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Lion Links: 7/9/22

Pride win at home vs. Houston, Matheus Aias transferred, Lions set for Rivalry Week match against Miami, and more.

MLS: US Open Cup-Inter Miami CF at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Happy MLS Rivalry Week, Mane Landers. Nothing hypes me up for Lions soccer like a local Eastern Conference foe coming to town. Tonight, Inter Miami will make the drive north from Fort Lauderdale to see if the Herons can swing the all-time series record their way.

The fun doesn’t end there though. The Young Lions and Pink Hatchlings will also take the field on Sunday at 7 p.m. to see which youth squad and second-team players reign supreme. I think we are all hoping for a weekend series sweep but only time will tell. But enough of that for now, let’s get to today’s links from around the soccer globe.

Lions Get Ready for Inter Miami

Orlando City and Inter Miami clash tonight in Exploria Stadium at 8 p.m. Historically, the Lions hold a 3-2-2 record against Inter Miami, with the last two matches ending in draws in league play. Head Coach Oscar Pareja has noted that the Lions are keeping an eye on Miami’s play but overall focusing on their own game.

“Our training and our preparation has been the same with not much time, but we’re trying to organize and be active. We’re getting ready for Miami, that’s where we’re at. They have had a good period and are getting good results. It seems like they’re finding some stability in the way they do things and that’s something we recognize, but we’re trying to be ready and be prepared and worry about what we can do.”

Tonight will be the first time both sides face off against one another during the 2022 MLS regular season, however Orlando defeated Inter Miami in a penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw earlier this year in the Round of 16 of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. As far as current form goes, Orlando City looks to bounce back from a 5-3 loss to D.C. United, while Inter Miami CF comes into this match following a 1-1 draw against FC Dallas. Our Josh Munsey has the full statistical analysis and players to watch in The Mane Land scouting report.

Pride Get First Home Win of 2022

The Orlando Pride built on their comeback draw against Louisville over the weekend and defeated a depleted Houston Dash side 1-0 last night in Exploria Stadium. Orlando created more chances all night but couldn’t stop hitting Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell’s hands. Finally, one of her teammates helped the Pride out when Kylie Strom’s header hit a defender and rolled slowly in for the final margin of victory. It snapped a six-game winless skid and turned it into a two-game unbeaten streak. Congrats to Seb Hines on his first victory as the Pride’s interim manager.

The match was also the Pride’s Mission Inclusion Night, in which the club celebrated the dedication, perseverance and achievements of the athletes that participated in the Special Olympics USA Games, Special Olympics Florida, and 50 years of Title IX.

Orlando City Transfers Out Loaned Forward Matheus Aias

Orlando City has transferred forward Matheus Aias to Racing Club de Santander in Spain’s Segunda Division. Aias signed with the Lions in August 2020 to add depth to the striker pool, but he only made four appearances during a season in which Daryl Dike stepped up to make a name for himself.

“We wish Matheus nothing but the best as he makes this next move in his career,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “We look forward to seeing all that he accomplishes in this new venture.”

Aias hasn’t been with the team since July 4 of last year, as he was on loan with Real Oveido.

Exploria Stadium Making Life Easier for Fans with Sensory Issues

Orlando City and the Orlando Pride have collaborated with KultureCity in an effort to enhance the guest experience and create a world-class environment for all fans. Exploria Stadium has earned its Sensory Inclusive certification for the 25,500-seat venue.

“We are thrilled to partner with KultureCity and are committed to providing a best-in-class service and inclusive environment for all of our fans, especially those in need of sensory accommodations,” said Jessica Morgan, the Club’s director of guest experience. “Our hope is that all guests can confidently attend events and games at Exploria Stadium knowing we have resources and staff in place to support them.”

“Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that Exploria Stadium is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing. We’re honored to partner with Exploria Stadium, Orlando City and Orlando Pride to provide a truly inclusive experience for all fans and guests!” said Uma Srivastava, executive director of KultureCity.

For those who may feel overwhelmed by the environment, sensory bags will be available for every major event at the venue, and will include items such as noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, and verbal cue cards. In addition, any guest needing a quiet space to escape the stadium environment can find rooms at the First Aid locations across from sections 1 and 21.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you. Now, head on over to the stadium and get loud! It’s Rivalry Week. Need I say more? Vamos Orlando!