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Lion Links: 2/16/23

Orlando City beats Stetson University, Giles Barnes and Paul Crichton join Pride coaching staff, USWNT takes on Canada tonight, and more.

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Although we’re still waiting for the MLS and NWSL seasons to return, there’s been plenty of soccer to enjoy this week. I’ve been catching up on some reading during matches and am looking forward to grabbing dinner with friends later this week at a new Peruvian spot just a block away. Let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world!

Orlando City Beats Stetson in Preseason Scrimmage

In a closed-door friendly against Stetson University, Orlando City won 5-0 at Orlando Health Training Ground. The Lions started the game with a fairly young roster and Wilfredo Rivera scored the only goal of the first half with a nice strike.

Shak Mohammed, who was selected by the Lions with the second overall pick in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, doubled Orlando’s lead shortly after halftime. However, the day belonged to Orlando Academy product Chase Vazquez. Coming on in the second half alongside many starters, Vazquez scored a hat trick in his preseason debut. While it can be foolish to look too hard into a preseason match against Stetson, it was a good showing from the youngster that could earn some more opportunities moving forward. Orlando City’s final preseason game will take place on Saturday at Exploria Stadium against the New England Revolution. The match is open to the public.

Giles Barnes and Paul Crichton Join Pride Coaching Staff

Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines named Giles Barnes as an assistant coach and Paul Crichton as the goalkeeper coach ahead of the upcoming NWSL season. Barnes is a former Lion and was an interim assistant coach for the Pride much of last season, earning praise from players. He was also present at the Pride’s 2023 NWSL Draft and has been helping throughout the preseason. Crichton has played as an English Premier League goalkeeper and joins the Pride with 16 years of coaching under his belt. The 54-year-old spent the past two seasons with the Washington Spirit, helping former Pride player Aubrey Kingsbury win the 2021 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year award.

USWNT Takes on Canada Tonight at Exploria Stadium

The United States Women’s National Team will start its 2023 SheBelieves Cup campaign tonight at Exploria Stadium when it takes on Canada at 7 p.m. This will be a rematch of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship final, which the U.S. won 1-0, thanks to an Alex Morgan penalty. The USWNT will be without midfielder Rose Lavelle for this match after she picked up a knock in training. With Julie Ertz and Sam Mewis also absent, former Pride player Taylor Kornieck will be a player to watch in this match.

The SheBelieves Cup kicks off at 4 p.m., when Japan plays against Brazil. Pride players Marta and Adriana could both feature for Brazil in that match, so be sure to tune in if not going to the game. You can catch all six tournament matches on HBO Max.

U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Beats Canada

In the Concacaf U-17 Championship, the U.S. closed out its group play with a 1-0 victory against Canada. After a scoreless first half, Keyrol Figueroa came off the bench in the 62nd minute and scored just three minutes later to give the U.S. the lead. The defense was able to hold on for the clean sheet and the U.S. topped its group after winning all three games. The Yanks will take on the Dominican Republic on Saturday in the tournament’s round of 16. All four semifinalists of the tournament will qualify for the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup later this year in Peru.

Kaká Could Become Brazilian National Team Director

You will need Google Translate to view all of the details, but here is a great breakdown on why former Orlando City star Kaká could be Brazil’s next national team director. After hanging up his cleats in 2017, Kaká has completed coaching courses and graduated from Harvard to prepare for the next stage of his career. He’s also reportedly been helping Brazil negotiate to bring in Carlo Ancelotti, his former manager, to coach the Brazilian National Team.

Free Kicks
  • Before this weekend’s Daytona 500, Orlando Pride players Ally Watt and Julie Doyle interviewed NASCAR drivers during media day.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week.