Welcome to the final day of the MLS preseason. Orlando City is back in action tomorrow, along with nearly every other MLS team. With so much soccer taking place all over the world, it’s an exciting time to be a fan of the beautiful game. I’ll be spending the weekend back in my hometown for a wedding, so make sure to cheer on my behalf at Exploria Stadium tomorrow. Now, let’s get to the links!
Orlando Pride Beat the Kansas City Current
In a preseason game open to the public, the Orlando Pride won 2-0 against the Kansas City Current Thursday night at Exploria Stadium. Draft picks Emily Madril and Messiah Bright both started for the Pride and it didn’t take long for Orlando to take the lead. Within the first minute of the game, Bright played a nice pass forward for Julie Doyle to score. Ally Watt doubled the Pride’s lead in the second half, getting on the end of an assist from draft pick Summer Yates. Although preseason games should be assessed with a grain of salt, it was a nice shutout win for the Pride at home.
Kerry Abello Signs a New Deal
Orlando Pride midfielder signed a new two-year contract that will keep her in the City Beautiful through the 2024 season, with an option for 2025 as well. The 23-year-old was drafted by the Pride in the third round of the 2021 NWSL Draft and made 24 appearances across all competitions as a rookie last year. The Pride already had Abello signed to a contract heading into 2022, but now the club won’t have to re-sign her following the upcoming season. It will be interesting to see how Abello fits into Seb Hines’ plans this year.
U.S. U-17 Men’s Team Takes on Canada Tonight
The United States U-17 Men’s National Team plays Canada tonight at 8 p.m. in the Concacaf U-17 Championship semifinals. These two teams met earlier in the tournament during the group stage, with the U.S. winning 1-0 thanks to Keyrol Figueroa’s goal. Figueroa has scored six goals during this competition — the most in the tournament, alongside Mexico’s Stephano Carrillo. The winner of this match will face either Mexico or Panama in the final on Sunday.
Europa League Round of 16 is Set
After a draw in the first leg, Manchester United hosted FC Barcelona and won 2-1 in one of many exciting games in the Europa League’s knockout stage. Robert Lewandowski gave Barcelona the lead, but Fred equalized soon after halftime and Antony scored a nice goal for the winner.
ANTONY RETURNS WITH A BIG GOAL. pic.twitter.com/4zOLn4vlFD— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) February 23, 2023
AS Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen played an exciting back-and-forth match that featured five goals and had to be settled with penalty kicks. Leverkusen came out on top, scoring on all five of its kicks. Elsewhere, Angel Di Maria had a hat trick in Juventus’ 3-0 win over Nantes, AS Roma beat RB Leipzig 2-0 to advance, and Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk beat Rennes in penalty kicks.
In the Europa Conference League, Moldovan club Sheriff Tiraspol came back to win 3-1 against Partizan FC in Serbia. On the road in Belgium, Ludogorets took Anderlecht to penalties but missed all three attempts in the shootout. Lazio, FC Basel, and Fiorentina all advanced to the next round as well.
- Former Lion Uri Rosell signed with the LA Galaxy through the 2023 season. The 30-year-old was waived by Sporting Kansas City last month and should give the Galaxy some depth.
- Tomorrow’s match between the Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City has been postponed until Monday due to severe winter weather.
- The Major League Soccer Players Association became the 60th affiliate of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, joining the players associations of other professional sports leagues in the U.S.
- The Houston Dynamo signed Colombian midfielder Luis Caicedo to bolster their midfield before the season starts.
- Nashville SC extended Head Coach Gary Smith’s contract through the 2025 season. The Englishman has guided Nashville to the playoffs in all three of its MLS seasons.
- A fan rushed onto the field and punched Sevilla goalkeeper Marko Dmitrović in the face during his team’s Europa League match against PSV Eindhoven. Dmitrović calmly subdued the attacker until security took him away.
- Sergio Ramos has retired from international soccer. No player has appeared in more matches for Spain than Ramos, who has 180 caps to his name.
- BBC commentator John Motson has died at age 77. He spent 50 years covering British soccer and covered 10 World Cups.
- Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds will play for Wrexham when it takes part in The Soccer Tournament this summer.
- Authorities are investigating potential match-fixing involving a Copa del Rey match between Levante and Huracán Melilla two years ago.
That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. This weekend is looking like a scorcher, so be sure to stay hydrated while you’re out and about. Go Orlando!