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Lion Links: 2/14/23

U-17 USMNT wins again, UEFA found at fault for UCL final problems, Canada announces SheBelieves Cup squad, and more.

MLS: Toronto FC at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. I was absolutely dead tired yesterday, so I’m hoping that didn’t set the tone for how the rest of my week goes. Either way, there’s plenty to look forward to this week as Orlando City has its penultimate preseason scrimmage tomorrow, and we’re drawing ever closer to opening day. Let’s get into the links.

U-17 USMNT Beat Trinidad & Tobago

The U-17 United States Men’s National Team beat Trinidad & Tobago, 3-1 on Monday night. The Yanks built a comfortable 3-0 lead by halftime, with goals by Michael Burton, Paulo Rudisill, and Taha Habroune all coming inside the 25-minute mark. This was the second game of the Concacaf Under-17 Championship for the Americans and two wins puts them on top of Group F by way of goal difference. The final game of the group stage will take place against Canada tomorrow night, and will decide who advances from the group in first place.

UEFA to Blame for UCL Final Problems

UEFA has finished its review into the safety issues and confusion that plagued last year’s Champions League final, and has found that it bears most of the responsibility for what happened. The report found that UEFA ‘marginalized’ its own section responsible for safety and security, and also rejected previous claims made by French Police and UEFA that Liverpool fans without tickets were to blame for the problems. The Paris police force was also criticized in the report for the unnecessary use of tear gas and pepper spray, and for failing to help supporters who were being physically attacked. The report also states concern that the proper lessons have not been learned from the incident ahead of Paris’ hosting of the Rugby World Cup this year and the 2024 Olympics.

Canada Announces SheBelieves Cup Squad

Canada has announced its squad for its upcoming games at the SheBelieves Cup. The roster is 23 players strong and contains a familiar face in former Orlando Pride player Shelina Zadorsky. Other standout names include Christine Sinclair, Jordyn Huitema, and Janine Beckie. As we noted in Monday’s Lion Links, the Canadian players have been involved in a dispute with the national federation over budget cuts and funding inequality, and their games at the tournament will take place surrounded by that backdrop. Canada will kick off the tournament against the United States Women’s National Team on Thursday at Exploria Stadium.

Jakub Jankto Comes Out

Czech Republic international Jakub Jankto has announced that he is gay, saying on Monday that he no longer wants to ‘hide’ himself and who he is. His club, Sparta Prague, also released a statement in support of the midfielder, which read “Jakub spoke openly about his sexual orientation with the club some time ago. Everything else concerns his personal life. No further comments. No more questions. You have our support. Live your life, Jacob. Nothing else matters.” Jankto’s announcement continues the recent positive trend of more male players being open about their sexuality, following Josh Cavallo’s announcement that he is gay back in Oct. 2021.

Free Kicks
  • Check out some snaps from the Orlando Pride’s Monday training session.

That does it for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.