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Lion Links: 3/18/23

Pedro Gallese is Best XI, Halliday and Williams earn U.S. call-ups, Orlando City hosts Charlotte, Pride finish preseason perfect, and more.

Tigres UANL v Orlando City - Concacaf Champions League 2023 Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Good Saturday morning, Mane Landers! I don’t know about you, but it has been one hectic week for me. My wife and I purchased a house and there is plenty to do before we start moving in. Hopefully, I can put a big dent in that to-do list before tonight as Orlando City will host Charlotte FC at 7:30 p.m. Do you think it’s possible to sneak some purple paint onto one of the walls in the new house before my wife notices?

Before we get too far down into the news, let’s take a moment to wish Orlando Pride defender Kylie Strom a happy birthday. Now, on to what you are all here for — the links!

Pedro Gallese Doubles Down on CCL Honors

While Orlando City ultimately finds itself eliminated from its first stint in the Concacaf Champions League after a 1-1 second-leg draw, the defensive efforts were again highlighted by goalkeeper Pedro Gallese. The stalwart in goal was able to hold former champions Tigres to another draw and was once more named Player Of The Match. He finished the night with eight saves and seven clearances in the match and finds himself on the second leg Round of 16 Best XI.

Lions Return to MLS Action

Orlando City rounds out the last of the slew of five matches in 15 days with Charlotte FC coming to town. Last season, the Lions faced off against the 2022 expansion team Charlotte FC twice and walked away with 2-1 victories on both occasions. This year, the Lions have yet to concede at home in MLS action due to standout performances by Gallese, who has been in world-class form. For Charlotte FC, the club is on a three-match losing streak to start the season, has only one goal all season, and finds itself entering the match last in MLS.

Young Lions Earn Call-Up

For Michael Halliday, this has already been a season with a heavy load placed on his young shoulders. His decent performance so far is already paying dividends for the right back as he has earned yet another international call up alongside fellow Orlando City defender Thomas Williams. The United States U-20 Men’s National Team will face off against France, England, and Serbia in its final tune-up before this summer’s FIFA U-20 World Cup. Head coach Mikey Varas has called 19 players to Spain as the team makes its final preparations for the tournament.

Orlando Pride Finish Perfect Preseason with Win Over Spirit

The Orlando Pride finished out the preseason with a 3-2 win over the Washington Spirit, finishing 5-0-0. For Orlando, defender Kerry Abello opened the team’s scoring account with a certified banger going top bins from outside the box. Just look at this strike!

Rookie forward Messiah Bright added two more goals with the second being a powerful header off a set piece corner in the 59th minute.

The Orlando Pride will travel to Portland on March 26 to officially begin the 2023 NWSL campaign.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you today. I’m off to get some work done on the new house before the match tonight. Is it risky to paint in my purple jersey? Probably. But who am I kidding? It’s match day! Vamos Orlando!