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Lion Links: 3/11/23

Pedro Gallese makes CCL Best XI, MLS Match Day 3 previews, MLS NEXT Pro loses Rochester, and more.

MLS: FC Cincinnati at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to match day, Mane Landers! Orlando City visist D.C. United tonight at 7:30 p.m. Anytime the Lions take on Wayne Rooney and D.C. United, I personally cringe a bit as I remember the many times they have spoiled our fun. I have a good feeling though that today could be different. Today could be the day a trashing goes the other way, and it will taste even sweeter when it is done in front of their home crowd. There are plenty of other things happening in the soccer world, so let’s get right to it in the links!

Pedro Gallese Earns CCL Honors

When Orlando City finished its first Concacaf Champions League match scoreless, the defensive efforts were highlighted by goalkeeper Pedro Gallese. The man between the posts was able to hold former champions Tigres to a 0-0 draw and was named Player Of The Match. He finished the night with nine saves leading all goal keepers this week in the competition and finds himself on the first leg Round of 16 Best XI.

Around MLS on Match Day 3

Orlando City will be sure to rotate the squad as Tigres comes to town for Wednesday’s CCL return leg at home. Today, the Lions travel to Audi Field for a league match against D.C. United. This isn’t the only match on the list though. There are 14 matches in total around the league. Some matches worth noting include another CCL hopeful, the Philadelphia Union, looking to keep a 23-game home unbeaten run alive with a rotated squad against the Chicago Fire. The Union played a lot of young players in the midweek, so they may not need as much rotation. Nashville SC and CF Montreal could feature reigning league MVP Hany Mukhtar in his first start of the year as he recovers from injury. St. Louis City will attempt to equal the 2009 Seattle Sounders in becoming the second expansion club in MLS history to win its first three MLS games. St. Louis will face the Portland Timbers. Let us know in the comments below what other games you are excited to catch from this week’s marquee matches.

Rochester New York Loses MLS NEXT Pro Team

MLS NEXT Pro has announced that Rochester NY Football Club, which is backed by Jamie Vardy, has pulled out of the new season after its backers bailed out at the final moment. It is currently unclear whether the club will fold entirely, or just sit out a year while it continues to look for fresh investment before returning to the league in 2024. The club issued a statement on the MLS Next Pro website.

“This decision involved a great deal of input from many stakeholders including MLS NEXT Pro and was not one we arrived at lightly. Our full intention for 2023 was to reward RNYFC supporters with another exciting season of professional soccer in Rochester. Our fans turned out in great numbers in 2022, cheered loudly, and were as impassioned as the players themselves. Most recently, we were in advanced discussions with an ownership group to acquire a majority interest in RNYFC. However, the purchasing group decided not to proceed earlier this week as we were moving to close. This left us with no time and no choice but to decline fielding a team in 2023.”

EA Sports Releases NWSL FIFA Ratings

EA Sports has confirmed that all teams in the National Women’s Soccer League will be added to a FIFA video game for the first time. All 12 clubs will join the FIFA 23 roster this month. EA Sports has listed the top-rated players in the league and many are USWNT stars and a couple former Orlando Pride players. At the age of 37, Orlando Pride attacking midfielder and Brazilian legend Marta checks in as the club’s highest ranked player with an overall rating of 84. Here are some of the other Pride player ratings.

All 12 NWSL clubs, four stadiums, and all the requisite kits, trophies, and celebrations will be added as part of an expansion that will be made available across all platforms March 15.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you today. Let us know in the comments below how you will be spending your first MLS away day match experience. I typically make tacos and margaritas with the boys. Vamos Orlando!