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Lion Links: 1/2/23

Exploria Stadium tops MLS, looking ahead to women’s soccer in 2023, USMNT coaching options, and more.

NWSL: San Diego Wave FC at Orlando Pride Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

Happy New Year, Mane Landers! Needless to say, it is a time of looking ahead to the challenges and potential of the coming year. I hope that your holiday was a safe and fun one, and that you’re ready for more great things this year from the club and, of course, The Mane Land. Let’s get to the links.

Exploria Stadium is the Best in MLS

With a rating of 4.71 out of 5, Orlando City’s Exploria Stadium was ranked the No. 1 stadium in all of MLS by Stadium Journey. The criteria reviewed includes concessions, atmosphere, access, and more to determine which MLS stadiums offered the best experience for fans. Most of us know how great that experience at Exploria Stadium is, and now there is independent confirmation that we are correct.

Looking Ahead to Women’s Soccer This Year

Women’s sports had an interesting 2022, and not all of it was good, as we’re all too aware of the adversity the Orlando Pride dealt with last year. Looking ahead to 2023, the NWSL and women’s sports will look to heal and move forward. Part of moving forward will include league expansion, but not until 2024 for the NWSL. Of course, the biggest event will be the 2023 Women’s World Cup this summer in Australia and New Zealand.

USMNT Coaching Position is Open... Technically

The next World Cup cycle is underway and the United States is a co-host country for 2026 — along with Mexico and Canada. As it stands, the U.S. does not have a coach since Gregg Berhalter’s contract expired at the end of 2022. Whether he is retained or if U.S. Soccer goes in a different direction, a decision will need to be made. Berhalter is in the pole position for the job, but the folks over at Stars and Stripes FC compiled a list of many potential candidates. Some listed are currently coaching, like Jesse Marsch at Leeds United, while others are not currently attached to a team, such as Marcelo Bielsa and Roberto Martinez. Even Orlando City’s Óscar Pareja had his name thrown into the mix as one of the top coaches in MLS.

Results From Around the English Premier League

Nottingham Forest took a step towards avoiding relegation after a 1-1 draw against Chelsea, with Serge Aurier scoring Forest’s equalizer in the second half. Unai Emery’s Aston Villa won its second match in a row with a 2-0 victory over Tottenham. As a result, Tottenham remains out of the top four.

Arsenal continued its run of form with a 4-2 win over Brighton. Arsenal is now seven points clear at the top of the table. Leeds United and Newcastle played to a 0-0 draw. Newcastle is unbeaten in 12 matches and Leeds moved up to 14th place. Bournemouth lost 2-0 to Crystal Palace in front of its new owners, and Fulham defeated Southampton 2-1 thanks to a late winner from Joao Palhinha.

Free Kicks
  • Enjoy one heck of an assist from Seko Fofana to Loïs Openda in Lens’ 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain.
  • Club Brugge named former Bournemouth head coach Scott Parker as its new skipper. Everyone is as excited as Parker is in this photo.

That will do it for today. I hope that you’re having a great start to 2023!