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Lion Links: 6/20/22

The Orlando Pride and Orlando City B both lose big, Exploria Stadium has new sod, battling hate speech, and more.

SOCCER: JUN 19 NWSL - Orlando Pride at Portland Thorns FC Photo by Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers. Juneteenth was yesterday but is being observed today by the government and businesses as a holiday. It was definitely a weekend of mixed results for Orlando’s soccer teams. Orlando City had a great win at home, but the Orlando Pride and Orlando City B both suffered lopsided defeats. I hope all the dads out there had a great Father’s Day yesterday. I was surprised with a trip to St. Augustine this weekend. It was great apart from the heat, and I hope you are staying cool. Before we start today’s links, let’s wish a happy birthday to Pride defender Celia Jimenez Delgado!

Pride Suffer Worst Loss in Club History

If you thought the Orlando Pride’s 5-0 loss at the Houston Dash was as bad as it gets, I’ve got bad news for you. This time, the Pride traveled across the country to Portland to take on the Portland Thorns. The result of all that travel was a 6-0 shellacking, thanks to two first-half goals and four second-half goals. Seb Hines skippered the Pride for the second time as the investigation into Amanda Cromwell and Sam Greene continues. As bad as that sounds, it could have been worse as our own Michael Citro explains in the match recap.

OCB Outplayed in Road Loss

Orlando City B did not fare much better on Sunday, losing 6-1 against Columbus Crew 2. To give you an idea of how bad it was, Crew 2 scored four goals in the first half. They scored five before Nick Taylor scored the one and only goal for the Young Lions. Jack Lynn had a few chances, but unlike almost every other match, the prolific striker was not able to find the back of the net. Sean Rollins has your match recap.

New Grass, Who This?

I don’t know if you heard, but Exploria Stadium has new grass. I know what you’re thinking. “Doesn’t grass just grow?” Yes, but a soccer pitch is a whole different thing, and I had never seen the process of installing new grass, but I have been curious. Thanks to Orlando City Head Groundskeeper Bill Hoffer, I now have an answer as he walked us through the process on Twitter. The resod started following Orlando City’s match against FC Dallas on May 28 and it was ready to go for the Lions’ match against the Houston Dynamo. Check it out:

Countering Hate Speech

I know for certain that I’ve written the following on this website: Why are we still having to address racist and hate speech issues in professional soccer? I know the reasons, but it still aggravates me to no end. Regardless, here we go again. This time, Kylian Mbappe has accused French Football Federation President Noel Le Graet of not doing enough to deal with racial social media abuse he received following his penalty kick miss at Euro 2020.

Heading into the 2022 World Cup, FIFA is introducing a service that will scan social media for recognized hate speech terms and keep them from being shared with the player the comment is directed against. It isn’t as good as making humanity better to the point where such measures aren’t necessary, but it’s something.

Free Kicks
  • If you are the betting sort, the odds for the 2022 World Cup are out. If you are brave, foolish, or just patriotic, you can bet on the USMNT to win the whole thing.
  • Before you reject that bet on the USMNT thing, consider how close this group of youngsters has gotten. They have each other’s backs, just like they did against El Salvador, which was one of the most Concacaf-y matches ever.
  • One of those youngsters, Weston McKennie played in the first of a series of matches hosted by Brazilian 2002 World Cup winners Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos to raise money for charity. The match took place at Inter Miami’s stadium and 22 goals were scored.
  • Finally, to end where I began, here is a message from Tesho Akindele on celebrating Juneteenth.

Thanks for reading. Go forth and have a great week.