clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Lion Links: 3/1/23

Facundo Torres will reportedly sign contract extension, Orlando City prepares for FC Cincinnati, Orlando Pride beat UCF, Pride’s Luna kit updated, and more.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. I just got back to Chicago after a long weekend in Orlando and am getting back into work mode. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Facundo Torres Will Reportedly Extend Orlando City Contract

According to Fabrizio Romano, Orlando City forward Facundo Torres will extend his contract with the club through 2027. There is also a reported release clause of a whopping $30 million as part of the contract. Torres joined Orlando as a Designated Player in January of 2022 and helped the club win the U.S. Open Cup. The Uruguayan garnered plenty of attention from European clubs this past off-season, including interest from Arsenal.

Pedro Gallese Makes Team of the Matchday Bench

Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was named to the bench in the first Team of the Matchday of the 2023 season. The Peruvian came up with big saves in the season opener to keep a clean sheet and help his team win 1-0 against the New York Red Bulls at Exploria Stadium. Inter Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender was named to the starting team instead of Gallese after he made six saves in a shutout against CF Montreal.

Orlando City Prepares for FC Cincinnati

The Lions will have another home match this weekend when they face FC Cincinnati this Saturday at Exploria Stadium. Mauricio Pereyra can make his 100th appearance for the Lions this weekend and would become the eighth Orlando City player to reach that milestone. If Orlando wins this Saturday, it will be Gallese’s 40th win for the club so far. The last time the Lions played FC Cincinnati was in a 1-0 loss at TQL Stadium last June. Luciano Acosta is a player the Lions will have to watch out for, as he’s scored three goals against Orlando in his career.

Orlando Pride Win Preseason Match against UCF

In a preseason game against the University of Central Florida, the Orlando Pride scored twice in the second half to win 2-0. Thais Reiss, who is a non-roster invitee this preseason, started and scored the Pride’s first goal in the 58th minute. Forward Haley Bugeja then doubled Orlando’s lead in the 83rd minute with a curling shot. The defense did well to secure the shutout and this was the Pride’s third straight preseason match that ended with a 2-0 victory.

Orlando Pride Update Their Luna Kit

The Orlando Pride announced their updated Luna kit, the club’s secondary jersey, for the 2023 NWSL season. The Pride became the first National Women’s Soccer League team to change a kit’s shorts from white to black so that players are more comfortable while playing during their menstrual cycle. While this may seem like a small change to some, Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter spoke about its importance.

“It’s refreshing to be in an organization that is so forward thinking and comfortable recognizing the importance of having women in power to make these decisions. We’re at a place where I think more women are contributing to the conversation...we have a seat at the table to talk about the issues that impact us,” Carter says. “We’re talking about white shorts here, but there are all of these other aspects to this. It’s in recognition of all these other efforts to…normalize making sports more accessible to women.”

Another change to the kit will be that the numbers and names on the back of the jersey will switch from silver to black to be more visible. That lack of visibility was a common complaint about the kit and the players had fun announcing the change.

Concacaf Unveils New Nations League Format

Concacaf has revamped the Nations League format and announced how teams will qualify for the 2024 Copa America and 2026 World Cup. Starting this September, the Nations League’s League A will expand from 12 to 16 teams with a group stage featuring the 12 lowest ranked teams. The top two teams from two groups of six will reach the quarterfinals to play against the top four teams in Concacaf according to the FIFA rankings later this month. The semifinalists and two quarterfinalists that win play-in games will qualify for the 2024 Copa America. As for the 2026 World Cup, the final phase of qualifying will feature 12 teams split into three groups of four. The three group winners will qualify for the World Cup, while the two top second-place teams will move on to the intercontinental playoffs.

Free Kicks
  • Here are the announcer assignments for this weekend’s MLS matches. Tyler Terens and Devon Kerr will be on the call for Orlando’s game against Cincy.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.