How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope February has been treating you well so far. It’s going to be a fairly busy month for me as I prepare to attend two weddings in a few weeks. Thankfully, there is plenty of soccer in store for us this month. Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish happy birthdays to Orlando Pride midfielder Viviana Villacorta and Orlando City B defender Owen Van Marter!
Lions Win First Preseason Game of 2023
Orlando City played against Minnesota United in its first scrimmage of the preseason and won 2-0. All three of Orlando’s Designated Players started in this one to lead the offense. Center backs Antonio Carlos and Robin Jansson did not play and Rodrigo Schlegel anchored a patchwork defense that still secured a shutout.
Our first lineup of 2023— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) February 1, 2023
F. Torres#ORLvMIN | #VamosOrlando pic.twitter.com/ikV8L1r0VU
Ercan Kara, who led the Lions in goals last season, scored Orlando’s first goal of the preseason with an early strike. In the second half, Orlando’s newest Lion got on the scoresheet as well. Icelandic midfielder Dagur Dan Thorhallsson came on as a substitute and scored a nice goal from range to double Orlando’s lead.
Hopfully first of many LETS GO LIONS https://t.co/gHoZe7AU8K— Dagur Dan (@thorhallsson11) February 2, 2023
Courtney Petersen Traded to the Houston Dash
The Orlando Pride traded left back Courtney Petersen and a third-round pick to the Houston Dash in exchange for $65,000 in Allocation Money, with another $25,000 going to the Pride if certain conditions are met. Petersen had been with the Pride for the past three years, but did not receive much playing time once Head Coach Seb Hines took the reins. She was not under contract following the 2022 season and now gets a fresh start with the Dash. It’s a decent outcome for all parties and Petersen bid farewell to the City Beautiful.
Thank you Orlando for the last 3 years. This place became home and i made friendships that will last forever. I grew not only as a player, but I also grew a person. I’ll hold this place close to my heart. https://t.co/ybQBk1lYiT— CP (@courttt_lynn) February 1, 2023
Haley Carter Aims to Change the Pride and NWSL
Orlando Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter spoke on how she saw the club as a great opportunity for her to take on an active role in advancing women’s soccer.
“It immediately stood out to me and conversations with leadership of the club, ownership group, the board, Mark [Wilf], that they’re really serious about this investment,” Carter said. “For as philanthropic as the Wilf family is … this is not a philanthropic effort. This is not a charitable effort. ... I would not take a position in an organization that I didn’t truly believe means to do the right things and to make a genuine investment in not just in the club, but in the women’s game.”
Carter has spent her first week with the club getting to know the players and staff, including Head Coach Seb Hines. The two are in agreement on wanting to build a hardworking team filled with players who are both tactically sound and physically strong enough to beat opponents in the heat. Calling the club a “sleeping giant,” Carter believes that the Pride have the potential to win NWSL titles.
USWNT Roster Announced for SheBelieves Cup
USWNT Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski called up 23 players for this month’s SheBelieves Cup. If this roster looks familiar, it’s because 22 of the players were also called up for last month’s friendlies in New Zealand. Megan Rapinoe returns to the USWNT and will earn her 200th cap if she takes part in all three matches. Defender Tierna Davidson was called up for the first time since her ACL injury last March, although she will just take part in the USWNT’s training and not the tournament. The USWNT’s first match of the tournament will be against Canada on Feb. 16 at Exploria Stadium. Former Pride forward Alex Morgan will be honored before the match for earning her 200th USWNT appearance last year.
- Haircare brand Not Your Mother’s was named as an official partner of the Orlando Pride.
- In the Club World Cup, the Seattle Sounders will face Al Ahly after the Egyptian club beat Auckland City 3-0. That match will take place on Saturday and the winner will take on Real Madrid next Wednesday.
- It’s official: LAFC transferred forward Cristian Arango to Liga MX club Pachuca. It’s a notable departure for LAFC as Arango scored 35 goals in 58 games since joining the club in 2021.
- The draw for the 2023 Canadian Championship was unveiled and CF Montreal and Toronto FC could square off in the quarterfinals.
- Manchester United took care of business at home against Nottingham Forest, winning 2-0 and advancing to the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle United on Feb. 25 at Wembley Stadium.
- It’s not all bad in Nottingham though. Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas is joining the club on loan until the end of the season.
- Reims striker Folarin Balogun scored a hat trick against Lorient in France’s Ligue 1 and now leads the league with 14 goals.
- Following reports that he would become New Zealand’s next head coach, John Herdman stated he rejected the offer and will remain with Canada.
- The UEFA Champions League’s knockout stage kicks off later this month on Valentine’s Day. However, PSG forward Kylian Mbappe may miss his club’s date with Bayern Munich due to an injury suffered Wednesday.
That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!