Okay it's Monday folks! It's time to get your head back into the game for the week ahead, despite Orlando City having another weekend to forget on the field. So, to help you catch up on the weekend after drowning your sorrows yesterday, take a gander at today's Lion Links so that you are well versed for your water cooler talk.
To get you started take a look at our coverage from Saturday's game.
- Scott Crumbly gives you a comprehensive game recap where he manages to not use expletives to review Orlando City's performance in Toronto.
- Austin David provides player grades to give insight into individual performances at BMO field where a team effort was not on display.
- Gavin Ewbank lays out his five takeaways from Saturday's performance and highlights some positives that Orlando City can work on heading in Saturday's game against Chicago.
Lions head to Louisville
After Saturday's loss to Toronto FC, the games still are coming thick and fast for your Orlando City Lions as they head into the final stretch. On Saturday, they are set to take on the Chicago Fire at the Citrus Bowl in Major League Soccer. However, before that contest, they are set to face current affiliate, Louisville City FC, tomorrow at Slugger Field.
One player who will not be taking the field tomorrow is Kaká. After struggling in recent games and needing additional rest time between matches as Orlando City heads into a busy period, it makes sense for him to remain in Orlando to help get the team and its objectives for the season back on track.
Both franchises are having different fortunes this season, with Louisville City currently riding high, in second overall in the USL, whereas Orlando City is currently languishing in 17th in the Supporters Shield standings. However, heading into tomorrow's night game, former Orlando City midfielder Bryan Burke, who currently plays for Louisville City FC, insists there is "no bad blood" between him and the club, despite him not making the jump to MLS with the team. He and other former Orlando City players, Aodhan Quinn & James O'Connor, are having a lot of success with Louisville City this season.
Another person also enjoyed a warm welcome in Louisville recently was USWNT Head Coach Jill Ellis. Since guiding the U.S. women's team to victory in the FIFA Women's World Cup, Ellis has enjoyed a strong stature and is trying to help elevate the women's game to the next level, despite the problems that it faces.
Another Milestone falls in MLS
MLS has reached several key milestones this season -- two expansion teams (with another two announced), increased attendance across the league, and potentially (fingers crossed) a new rookie goal-scoring record holder or (fingers not crossed) teams with the most red cards in a season. MLS reached another milestone when Robbie Keane stroked home the fifth goal in LA Galaxy's routing of New York City FC, making the Galaxy the first team in MLS history to score 1,000 goals.
The Best is Yet to Come
Orlando City may be in a slump, however, there is no doubting that our woes are somewhat based on the sheer quality of player that have entered this league in the last 12 months. And that has even caught some of the players that joined unaware.
Right now, there are 22 Englishmen plying their trade in MLS, which ranks as second in international players in MLS (behind Argentina, with 26) and the number of international players is expected to keep growing as the quality of the league rises. Steven Gerrard warns players trying to move to MLS that the gulf in quality is a lot smaller than he ever expected when he signed with LA Galaxy.
USMNT starlet makes a move
After failing to capture the CONCACAF Gold Cup, many USMNT followers believe it might be time to start developing the next generation of talent for future tournaments to get the success the United States Soccer Federation so desperately wants. One name mentioned has been Arsenal youth prospect Gedion Zelalem. Zelalem got his U.S. citizenship at the turn of the year and since then a lot of people have been keeping tabs on his progress.
However, to continue to keep tabs on him, eyes will now have to look north to Scotland as it was announced that he has been loaned to Rangers FC to help get playing time and to develop his game into what everyone believes it can be.
* * *
That wraps up another Monday Lions Links, Mane Landers. Make sure you stay tuned for our coverage of the friendly against Louisville (Jeff Milby will be there to cover it!), as well our upcoming MUST WIN game against fellow Eastern Conference strugglers, the Chicago Fire.