How’s it going, Mane Landers? It’s Friday, which means we can all breathe a little easier knowing the weekend is ahead of us. I actually have weekend plans for once and am taking my parents to an aquarium before hitting up a new sushi spot. Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando City midfielder Wilder Cartagena!
Let’s also wish a happy anniversary to The Mane Land itself! The site turns eight years old today. I’ve been around for almost six years, so long as I’m doing my math right. Joining was a great decision and it’s been really nice to feel closer to the OCSC community through the site. Thank you all for the wonderful time I’ve had here talking about our favorite team.
Gunny Jonsdottir Called Up by Iceland
Orlando Pride midfielder Gunny Jonsdottir was called up for Iceland’s 2023 Women’s World Cup qualifier on Oct. 11. Jonsdottir helped Iceland secure a second-place finish in the group stage to reach the playoff stage of qualifying. Iceland will take on the winner of the match between Portugal and Belgium on Oct. 6. If Iceland wins that match, it will qualify for a World Cup for the first time. The Pride’s final game of the NWSL season will take place on Oct. 1, so Jonsdottir will have some time after the season before joining Iceland.
Call Up Alert @Gunnhildur_Yrsa gets the call-up for Iceland for their @FIFAWWC playoffs match #PrideOfOrlando https://t.co/OQj5fFlm7t pic.twitter.com/Xd8V54qnaL— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) September 22, 2022
USMNT Plays Japan in Friendly Today
The United States Men’s National Team is in Europe for a pair of friendlies in preparation for the World Cup and will take on Japan this morning at 8:26 a.m. It will be interesting to see if the U.S. can make the most of its chances on offense without turning the ball over against a Japanese team that thrives off making opponents pay for their mistakes. Head Coach Gregg Berhalter already announced that Matt Turner will start in goal and play behind a center back pairing of Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman. With Antonee Robinson injured, Sam Vines will start at left back. While some attention will be on how Turner and Vines do, most eyes will be on the striker position. Jesus Ferreira, Ricardo Pepi, and Josh Sargent are all options for Berhalter up top and the USMNT coach spoke about the strides Sargent has made this season with Norwich City.
Players Threaten to Quit Spain’s Women’s Team
The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) received emails from 15 players stating they will resign from Spain’s women’s national team if Head Coach Jorge Vilda is not fired. According to reports, the players are unhappy with issues such as Vilda’s team selection and training sessions. The federation backs Vilda, stating that refusing to honor a call-up is a serious infraction.
“The RFEF is not going to allow the players to question the continuity of the national coach and his coaching staff, since making those decisions does not fall within their powers.”
It’s a similar situation to the one the team faced in 2015 when players voiced their concerns about former manager Ignacio Quereda. Spain reached the quarterfinals in the Euros this past summer and has already qualified for the World Cup next summer. The team will play two friendlies next month, including one against the United States on Oct. 11.
International Teams in Action This Week
While we’re understandably focused on the USMNT, there is also plenty of soccer being played all over the world. In the UEFA Nations League, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud both scored as France won 2-0 over Austria to avoid relegation for the time being. Gareth Bale came off the bench in Wales’ 2-1 loss at the hands of Belgium. The marquee match-up in today’s action is a clash between England and Italy in Milan.
Tomorrow, Orlando’s Pedro Gallese and Cartagena could both play as Peru takes on Mexico in California. There is plenty of pressure on Mexico as it aims to reach the World Cup quarterfinals after falling in the round of 16 for seven straight tournaments. In Austria, Canada will be without midfielder Jonathan Osorio when it takes on Qatar today at 1 p.m.
- Reading FC striker Deanne Rose ruptured her Achilles and will be out of action until she recovers. The Pride currently hold Rose’s NWSL playing rights after trading for them in 2021.
- Philadelphia Union captain Alejandro Bedoya signed a contract extension that will keep him in Philly for another year. The American midfielder is 35 years old, but has scored a career-high six goals this season.
- Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez won MLS Goal of the Week for his smooth backheel in the LA Galaxy’s 4-1 win over the Colorado Rapids.
- Inter Miami’s Gonzalo Higuain spoke about the abuse players face from fans and the toll that can take on them.
- Here’s a good look at where each team that’s already qualified for next year’s Women’s World Cup stands.
- The next time someone calls a routine header or tap-in a “golazo,” show them what a real golazo looks like:
HERRERA WITH A BANGER TO GET THE LEAD.— Leagues Cup (@LeaguesCup) September 23, 2022
HERRERA CON EL TIRAZO PARA PONER A LOS SUYOS ADELANTE. @realsaltlake 1⃣-0⃣ @AtlasFC #LeaguesCupShowcase2022 pic.twitter.com/BM2vGcqW3U
That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend.