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Lion Links: 7/4/22

Orlando City is ready for D.C., the Orlando Pride battle back for a draw, U-20 USMNT wins Concacaf championship, and more.

NWSL: Racing Louisville FC at Orlando Pride Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Independence Day, Mane Landers! I have to admit that I didn’t see the Orlando Pride’s draw at the racetrack coming. Quite the finish, really. Today is a great opportunity to finish a holiday weekend of soccer for those who support those in purple and the Red, White & Blue. Let’s get to the links.

Orlando City is Ready for D.C. United

Orlando City will play on the Fourth of July for the third time in club history. The first time was a 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake in 2015, and the second was a 4-0 loss to FC Dallas in 2016. Today will be the first home match on Independence Day. Tonight’s opponent is D.C. United as the Lions hunt for their third straight win over the Black and Red. It is the first meeting between the two clubs this season, but last year the Lions earned a 1-0 victory in May. Orlando City then defeated D.C. United 2-1 in October to sweep the season series.

Assuming Ruan plays tonight, he will hit 100. No, I don’t mean miles per hour. Orlando City’s speedy right back will join Robin Jansson and Tesho Akindele with 100 appearances for the Lions.

Pride Come Back for Draw Against Louisville

If you told me that it would take playing soccer on the infield of a racetrack for the Orlando Pride to get their first points since May, I might have doubted you. However, that is exactly what happened on Sunday. The Pride scored two goals in the second half to earn a point in a 2-2 draw at Daytona International Speedway against Racing Louisville. Our Sean Rollins has your match recap.

U-20 USMNT Wins Concacaf Championship

The U-20 United States Men’s National Team clinched a spot in the Olympics when it shut out Honduras 3-0 on Friday in the semifinals. The team decided to double its output to defeat the Dominican Republic by a score of 6-0 to win its third-straight Concacaf U-20 Championship. Orlando City defender Michael Halliday did not make an appearance in the match. Paxten Aaronson had a brace and won the Best Player Award for the tournament as well.

USWNT Starts Qualifying Tournament Tonight

The United States Women’s National Team opens Group A play at the Concacaf W Championship against Haiti. The match is at Estadio Universitario in Monterrey, Mexico at 7 p.m. tonight. The eight-team tournament has a new format and will be the path to qualifying for both the 2023 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics. The USWNT has never lost to Haiti. In fact, the team has never given up a goal to tonight’s opponent. The Yanks will look to start the tournament with yet another win.

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the World Cup, but only the tournament winner will directly qualify for the Olympics. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the USWNT is a favorite to do so. The USWNT is transitioning from one generation of players to the next. Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe are still in the squad, but younger players like Sophia Smith and Trinity Rodman are becoming a bigger part of Vlatko Andonovski’s plans. The road to double qualification starts tonight.

Free Kicks
  • FIFA has previously proposed instituting a program to scour social media and monitor and remedy abusive content directed at players for the World Cup. Now, UEFA is going to do the same thing for the Women’s European Championship this month.
  • The England Women’s National Team will look to new coach Sarina Wiegman to get the team back to being a contender.
  • The Africa Cup of Nations final will be moved from the summer of 2023 to early 2024. The reason for the delay is that the tournament would have taken place during the rainy season on the Ivory Coast.

That will do it for today. Check back for more coverage of tonight’s match. Go USWNT and vamos Orlando!