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Lion Links: 7/14/22

Orlando City draws with the Colorado Rapids, USWNT plays Costa Rica tonight, MLS results, and more.

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MLS: Orlando City SC at Colorado Rapids Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

How’s it going, Mane Landers? The summer heat isn’t stopping anytime soon, so make sure to drink plenty of water and stay cool. Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to former Lion Lewis Neal! If you’re wondering what Neal is up to these days, he’s an assistant coach with Central Florida Panthers SC in the National Premier Soccer League.

Orlando City Leaves Colorado With a Point

The Lions went on the road and drew 1-1 against the Colorado Rapids in the first competitive match between the two since 2020. Orlando City took the lead in the first half, but the Rapids equalized in the second half to salvage a point. Winning on the road isn’t easy, particularly when playing in Colorado’s high altitude, but the Lions had their chances to bring three points back to Orlando. Once again, Orlando City B goalkeeper Javier Otero was signed to a short-term contract for needed depth. Otero thankfully didn’t need to play though, as Pedro Gallese played every minute and made several big saves.

Our Michael Citro has your match recap. Make sure to check back later today for Sean Rollins’ player grades and Man of the Match, as well as David Rohe’s five takeaways from the draw.

USWNT Plays Costa Rica Tonight

The United States Women’s National Team will face Costa Rica tonight at 7 p.m. in the Concacaf W Championship semifinals. While the USWNT has already qualified for the 2023 FIFA World Cup, there is still plenty to play for as only the champion of this tournament will directly qualify for the 2024 Summer Olympics. The USWNT won all three of its group stage matches without conceding a goal and will look to keep that momentum rolling tonight. Costa Rica enters this match after falling 2-0 against Canada in its final group stage match, finishing as runner-up.

In other USWNT news, the team announced that it will play Nigeria in two friendlies in September. The U.S. has won all of its past six meetings with Nigeria, with the most recent victory coming on June 16 at Q2 Stadium in Austin.

MLS Results From Around the League

Cucho Hernandez seems to be just what the doctor ordered for the Columbus Crew. After scoring a goal in his debut this past weekend, he had a brace in the Crew’s 2-2 draw with D.C. United. Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, former Lion Chris Mueller had an assist as the Chicago Fire beat Toronto FC 2-0, while the Philadelphia Union won 2-1 on the road against Inter Miami. A brace from Ronaldo Cisneros lifted Atlanta United to a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake.

Out west, the San Jose Earthquakes hit the road and then hit the LA Galaxy in the mouth with three goals in the first half. The Galaxy’s Dejan Joveljic had a brace to mount a comeback, but the Earthquakes won 3-2 against their rival. Minnesota United played at home and drew 1-1 with Sporting Kansas City, FC Cincinnati battled the Vancouver Whitecaps to a 2-2 draw, and Nashville SC won 1-0 at home against the Seattle Sounders.

NWSL Board Discusses League’s Growth

The National Women’s Soccer League’s Board of Governors met over the past two days to plan expansion, broadcast operations, and better officiating. Starting in August, the NWSL will start investing to improve its broadcast quality as its streaming audience grows. It’s a crucial area to improve in as the league’s three-year deal with CBS expires next year, while women’s sports are becoming more and more marketable. A new set of expansion rules were approved to help make sure the existing teams and new teams have long-term success, with two expansion teams expected to join in 2024.

Free Kicks

That’s going to be all I have for you today. Have a wonderful Thursday!