Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers. Yes, I know that Orlando City lost to the Philadelphia Union the other night, but honestly I was expecting that loss. Indeed, I said to many that I would happily trade that match for an Open Cup victory and, given the results of both, I’m content. I would even say I’m Zen about it all. Let’s get to the links.
OCB Falls Again
Orlando City B apparently decided that the senior team didn’t give up enough goals on Saturday night and one-upped that defeat with a 6-1 loss to Philadelphia Union II. OCB was eliminated from the playoffs prior to this match, but one would hope the Young Lions could do better than they did. Philadelphia scored three goals within four minutes in the first half. It was more than enough for Philadelphia to win, although a goal from Favian Loyola ruined the clean sheet. OCB’s final game of the MLS NEXT Pro season will be this Sunday as the Young Lions take on Toronto FC II.
Eastern Conference Teams Jockey for Playoff Positions
Despite its loss, Orlando City was able to maintain fifth place in the Eastern Conference and has at least one game in hand on the top four teams. Charlotte FC went down a man early in the second half, but was still able to hold on for a 1-0 win over New York City FC. That result means Orlando is still only four points behind NYCFC for a chance at hosting a playoff game with two games in hand vs. the Pigeons. Orlando’s next two opponents played each other, with Atlanta United coming out on top against Toronto FC in a 4-2 win. The New York Red Bulls kept the New England Revolution below the playoff line by beating them 2-1 at home. Inter Miami was also denied crucial points in a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Fire.
Keeping Up With the Americans Abroad
Due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, all soccer leagues in England postponed their matches and American players like Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, and Brenden Aaronson had an unplanned week off. Of course, other leagues in Europe were still in action. Ricardo Pepi made his debut for Groningen in the Dutch Eredivisie. The striker provided an assist to help his club win 1-0 at Cambuur. Jordan Pefok returned from injury in Union Berlin’s 1-0 win over Cologne. The result lifted the club to the top of the Bundesliga for the first time in its history. Pefok had an opportunity to double Berlin’s lead on a penalty kick, but it was saved. Weston McKennie, Giovanni Reyna, and Joe Scally also featured for their clubs this weekend.
NJ/NY Gotham FC Eliminated From Playoff Contention
The Orlando Pride have a tough climb if they are to make the NWSL playoffs, but they do still have a chance. The same cannot be said for NJ/NY Gotham FC as it became the first NWSL team eliminated from postseason contention after a 2-2 draw between the Chicago Red Stars and OL Reign. A 1-0 loss to the Kansas City Current was the team’s ninth consecutive loss as it sits at the bottom of the table. Elsewhere in the league, the North Carolina Courage moved above the Pride in the standings and into eighth after a 5-1 win over Racing Louisville FC. The Washington Spirit snapped their 16-game winless streak following an exciting 4-3 win against San Diego Wave FC.
- Cádiz FC’s match against FC Barcelona was temporarily halted due to a fan having a heart attack in the stands. Cádiz goalkeeper Conan Ledesma helped deliver a defibrillator unit to the fan, helping the medical team. The fan was admitted to the local hospital.
- Champions League soccer continues this week, with a pair of homecoming matches. Robert Lewandowski’s Barcelona will square off against his former club, Bayern Munich, tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Allianz Arena. Manchester City’s Erling Haaland will play Borussia Dortmund in England on Wednesday as well. Another wrinkle to that match is that Reyna’s father, Claudio Reyna, played for Manchester City.
- With friendlies set for this month, here are the top players in the United States Men’s National Team’s player pool according to NBCSports.com.
- Referees scheduled to work in Spain’s new professional women’s league are on strike until their demands for better pay and working conditions are met and the start of the league has been postponed. While the delay isn’t great, workers’ rights are very important. Let’s hope those in charge are able to come to an agreement that respects both the league and the referees.
- Finally, let me leave you with an example of an actual golazo, courtesy of Orlando Pride draft pick and Tigres forward Mia Fishel. I say that because there have been too many cases recently of fans and commentators calling normal headers or tap-ins golazos.
That will do it for me. Check back for our coverage of Orlando City’s next match against Atlanta United this Wednesday. Vamos Orlando!