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Lion Links: 3/7/23

What to watch for in tonight’s CCL match, Orlando Pride schedule update, Neymar’s season is over, and more.

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

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I’m writing a rare edition of Lion Links on an Orlando City match day, and that’s because the Lions take on Tigres UANL in the Concacaf Champions League tonight in Monterrey. There’s a lot of things to talk over today, but before we get started, let’s wish a very happy birthday to OCSC’s Antonio Carlos!

What to Watch for in CCL

Orlando City plays its first ever Concacaf Champions League match tonight, and there are a few things that you should keep an eye on during the match. For one, the Lions enter tonight’s game having kept clean sheets in each of the team’s first two games in league play. If the men in purple can make it three in a row, then they’ll be in a fantastic position going into the second leg. This match is also a homecoming of sorts for every single member of the Orlando City coaching staff, from Oscar Pareja all the way to goalkeeping coach Cesar Baena, all of whom have worked in Mexico during their careers. Pedro Gallese and Wilder Cartagena also spent some of their careers playing in Liga MX, and El Pulpo took some time to speak about Orlando City’s preparation for the game, as well as what he knows of Tigres from his time in Mexico.

Orlando Pride Schedule Update

There has been an adjustment to the Orlando Pride’s road match against the Kansas City Current. Originally slated for Saturday, April 22, the game will instead be played on Sunday, April 23 at 5 p.m. It’s a move that’s actually quite beneficial for us here at The Mane Land, since Orlando City hosts D.C. United on April 22 at 7 p.m., and things are always a bit hectic when the men’s and women’s teams play on the same day. It also gives the Pride one more day to recover following their midweek game against the North Carolina Courage on April 19, so this seems like a situation where everyone wins.

Neymar’s Season Is Over

Paris Saint-Germain has announced that Neymar will undergo surgery on his ankle that will sideline him for three to four months, ending his club season. Neymar has not played since coming off injured against Lille back on Feb. 19. The Brazilian has struggled with right ankle issues for several years now, and the surgery is an effort to decrease the risk of further injuries to the area. The news is a big blow for PSG, as the Parisian side trails Bayern Munich 1-0 in its Champions League round-of-16 match-up, and will now be without the 31-year-old for the second leg tomorrow. With Brazil not set to play in any international competitions this summer, he should have plenty of time to recover.

Transfer Rumor Roundup

There are several interesting transfer tidbits to catch up on. Chief among them is that Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio is being linked with a move to hated rivals Barcelona. Asensio’s contract expires in the summer and with no extension talks reportedly taking place, the Catalan team is said to be interested in signing him as a free agent.

Staying with Real Madrid, Eden Hazard’s representatives are set to have talks with the club soon, as his last La Liga appearance came all the way back in September, and the club is ready to let him leave for the right price.

Turning to Hazard’s former team, Joao Felix says that he’s very happy at Chelsea and might be open to staying once his loan ends, but also emphasized the importance of playing in the Champions League.

Speaking of England, while he emphasized that he’s focusing on Serie A at the moment, Victor Osimhen was not shy about stating that he has his eyes on an eventual move the the Premier League.

Free Kicks
  • If you aren’t familiar with the Concacaf Champions League, here’s everything you need to know about the continental competition.

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Vamos, Orlando!