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Lion Links: 6/30/22

Orlando City reaches U.S. Open Cup semifinal, Sydney Leroux traded, Young Lions win quarterfinal, and more.

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MLS: MLS Open Cup Quarter Finals-Nashville SC at Orlando City Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

How are you all holding up after Wednesday night’s match? It is in my firm opinion that penalty shootouts are the most tense thing in all of sports and I chased last night’s result down with some whiskey to calm my nerves. Hopefully this morning is a nice and calm start to your Thursday before we get ready for the weekend. Let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Advances to Open Cup Semifinals

The Lions survived and advanced to get past Nashville SC and into the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. Hany Mukhtar continued to torment Orlando with a goal to give Nashville the lead, but Orlando managed to score in stoppage time to send the game to extra time and then a penalty shootout. A save by Pedro Gallese sealed the victory after an intense shootout, completing Orlando’s revenge for Nashville ousting the Lions in the MLS Cup playoffs last season. Orlando will host its semifinal against the New York Red Bulls on July 27 and will also host the final if it wins.

Sydney Leroux Traded to Angel City FC

The Orlando Pride have traded forward Sydney Leroux to Angel City FC in exchange for a natural first-round draft pick in 2024 and $75,000 in Allocation Money, with more heading the Pride’s way if performance metrics are met. Leroux scored 18 goals in 63 appearances across all competitions for the Pride after joining Orlando from Utah Royals FC in 2018. She’s the latest veteran player to depart the club as it amasses more resources to rebuild. However, the club has barely used the Allocation Money it’s gathered this year and Head Coach Amanda Cromwell is still on administrative leave. As for Leroux, she joins an ACFC team that could use a forward after a season-ending injury to Christen Press.

Orlando City’s U-17 Team Reaches Semifinals

In the MLS NEXT Cup, Orlando City’s U-17 squad won 2-0 against Austin FC and advanced to the semifinals of the tournament. Alejandro Granados gave Orlando the lead in the second half and then 15-year-old Tahir Reid-Brown doubled it to put the game out of reach. It was an impressive win against an Austin side that didn’t concede in either of its earlier matches in the tournament.

In the semifinals, the U-17 Lions will take on a Columbus Crew team that has won three straight penalty shootouts in this MLS NEXT Cup. That match will take place tomorrow at 8 p.m., although it won’t be streamed. If the Lions make the final, they will take on the winner between LAFC and the Philadelphia Union on Sunday and that match will be shown on Twitch and YouTube.

MLS Teams Make Their Moves

Toronto FC signed 35-year-old defender Domenico Criscito to help bolster its back line. The Italian veteran joins Toronto after three seasons with Genoa and seven seasons with FC Zenit in Russia. Inter Miami also strengthened its roster, adding versatile forward Jean Corentin from France’s RC Lens. The Columbus Crew signed 19-year-old Jacen Russell-Rowe from their MLS NEXT Pro side. Russell-Rowe leads MLS NEXT Pro with 11 goals this season. While these talented players are joining the league, Minnesota United transferred Designated Player Adrien Hunuo to Angers in France’s Ligue 1.

Free Kicks
  • Pride midfielder Gunny Jonsdottir helped Iceland win 3-1 against Poland in a friendly to prepare for the UEFA Women’s Euro next month.

That’s all for now, Mane Landers. Make sure to stay hydrated out there and have a nice Thursday!