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Lion Links: 9/8/22

Orlando City wins the U.S. Open Cup, Meggie Dougherty Howard makes NWSL Best XI of August, Chelsea fires Thomas Tuchel, and more.

Sacramento Republic FC v Orlando City SC - 2022 U.S. Open Cup Final Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

My voice is gone from screaming, my hands are numb from clapping, and I’m still loving every second of it. I made the trip from Tampa to see Orlando City play in the U.S. Open Cup with my family and it will be a moment I’ll never forget. I’ve never been at a game quite like that before. Mane Landers, let’s all relish this win while enjoying some links from around the soccer world!

Orlando City Wins the U.S. Open Cup

Orlando City lifted the U.S. Open Cup after winning 3-0 against Sacramento Republic FC in a sold-out Exploria Stadium. It was honestly a pretty nervous first half as Sacramento was able to keep the game level. Sacramento had dangerous set pieces, but Orlando broke through in the second half and added insurance goals late in the match to secure the trophy. Head Coach Oscar Pareja’s decision to bring Benji Michel on for Ercan Kara changed the flow of the game and the Homegrown Player had himself a game. It was one of Facundo Torres’ best performances for Orlando as his terrific run of form continued. With this win, Orlando booked its ticket to the 2023 Concacaf Champions League. It’s Oscar Pareja’s second time winning the U.S. Open Cup, and he orchestrated this run while still getting results in league matches.

Meggie Dougherty Howard Named to NWSL Team of the Month

Orlando Pride midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard claimed a spot on the NWSL’s Best XI for August. Dougherty Howard had a pair of goals last month, including one from the penalty spot to beat San Diego Wave FC 1-0 on the road. She also provided a great assist for Ally Watt to score her first goal for the Pride in a 2-1 win over NJ/NY Gotham FC. Former Pride defender Carson Pickett was also named to the Best XI, alongside Megan Rapinoe, Lo’eau LaBonta, and Adrianna Franch. Dougherty Howard and the Pride will take on the Portland Thorns tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Exploria Stadium.

Chelsea Fires Thomas Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel was sacked by Chelsea following a 1-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, his 100th game at the helm. Tuchel was appointed manager of the English club at the start of 2021 and led the team to a Champions League title that year, so this decision comes as a bit of a shock. Chelsea’s new owners spent big in this past summer’s transfer window, breaking an English Premier League record, and the club will now search for its next manager. Brighton and Hove Albion gave permission for Chelsea to talk with its manager, Graham Potter. The Englishman is reportedly on a shortlist that also includes Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane.

Champions League Group Stage Continues

There were no draws yesterday in the Champions League as the group stage continued. Napoli scored three goals in the first half to beat Liverpool 4-1 in Italy. Elsewhere across Europe, Richarlison had a brace in Tottenham’s 2-0 victory over Marseille, Robert Lewandowski put Viktoria Plzen to the sword with a hat trick in FC Barcelona’s 5-1 win at Camp Nou, and Ajax cruised to a 4-0 victory over Rangers in Amsterdam. Atletico Madrid’s 2-1 win over FC Porto had a wild finish as all three goals came in stoppage time.

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. Go Orlando!