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Lion Links: 7/25/22

The U.S. Open Cup semifinals are near, OCB loses late, Americans still up for Golden Boy award, and more.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! We are just about halfway through summer — though not necessarily halfway through the heat — and Orlando City’s crowded July fixtures keep coming with two more within the span of a week. Are you planning on attending the U.S. Open Cup match this Wednesday? If so, are you also taking four of your friends or family? I certainly hope so, because the players can use the support. Let’s get to the links.

U.S. Open Cup Glory Awaits

I’m sure you are all aware that Orlando City is hosting the New York Red Bulls Wednesday night in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals in Exploria Stadium. The Lions made it to the semifinals during the previous edition of this tournament as well, losing to Atlanta United in 2019. Orlando City looks to handle the Red Bulls and reach its first U.S. Open Cup final.

The other side of that bracket is no less interesting, with Sacramento Republic FC of the USL Championship hosting Sporting Kansas City. If Sacramento is able to make the final, it will be the first non-MLS club to do so since 2008. There is plenty of history in the making as these four clubs square off in their respective matches this week.

Orlando City B Loses to Philly II

Orlando City B didn’t fare any better against Philadelphia Union II than the senior team did against the Philadelphia Union. The Young Lions lost 3-1, with every goal coming in the second half. The visitors struck first, but OCB found its equalizer in the 85th minute. Unfortunately, Philly retook the lead just two minutes later and scored again in stoppage time to keep OCB from earning any points. Sean Rollins has your match recap.

Americans Remain in Contention for Golden Boy Award

Giovanni Reyna, Yunus Musah, and Malik Tillman are all still in the running for the 2022 Golden Boy award. Of course, there are also 77 other players that made the latest cut. If you’re not familiar, the Golden Boy award is voted on by sports journalists, and is given to the young player in the European leagues that had the best showing during a calendar year.

There’s a chance more USMNT players could show up at Arsenal in the future according to Mikel Arteta. The Gunners signed Matt Turner earlier this year.

“We have already one that we just signed, so it’s a good start. Let’s see how he adapts but it’s a huge market, there are a lot of opportunities there and hopefully, we can bring some more to make you happy,” Arteta said.

Of course, he said that during an interview while Arsenal was playing in Orlando, so I’m taking it with a side of skepticism. The whole “make you happy” thing might have just been pandering to the local press. Here’s hoping he means it.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Remember when the Orlando Pride’s social media team was either cursing or helping various NWSL clubs during the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup? That is not the only mojo happening in the world of soccer. Rituals, superstitions, and even religions play a part for many players and clubs. Many African nations have such practices to lend support to their soccer teams. This also cropped up in the first season of Ted Lasso, when the players burned something special to them to set the ghosts free from the training room. I think Ted put it quite nicely when asked if he believed in ghosts. “I do. But more importantly, I believe they need to believe in themselves.” I feel the same way about the actual players.

Free Kicks
  • The Red Bulls defeated Austin FC by a score of 4-3 on Sunday night. I really hope that means their tank is empty and they have no more goals in them for Wednesday night.
  • Liverpool’s manager, Jurgen Klopp, stated he thinks Manchester City will win the Premier League this season. Let’s be honest, that is a good bet, though I think that Liverpool is likely to push City once again. It might be that Klopp is trying to take the pressure off of his club.
  • Marta isn’t playing with Brazil in the Copa América Femenina, but her national team is still the favorite to win it all. That being said, both Argentina and Colombia are making waves and face off against each other tonight.
  • Former USMNT skipper Jurgen Klinsmann expressed his sympathy for center back John Brooks after Gregg Berhalter stated his concerns about the defender’s fit in his team’s style of play.

That will do it for today. Check back later as we get you ready for the upcoming matches for Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and OCB. Vamos Orlando!