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Lion Links: 9/21/22

Orlando Pride take on the North Carolina Courage tonight, Cesar Araujo makes MLS 22 under 22 list, Central Florida Crusaders sign former USL Lion, and more.

NWSL: Orlando Pride at Racing Louisville FC Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. I’ve been busy at work up here in Chicago but am trying to keep up with what’s happening in the soccer world. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando Pride Take On the North Carolina Courage Tonight

The Orlando Pride will host the North Carolina Courage tonight at Exploria Stadium for a midweek NWSL match-up. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and you can watch tonight’s match on Paramount+. This match will also feature the Pride’s inaugural “Woof Wednesday,” as fans can bring their dogs to the stadium. Both clubs lost this past weekend, with the Pride falling 2-0 to Racing Louisville FC while the Courage lost 2-1 at home to OL Reign. The Pride will aim for the season sweep tonight after they defeated the Courage 2-1 on the road on May 18. Pride forward Erika Tymrak is one goal away from reaching 20 in her NWSL career, while Darian Jenkins needs one more goal to reach 10 across all NWSL competitions. If midfielder Gunny Jónsdóttir plays in each of the Pride’s final three games this season then she will have 100 appearances across all NWSL competitions.

Cesar Araujo Makes MLS 2022 22 under 22 List

MLS released its 2022 22 under 22 list, and Orlando City midfielder Cesar Araujo is ranked 13th. The 21-year-old has been solid as a rock in the midfield for Orlando, playing 2,197 minutes so far in his first season with the Lions. FC Dallas forward Jesus Ferreira topped the list, with 18 goals and five assists this season. Other notable players on the list include Chicago Fire goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, New York City FC’s Talles Magno, and Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada.

Facundo Torres Recognized for Strong Week

Facundo Torres is at it again, getting an honorable mention in the list of the best young players performers over the past week. He had strong performances against both Atlanta and Toronto FC, contributing three key passes and drawing eight fouls across those two matches. The Uruguayan scored Orlando’s first goal in the club’s 4-0 victory over Toronto, continuing his strong run of form as Orlando looks to secure its spot in the postseason.

Central Florida Crusaders Sign Bitielo Jean Jacques

The Central Florida Crusaders have signed another familiar face, as the new National Indoor Soccer League team added former Lion and Haitian national team defender Bitielo Jean Jacques to the squad. Jean Jacques played for the Lions in 2014 during their final season in USL Pro, making 10 appearances for the club. Since then, Jean Jacques has played with Orlando-based amateur clubs Kraze United and the Central Florida Panthers in the NPSL. Jean Jacques also coaches at Orlando City’s academy.

Free Kicks
  • The latest MLS power rankings have been released. Orlando City dropped down one spot to 12th despite its 4-0 win against Toronto.
  • In his second match while on loan in the USL Championship, Orlando City forward Jack Lynn came off the bench in San Antonio FC’s 1-0 win against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. Former Lion Victor “PC” Giro had a penalty kick saved, but he showed great composure to bury the rebound for the winner.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.