What a season.
If you're expecting some kind of doom and gloom read about how Orlando City fell just short of the playoffs in 2015, then you're going to be disappointed. Because we're looking on the bright side this morning.
The Lions end the year with three professional soccer teams in their system and an MLS roster chock full of potential. Injuries and international duty derailed their inaugural campaign, but is there any reason to believe the club won't retool and restock during the off-season? At the end of the day, Orlando City has a future that's arguably brighter than when they first took the field back in March.
So let's reflect on the good times with some Monday morning Lion Links.
Recapping the loss to Philadelphia
So there wasn't a whole lot of suspense in this one, as New England essentially closed the door on Orlando's playoff hopes with a big victory over NYCFC. Still though, this was a frustrating game.
Eight yellow cards to seven Orlando City players and a penalty call on a Cristian Higuita foul hamstrung the Lions in a 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union. The most frustrating blow is Higuita's red card and suspension, which will carry over to next season's opener. For recaps and reaction, check out all The Mane Land's coverage here.
USWNT Knocks Off Brazil 3-1 in Orlando
In a game played just days after Orlando was awarded an NWSL expansion team in 2016,the USWNT thumped Brazil 3-1. Alex Morgan got back on track opening the scoring against Brazil in an international friendly before 32,869 at the Citrus Bowl. Morgan, who is expected to become Orlando Pride's first official signing this week, scored in the ninth minute of the victory, as Lauren Holiday and Lori Chalupny played in the final game of their careers.
It was the largest crowd to ever watch a USWNT game in Florida, as Brazil got the better of play at times but eventually succumbed to the star-studded American roster. Crystal Dunn and national team debutant Stephanie McCaffrey also scored in the victory.
Here's a look at Morgan's goal, hopefully the first of many to come at the Citrus Bowl...
Orlando Pride Expected to Announce Alex Morgan Deal on Monday
With last week's announcement that the Orlando Pride will join the NWSL next season, the club now begins the process of signing players.
And it looks like they're going to start that process in a big way.
The club has been linked to USWMNT star Alex Morgan, through a trade with the the Portland Thorns that is expected to be announced today. It's actually a pretty complicated deal (involving six clubs and seven players), but here's a handy chart breaking down the specifics:
The club is expected to make the signings of Morgan, USWNT goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and Canadian international Kaylyn Kyle official in an announcement at the The Abbey this afternoon at 2 p.m. The bad news, if this is an accurate description of the details, is that if the Pride selects Klingenberg and Harris in the expansion draft, the team cannot then take any other unprotected U.S. allocated players, and FC Kansas City must leave either Heather O'Reilly, Amy Rodriguez or Becky Sauerbrunn (lol, not her) unprotected.
Kaká is a Really Good Guy
He gets paid millions of dollars, just had his season end, and still takes time to do this sort of thing on the road. You can't ask for a better club ambassador than that.
That's it for Lion Links today. It was a hell of a year guys...