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Lion Links: 6/16/22

Orlando City draws with the New England Revolution, Javier Otero signed to a short-term contract, Orlando Pride players called up, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at New England Revolution Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

How’s it going, Mane Landers? We’re another day closer to the weekend and finally over the hump of this week. I hope you all enjoyed the return of Orlando City soccer last night and if you missed the match then at least you won’t have to wait long for the next match. But for now, enjoy these links from around the soccer world.

Orlando City Draws With the New England Revolution

On the road at Gillette Stadium, Orlando took on the New England Revolution and both sides had to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw. It’s a decent result on the road against a Revolution side that hasn’t lost a league match since April 23. The Lions certainly held their own and created some good chances throughout the match. Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese started in goal for the Lions, just a couple of days after a tough penalty shootout loss against Australia.

  • Michael Citro has your match recap.
  • You can check out the view from the other side courtesy of Sam Minton over at The Bent Musket.
  • Make sure to check back later today for Ben Miller’s player grades and Man of the Match, as well as David Rohe’s five takeaways from the result on the road.
Javier Otero Signed to Short-Term Contract

In a decision that was likely just a precaution in case Gallese wasn’t able to suit up in New England, Orlando City B goalkeeper Javier Otero was signed to a short-term contract with the first team. The signing made him available for the team’s road match in case Adam Grinwis started and needed a backup, but Otero ultimately didn’t make the line-up. Still, it’s nice to know the club has Otero as an option in the event of a goalkeeping emergency. The 19-year-old is no slouch between the sticks, leading MLS NEXT Pro with 58 saves this season. If you haven’t seen him in action, make sure to check out OCB’s game this Sunday at 2 p.m. against Columbus Crew 2, as he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the league.

Orlando Pride Players Called Up

The Orlando Pride’s Mikayla Cluff and Kerry Abello were both called up for the U-23 U.S. Women’s National Team’s pair of friendlies later this month in Sweden. The U.S. will play India on June 25 and then take on Sweden on June 28 as part of the Women’s U-23 Three-Nations Tournament. Cluff and Abello are two of six NWSL players on the roster and these friendlies will take place during an international break so they likely won’t miss any matches for the Pride. It should be a valuable experience for both young players as they continue to develop.

Orlando City B Players Prepare for Tournament

The Concacaf U-20 Championship kicks off this weekend and many MLS NEXT Pro players will be in action. Orlando City B midfielders Wilfredo Rivera and Ian Silva will both represent Puerto Rico in the tournament, although they won’t play until June 26, as Puerto Rico has already qualified for the knockout stage. Rivera has shown plenty of promise with OCB this season, contributing three assists and a goal across eight starts. Orlando’s Michael Halliday will be with the United States for the group stage this weekend. The first U.S.match will be against St. Kitts & Nevis at 8:30 p.m. this Saturday.

MLS Unveils Juneteenth Initiatives

When the Lions host the Houston Dynamo this Saturday, you’ll notice that the numbers on their jerseys will look a bit different. For Juneteenth, the numbers on the jerseys are hand-drawn designs featuring vibrant reds, yellows, and greens. The game-worn jerseys will then be auctioned, with proceeds benefiting organizations local to each specific club. Orlando’s beneficiary is My Brother’s Keeper, which helps mentor young people in disadvantaged communities, so that they can reach their full potential.

There are also new pre-match tops available that are designed to showcase the diversity and unity throughout the league. Orlando forward Tesho Akindele and the folks at black-owned diner Nikki’s Place showed off the design and I’m a huge fan. They seem perfect for the summer and the purple and yellow certainly helps it go with any Lions gear you’d wear.

Free Kicks
  • American forward Timothy Weah was linked with a loan move from Lille OSC in France to Valencia in Spain. If this move comes to fruition, it will be interesting to see Weah play alongside fellow American Yunus Musah in La Liga.
  • Today at 5 p.m., FIFA will announce which North American cities will host matches for the 2026 World Cup. Orlando is viewed as a bit of a longshot, so make sure to keep your fingers crossed throughout the day.
  • Paris Saint-Germain has reportedly sacked Mauricio Pochettino as the club’s manager. There’s plenty of intrigue regarding who will fill the vacancy, but I’m curious about where Pochettino winds up considering he was previously linked with the Manchester United job that is now filled.
  • Paul Pogba’s return to Juventus is reportedly a done deal, with the move expected to be officially announced in July.
  • Brazilian right back Dani Alves will leave FC Barcelona once his contract expires this summer. The 39-year-old did well in his return to Camp Nou last season, contributing a goal and three assists to help Xavi Hernandez turn things around.

That’s all I have for you today. If you’re looking for a new book to read, I’ve recently finished Book Lovers by Emily Henry and, well, loved it. It was funny, smart, and has a strong emotional core holding all of the banter and romance together. I’ve been trying to read more this year, so if you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know in the comments below. Have a wonderful Thursday!