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Lion Links: 9/9/22

Orlando City celebrates U.S. Open Cup title, Pride face the Portland Thorns tonight, Viviana Villacorta is out for the season, and more.

David Rohe, The Mane Land

How’s it going, Mane Landers? If you’re still riding the high of Wednesday’s big win, let’s carry that energy into supporting the Orlando Pride in their match at home tonight as well. It’s another exciting weekend filled to the brim with soccer both in Orlando and abroad. Let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world.

Lions Celebrate Open Cup Championship at City Hall

A day after winning the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship with Wednesday night’s 3-0 victory over Sacramento Republic FC, the Lions and their fans gathered at City Hall downtown on Thursday afternoon to celebrate. The players brought the trophy out and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer saluted OCSC’s supporters and expressed his pride in the club’s ability to bring the community together. The mayor also proclaimed yesterday to be U.S. Open Cup Champions Day in the City Beautiful.

Club Chairman Mark Wilf addressed the crowd and thanked the fans, supporters, players, city, and county. Head Coach Oscar Pareja followed and talked about the power of the community. Captain Mauricio Pereyra spoke as well and then the team re-enacted the lifting of the trophy. If you weren’t able to be there, you can watch the video at the link above.

Orlando Pride Face the Portland Thorns Tonight

The Orlando Pride are back in action tonight at 7 p.m. as they take on the Portland Thorns at Exploria Stadium. It’s the Pride’s first match of September and they will aim to bounce back after a tough 2-1 loss to OL Reign on Aug. 26. They’ll have to do so a bit shorthanded (more on that below). As for the Thorns, they are coming off of a pair of losses to the North Carolina Courage and San Diego Wave FC. The Pride are five points behind the Chicago Red Stars for the final playoff spot and this match will be crucial for their playoff aspirations.

Viviana Villacorta Out for the Season

Orlando Pride midfielder Viviana Villacorta underwent surgery on her left ankle and will be out for the rest of the 2022 NWSL season. Villacorta has been an integral player in the Pride’s midfield this season and she suffered this injury in the game against OL Reign. The 23-year-old was selected by the Pride in the 2021 NWSL Draft, but an ACL tear prevented her from playing with the Pride until this season. We wish Villacorta a speedy and healthy recovery.

Pride Add Kelly Rowswell as a Goalkeeper Replacement

With goalkeepers Erin McLeod and Kaylie Collins unavailable for tonight’s game due to injuries, the Pride signed Kelly Rowswell as a goalkeeper replacement and she will be available for tonight’s match. Rowswell is coming off of a season with GPSO 92 Issy in France and played 48 games at the collegiate level with Rollins College. Anna Moorhouse will be between the sticks tonight for her Pride debut.

Orlando City B Heads North This Weekend

Orlando City B will play this Sunday against Philadelphia Union II in its last road game of this MLS NEXT Pro season. The Young Lions were eliminated from playoff contention after a 2-0 loss to New England Revolution II last week, but they can play a spoiler role on Sunday as Philadelphia currently holds the fourth and final playoff spot. Jack Lynn hasn’t played since Aug. 17 and his Golden Boot chances may be over considering his availability with two games left. OCB’s final game of the season will be on Sept. 18 against Toronto FC.

Europa League Group Stage Begins

In Europa League action, American goalkeeper Matt Turner made his debut for Arsenal in the club’s 2-1 win against FC Zurich. Marquinhos also made his debut for Arsenal, scoring the team’s first goal and assisting on the winner. Manchester United fell 1-0 to Real Sociedad in its Europa League opener. Cristiano Ronaldo and United were shut out and a questionable penalty was enough for the Spanish club to win. United wasn’t the only club from a big league to falter, as AS Roma lost 2-1 to Ludogorets and Union Berlin was beaten 1-0 by Union Saint-Gilloise. Lazio, Monaco, Real Betis, and Sheriff Tiraspol all came away with wins to start their Europa League campaigns.

In the Europa Conference League, Villarreal eked out a 4-3 win against Polish club Lech Poznan. West Ham United was trailing at halftime, but scored three goals in the second half to win 3-1 against Romania’s FCSB.

Free Kicks
  • Here are some of the scenes from Orlando City celebrating its U.S. Open Cup victory at City Hall.
  • A statue of Orlando Pride forward Marta was unveiled at the Museu Seleção Brasileira in Brazil, and it’s pretty great, especially when considering the amount of awful soccer statues out there in the world.
  • Former OCB player Ryley Kraft was named to the USL League Two All-Central Conference team.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and rest of your weekend!