fixture though, as former Orlando City Lion Seb Hines will be standing in for Amanda Cromwell, who remains on administrative leave. The key match-up will be Chicago’s stingy defense at home. The team has kept seven clean sheets and only allowed seven goals in its last 12 home matches in all NWSL competitions.

USMNT Starts Nations League Strong

The USMNT earned its first win of the Concacaf Nations League Friday night, defeating Grenada 5-0 in Austin, TX. In a match where the United States was expected to score a slew of goals, it was never a question of “if” the USMNT would score, but “when.” Players like Luca de la Torre, Paul Arriola, and Jesús Ferreira shined in the first half as the team dominated possession. Ferreira made a strong case to be Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s starting striker as he put his fourth international goal in the net right before half time. He went on to complete his hat trick by the 56th minute and finished with four goals on the night. The United States will head to Estadio Cuscatlán next to take on El Salvador Tuesday at 10 p.m.

Inaugural Soccer Champions Tour Coming to America

This summer, Las Vegas will see Real Madrid and Barcelona as the marquee match-up of the inaugural Soccer Champions Tour. The series of five exhibitions, set to run from July 22-30, will also include Italian Serie A club Juventus, alongside Liga MX sides Club America and Club Deportivo Guadalajara.

“Following several years without seeing some of these teams in the United States, we are thrilled to provide the opportunity for soccer fans in the U.S. to once again watch their favorite European and Mexican clubs play in person,” AEG senior vice president of soccer & business operations and business development Tom Braun said.

Other matches will be played at Oracle Park in San Francisco, Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, and the Rose Bowl Stadium in Los Angeles. Let us know in the comments below which match-up you would have liked to have seen at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

Free Kicks

If you stayed up late last night to watch all of the USMNT match, I hope you have a relaxing Saturday to rest back up. Be sure to tune in later tonight and catch the Young Lions as they take on New England II. Vamos Orlando!