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Lion Links: 9/1/22

Orlando City beats the Seattle Sounders, USWNT prepares for Nigeria, American players are on the move, and more.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to September, Mane Landers. If this month is going to be anything like last night’s match, then sign me up. It’s been a busy week for me, but I did take the time to nab a new book, Carrie Soto Is Back. It’s a fictional novel about a tennis star coming out of retirement, but I think most sports fans will enjoy how it tackles the burdens athletes carry in order to chase their passions. Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to former Orlando City player and head coach James O’Connor!

The Cardiac Cats Strike Again

After a lengthy weather delay, the Lions played the Seattle Sounders for the first time since 2019 and won 3-2 in thrilling fashion. The Sounders struck first and then doubled their lead in the second half, but the Lions did a great job responding to equalize and push for a winner. That game-winning goal came in stoppage time yet again for the Lions as they claimed all three points. It was Orlando’s fourth straight win and the exact kind of momentum a team wants to have heading into a tournament final. All attention now turns to next Wednesday when Orlando hosts Sacramento Republic FC in the U.S. Open Cup final.

Young Lions Selected for Training Camp

A training camp to identify talent for the U.S. Under-15 Men’s National Team is taking place in California through Sept. 6 and 60 players from around the country were selected. Orlando City SC goalkeeper Luca Maxim and defenders Xzavier Colon and Lucas Quinones were chosen for the camp and will be part of the Central Region team. This training camp will help familiarize the players with the national team system and educate them on how to further their development.

Results From Around MLS

The Philadelphia Union clinched a spot in the MLS playoffs after a 4-1 win at home against Atlanta United. LAFC went on the road and lost 2-1 to the Houston Dynamo, meaning the Union are currently tied on points with LAFC in the Supporters Shield race. Christian Benteke made his D.C. United debut, coming off the bench in his team’s 2-1 road win against New York City FC. Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, the Columbus Crew shut out Inter Miami in a 1-0 win, the New York Red Bulls held on for a 1-0 win against CF Montreal in Canada, and the Chicago Fire and New England Revolution played to a scoreless draw. Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar now has 19 goals this season after a hat trick to beat the Colorado Rapids, 4-1. Riqui Puig’s first MLS goal was a great one as he gave the LA Galaxy a late equalizer against Toronto FC in a 2-2 draw.

USWNT Gets Ready for Friendly

On Saturday, the United States Women’s National Team will take on Nigeria for the first of two friendlies as both nations prepare for the World Cup next summer. The USWNT heads into these friendlies after winning the Concacaf W Championship in July, while Nigeria finished fourth in the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations. Crystal Dunn is back with the USWNT after maternity leave, but won’t feature in the matches as she works her way back into full fitness. Savannah DeMelo was brought in to replace Trinity Rodman and could earn her first appearance with the senior team this weekend. The two nations will meet for a second time on Tuesday at Audi Field and the USWNT is also set to play England on Oct. 7.

Americans on the Move

FC Barcelona right back Sergino Dest has been linked to clubs all over Europe in recent weeks, but it looks like he will be headed to Italy. Reports surfaced that Dest will join AC Milan on loan, with an option to buy included as well.

Ricardo Pepi has struggled in the Bundesliga and was loaned from FC Augsburg to Groningen in the Eredivisie. The 19-year-old joined Augsburg from FC Dallas earlier this year but has yet to score for the German club. With the World Cup looming, a move to the Netherlands could be just what the doctor ordered for the young striker. Meanwhile, Chelsea is reportedly blocking Christian Pulisic from joining other clubs. The 23-year-old has yet to start for Chelsea this season.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week.