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Lion Links: 3/16/23

Orlando City eliminated from Concacaf Champions League after home draw, Orlando Pride broadcast schedule released, USMNT roster announced, and more.

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MLS: CONCACAF Champions League-Tigres UANL at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Last night’s Orlando City match was a tough result to swallow. Regardless, this was a great experience for the team and there are still other trophies to be won in 2023. I’m looking forward to the Lions sinking their teeth into the regular season. I’m also looking forward to the start of the Orlando Pride’s season in just 10 days! Now, let’s get to today’s links.

Orlando City Exits Concacaf Champions League

The Lions fought Tigres to a 1-1 draw at Exploria Stadium, but it wasn’t enough to advance as they were eliminated due to the away goals tiebreaker. Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese kept the Lions alive time and time again in this match. El Pulpo had seven saves, many of which were phenomenal. The Lions equalized late in the match with one of the best goals in club history, but needed a second goal to advance. Orlando drew the short straw in the draw by getting put up against Tigres, but it more than held its own in both legs. It was a bitter first taste of the tournament for the Lions, but they will now turn their full attention to the MLS season. Orlando City remains unbeaten in 2023.

Orlando Pride Broadcast Schedule Revealed

The television and streaming schedule for the upcoming NWSL season was announced by the league on Wednesday. Five of the Orlando Pride’s 22 regular-season games will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network, with all others streamed domestically on Paramount+. The NWSL Championship and NWSL Challenge Cup final will be broadcast on ‘big’ CBS. For the league’s first Decision Day, all six matches will be streamed on Paramount+. Orlando’s first game on CBS Sports Network will be April 29 when the Pride take on San Diego Wave FC at Snapdragon Stadium.

USMNT Roster Announced for Nations League

The United States Men’s National Team called up 24 players for its Concacaf Nations League matches later this month. The U.S. will first take on Grenada on March 24 and then host El Salvador at Exploria Stadium on March 27. That second match will be a homecoming of sorts for former Lion Daryl Dike, and he could make his first USMNT appearance since 2021. Dike is part of an interesting group of forwards that also includes Giovanni Reyna, Alex Zendejas, Ricardo Pepi, and FC Utrecht winger Taylor Booth. The only MLS player called up was Atlanta United’s Miles Robinson, who has not played for the U.S. since March of last year due to an injury. Midfielder Tyler Adams will not be with the team after sustaining a hamstring injury during training with Leeds United.

Napoli and Real Madrid Advance in Champions League

Napoli took care of business at home, beating Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 and advancing to the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in club history. Victor Osimhen’s breakout year continued as he scored a brace in the match. In the other match, Real Madrid beat Liverpool 1-0 to advance on a lopsided 6-2 aggregate. Karim Benzema scored the game’s only goal, but then seemed to injure himself while celebrating and was substituted off soon after.

With Napoli advancing alongside AC Milan and Inter Milan, this is the first time that three Italian clubs have made it to the Champions League quarterfinals. Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, and Benfica are the other five clubs left in the tournament. The draw will take place tomorrow morning and there are no restrictions on clubs from the same country being drawn against each other at this stage.

Free Kicks
  • The Pride teased their new jersey, which will be announced on March 22. I’m guessing it will involve paint splatter or art in some way, but I’m not sure how.
  • Dike is entering the Nations League in great form. The 22-year-old scored a nice goal in West Bromwich Albion’s 1-1 draw with Cardiff City.
  • Austin FC’s Jon Gallagher won MLS Goal of the Matchday with his strike from distance in the team’s 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake.

That’s all I have for you today. Make sure to stay hydrated and enjoy your Thursday!