It’s Friday! Orlando City’s first road game of the season is tomorrow, and I’m already looking forward to watching the Lions in action. After spending the past two weekends traveling, it will be nice to just sit back and enjoy some soccer with my feet up and something cold to drink. Before we get this Friday started with today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to former Lion Junior Urso!
Leagues Cup Schedule and Bracket Unveiled
The match schedule and bracket for this year’s Leagues Cup was announced Thursday, with all 47 MLS and Liga MX participants learning their potential paths to the final on Aug. 19. Orlando City’s campaign will begin on July 21 when it hosts the Houston Dynamo and will then play a Leagues Cup rematch with Santos Laguna on July 29 at Exploria Stadium. The winner of the three-team group will face the winner of a group that includes Cruz Azul, Atlanta United, and Inter Miami in the knockout round. If Orlando finishes second in its group, it will take on Pachuca, which received a bye alongside LAFC. The top three teams in the tournament will qualify for next year’s expanded Concacaf Champions League.
Michael Halliday Standing Out This Year
Orlando City defender Michael Halliday was highlighted as one of many young Americans impressing in 2023 so far. The 20-year-old has started in all three of Orlando’s games this year, including its Concacaf Champions League shutout draw against Tigres in Mexico. After trading Ruan, the Lions will need Halliday to continue improving at right back this year. With the U-20 World Cup just a couple of months away, Halliday could certainly play his way into a trip to Indonesia this May.
Europa League Round of 16 Kicks Off
After beating FC Barcelona in the earlier round, Manchester United won 4-1 over Real Betis in the Europa League’s Round of 16. The score was level at halftime, but the Red Devils scored three unanswered goals in the second half for the win. AS Roma also took care of business at home against La Liga opposition, beating Real Sociedad, 2-0. There were a pair of back-and-forth draws with plenty of goals. In Portugal, Sporting CP and Arsenal battled to a 2-2 draw. Union Berlin scored three equalizers in an exciting 3-3 draw with Belgian club Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in Germany. Juventus, Sevilla, and Bayer Leverkusen all won in their first legs.
France Sacks Corinne Diacre
The French Football Federation has fired Corinne Diacre as coach of the women’s national team. Earlier this week, Diacre stated she was a victim of a smear campaign and would stay with France through the World Cup. The decision to fire her comes after France captain Wendie Renard and other players stated they are stepping away from the team due to issues with management. The World Cup is only months away and France will need to find a new coach before heading to Australia.
- Seattle Sounders forward Heber is out for two to four weeks due to a hamstring injury suffered in training.
- Louisville City center back Josh Wynder is reportedly close to a move to Benfica. The 17-year-old American was nominated for U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year last year.
- Alyssa Thompson, who was selected with the first overall pick by Angel City FC in the 2023 NWSL Draft, scored just five minutes into her team’s friendly with Club America.
18 Year Old Alyssa Thompson scored this solo goal 5 minutes into her first pro-game after becoming #1 draft pick pic.twitter.com/YNEfQXBy7q— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) March 9, 2023
- French midfielder Paul Pogba was not included in Juventus’ roster for its Europa League match against Freiburg due to disciplinary reasons.
- Enjoy this article that dives into the nine English Premier League teams fighting to avoid relegation.
- Chris Armas is officially no longer a part of Leeds United’s coaching staff.
That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and weekend!