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Lion Links: 6/29/22

Orlando City takes on Nashville SC tonight in U.S. Open Cup, Young Lions advance in MLS Next Cup, Orlando Pride players in action, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at FC Cincinnati Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you in Florida. I’m looking forward to tonight’s U.S. Open Cup match and hopefully seeing the Lions keep their run going. There is plenty to cover today, so let's get to the links.

Orlando City Takes on Nashville SC Tonight

The Lions will look to bounce back after their weekend loss to FC Cincinnati as they host Nashville SC at Exploria Stadium for a midweek match-up in the Open Cup quarterfinals. This is the third consecutive time that Orlando City has made it to the quarterfinals in the Open Cup and the Lions will face Nashville for the first time this year. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and you can watch the match on ESPN+. The last time these two clubs faced each other was back in the MLS Cup playoffs last November, when the Lions lost 3-1 in the first round.

The Lions defeated their intrastate rival, Inter Miami CF, on penalty kicks to reach the quarterfinals, while Nashville came back from a goal down to defeat Louisville City FC and advance. Nashville also defeated D.C. United this past weekend. Across all competitions, Ercan Kara leads the Lions with seven goals while Mauricio Pereyra leads the club in assists, with nine. The Lions will have a different goalkeeper in the net tonight with Mason Stajduhar sidelined due to a jaw injury, so we’ll see either Pedro Gallese or Adam Grinwis in goal.

Orlando City U-17 Team Advances in MLS NEXT Cup

The Orlando City U-17 squad advanced to the next round of the MLS NEXT Cup after winning a penalty shootout against the San Jose Earthquakes.

The U-17 Lions trailed twice in this match, but showed resilience down the stretch to score in stoppage time and send the game to penalty kicks. They will face Austin FC today at 10 a.m. in Frisco, TX, with a spot in the semifinals on the line.

Orlando Pride Players in Action

With the NWSL on break, a few Orlando Pride players were able to earn minutes at the international level. Pride defender Kerry Abello scored for the United States Women’s U-23 Youth National Team and started alongside Pride midfielder Mikayla Cluff in a 3-0 win over Sweden in the Women’s U-23 Three-Nations Tournament.

Elsewhere, Pride midfielder Angharad James played a full 90 minutes for Wales in an international friendly against New Zealand that ended as a 0-0 draw.

U-20 USMNT Qualifies for World Cup

The U-20 United States Men’s National Team defeated Costa Rica 2-0 to qualify for the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Orlando City defender Michael Halliday started for the U.S. and helped the team earn its fourth shutout of this Concacaf U-20 Championship campaign. Paxten Aaronson scored both goals for the Americans and goalkeeper Chris Brady came up with key saves to deny Costa Rica. The U.S. will take on the host nation, Honduras, in the semifinals on Friday.

USWNT Wins Against Colombia in Friendly

In the second of a pair of friendlies, the United States Women’s National Team won 2-0 against Colombia in Utah. An own goal in the first half gave the U.S the lead and Kelley O’Hara doubled it after a lengthy weather delay in the second half. Former Pride players Carson Pickett, Alex Morgan, and Emily Sonnett all started in the match, with Taylor Kornieck coming off the bench in the second half. This was the final tune-up for the USWNT before the Concacaf Women’s Championship next week. The USWNT will take on Haiti on July 4 in the first of its group stage matches.

Summer Transfer News Continues to Buzz

In the latest transfer news, Manchester City and USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen is reportedly headed out on loan to join English Football League Championship side Middlesbrough as he seeks consistent playing time to prepare for the World Cup later this year. Elsewhere in Europe, Manchester United has reportedly reached an agreement with FC Barcelona on a transfer fee to bring Frenkie de Jong to Old Trafford. The Red Devils are also in a race with Olympique Lyon to sign left back Tyrell Malacia. Chelsea FC is reportedly willing to spend big to sign forward Raphinha away from Leeds United, although other clubs are still in the hunt.

Free Kicks
  • The FC Series announced the kickoff times for next month’s tournament. Orlando City’s match against Arsenal on July 20 at Exploria Stadium will take place at 7:30 p.m.
  • The Orlando City Foundation announced the total amount raised from the autographed shirts for the Orlando Pride Mission Fund Charitable Auction. The proceeds are going to the Zebra Coalition to help support LGBTQ+ youth in Central Florida.
  • The latest MLS power rankings have been released. Orlando City dropped five spots to 14th after its 1-0 road loss to Cincinnati.
  • Former Pride draft picks Jada Talley and Cheyenne Short have signed with the Portland Thorns as National Team Replacement Players.
  • The MLS Players Association released a statement relating to a report from the New York Times on the discovery of CTE in former MLS player Scott Vermillion and called on MLS to adopt a full concussion substitute rule.

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