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Lion Links: 3/3/23

Orlando City clashes with FC Cincinnati tomorrow, MLS teams brace for busy season, gunmen threaten Lionel Messi, and more.

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

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope this week has gone well for you as we get ready for another soccer-filled weekend. Tomorrow, the Orlando Pride have a preseason game against Florida State University and Orlando City hosts FC Cincinnati at Exploria Stadium. There’s also plenty of soccer across Europe to look forward to. As for me, I’ll be at a wedding for the second weekend in a row. Until then, let’s enjoy today’s links!

Storylines Ahead of Orlando’s Clash With Cincinnati

Orlando City will take on FC Cincinnati tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. in its second game of the season. Both teams are coming off of season-opening wins at home, with Orlando beating the New York Red Bulls 1-0 and Cincy winning 2-1 over the Houston Dynamo. The Lions have won two of their three games against Cincinnati at Exploria Stadium, although that loss was last season in a 2-1 defeat. Four players made their debuts for Orlando last week and I’m looking forward to seeing how they do as the team continues to find its rhythm.

MLS Teams Face Busiest MLS Season Yet

The MLS season just started, but some teams will already have to find out how to balance it with tournament games. Orlando City is one of five MLS teams that will take part in the Concacaf Champions League next week, and all MLS teams will participate in the U.S. Open Cup and Leagues Cup over the course of the season as well. While the new playoff system takes some of the importance out of individual regular season games, it also includes more games than before. This all adds up to a busy year for MLS clubs that could rival the amount played by some of the top teams in Europe. But unlike those European clubs, MLS teams lack the roster rules to help with the strain on depth and face much more travel.

Canada Soccer and Women’s National Team Reach Interim Agreement

An interim funding agreement has been reached between Canada Soccer and the Women’s National Team, with the terms similar to the one the Men’s National Team has that includes per-game incentives and compensation based on results. This comes after the team played the SheBelieves Cup under protest last month as it prepares for the World Cup this summer. Nick Bontis resigned as Canada Soccer’s president earlier this week and negotiations are still ongoing for a new collective bargaining agreement.

Gunmen Threaten Lionel Messi

In Rosario, Argentina, 14 shots were reportedly fired by two gunmen at a supermarket owned by Lionel Messi’s in-laws. According to police, a note was left that threatened Messi and stated that Rosario’s mayor, Pablo Javkin, couldn’t protect him. An investigation into the incident is underway and Javkin spoke about the rise in violence in the city. Messi is from Rosario and has a home in the suburb of Funes. He could come to Argentina later this month for a pair of friendlies with the national team.

Free Kicks

Make sure to stay hydrated this weekend. The temperatures are only going to get higher as spring nears. Have a great Friday!