Welcome back, Lions fans! This edition of Lion Links is significantly more exciting for me, as it is the first time in over six months that I am composing them from the comfort of my home in Orlando.
Returning to Orlando is always bittersweet. I live on a lake and I often find myself pulling onto my street with the windows down, listening to Jimmy Buffett, and enjoying the taste of my favorite state.
There is something special about Orlando that is only accentuated by Orlando City and the Pride. It’s a community, a group of diverse people from across the globe, brought together by a love for soccer. So, you can imagine my disappointment that I’m home during the off-season and, if you're like me, you are missing that community of people each week at the games. Hopefully these links will help you feel a little more connected and excited about the upcoming season.
The Pride Bolsters their Roster
In case you missed it, the Pride signed defender/winger Camila. For more details on the Brazilian international’s signing, check out our coverage from The Mane Land boss himself, Michael Citro.
Updates to the New Stadium
The seats in Orlando City’s new digs now have “Orlando” proudly painted across them, and the grass will be officially put in today. It is finally beginning to look like an actual stadium, and I cannot wait to see a game from The Wall.
Checking out our home from the top of The Wall!!! #ourcityourpride #2017 #thewall pic.twitter.com/M6zaqu6QK9— The Crown (@PridesCrown) December 19, 2016
.@orlandocitysc and the grass is ready, being rolled up today for instal tomorrow ⚽️ #stadiumupdate pic.twitter.com/8jUirni9Jc— philip rawlins (@OCPres) December 19, 2016
Tommy Redding Closes Out the Year with a Tie
Orlando City defender Tommy Redding has been playing with the USMNT U-20 side for the past few weeks, and yesterday started and captained a 0-0 draw against Costa Rica, concluding play for 2016. The U-20s earned a 4-0 win and yesterday’s draw away to Costa Rica, so Redding and his teammates didn’t allow a goal on the trip.
U-20 #USMNT Starting XI vs. Costa Rica: Klinsmann; Herrera, Redding (c), Glad, Borges; Williamson, Adams, Jones; Saucedo, Ebobisse, Taitague pic.twitter.com/Ce7RvQc2im— U.S. Soccer YNT (@ussoccer_ynt) December 19, 2016
USMNT Coming to Florida
The locations for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup were announced, and one of the locations includes nearby Tampa. The tournament will be played in 14 different venues, featuring four first-time hosts: The Alamodome in San Antonio, TX; FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH; Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.; and Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN. The other 10 venues have all hosted the Gold Cup at least one time and include AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX; BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston; Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia; Raymond James Stadium in Tampa; Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ; the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA; Sports Authority Field in Denver; Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX; University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ; and Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
The United States has been placed in Group B, meaning the Yanks will be playing in Nashville, Tampa, and Cleveland. This will be the first Gold Cup for new coach Bruce Arena since his rehiring, although he’ll have a couple of World Cup qualifiers under his belt by then. The U.S. will begin play on July 9 in Nashville and finish in Cleveland on July 16. Further games will be determined based on the outcome of group play.
Alex Morgan Continuing to Leave Clues
For the past few weeks, Alex Morgan has been posting pictures to her social media featuring her in Europe and, on some occasions, in Paris. This has caused the rumor that she is heading to Olympique Lyon to grow legs. Morgan is continuing to drop little hints, including a picture with her husband, Orlando City player Servando Carrasco, in front of the Eiffel Tower. It’s entirely possible the couple is just enjoying some off-season time traveling, but we’ll continue to monitor developments.
Last-Minute Holiday Shopping
As the holidays are rapidly approaching, I’m sure that some of you are rushing to find those last-minute gifts for your loved ones, or even that guy at the office. Look no further, Major League Soccer put together a list of last-minute shopping ideas, including tailgating gear, warm weather attire, and cold-weather apparel for anyone who doesn’t live in Florida. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to give the gift of an Orlando City shirt.
That is all I have for today, enjoy your Tuesday!