Good morning Mane Landers! I sincerely hope that your week is going well. If not, you have an extra reason to visit your local venue of choice and celebrate your favorite bartender in honor of World Bartender Day. Before doing that, apart from your work, school, or other commitments, read today's Lion Links!
Pride to Begin Training Camp on March 14
Buried in an article about new Orlando Pride forward Sarah Hagen is the mention of Pride training camp beginning on March 14. Hagen, a Wisconsin native, joined the Pride via trade last October from FC Kansas City. Prior to her stint in Kansas City, Hagen also spent two successful seasons in Germany with FC Bayern Munich, during which time she scored 38 goals in 51 appearances for the club. Hagen has appeared twice for the USWNT, both in 2014, then managed by current Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni.
Alex Morgan "Expecting to average at least 15,000 [fans a game]"
The attendance numbers from OCSC's inaugural MLS season were impressive to say the least. Pride forward Alex Morgan is expecting fans to turn out in large numbers as well for the first season of Pride soccer. The USWNT forward feels that Orlando is a city hungry for the game and expects strong fan support. These thoughts did not make it in to the interview mentioned in yesterday's links.
Paul Tenorio to Join Chicago Fire Broadcast Team
After three years as OCSC beat writer for the Orlando Sentinel, Paul Tenorio has joined the Chicago Fire broadcast team for the upcoming season. A graduate of Northwestern University, Tenorio will transition from print to television, as he will appear as the sideline reporter for Fire games on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, although he said on Twitter yesterday that he'd like to continue writing about MLS in some capacity.
Tuesday CCL Results and tonight's Fixtures
In the first of yesterday evening's CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first legs, Mexican club Querétaro F.C. defeated D.C. United 2-0 at Querétaro's Estadio La Corregidora on two second-half goals. Former MLS and USMNT veteran Jonathan Bornstein started at left back and went the full 90 minutes for Querétaro.
In the nightcap, Club América and Seattle Sounders FC battled to a 2-2 draw at Seattle's CenturyLink Field. The Sounders twice took the lead behind goals from Clint Dempsey, but were ultimately let down by defensive lapses and head to Estadio Azteca for the second leg with work to be done. Next Big Thing Jordan Morris made his professional debut Tuesday night and played reasonably well, including earning a corner that led to Dempsey's second goal. Those two crucial away goals definitely give Club América the advantage heading into the home leg.
- Amobi Okugo's stay with Sporting Kansas City turned out to be a short one, as the club announced yesterday that they have waived the midfielder acquired from OCSC last summer. Only 24 years old, it will be interesting to see where the next step in Okugo's career takes him. The now former Philadelphia Union, Orlando City, and Sporting KC midfielder has also been capped at the U17, U20, and U23 levels.
- On the heels of last night's CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first legs, MLS Commissioner Don Garber has hopes that CONCACAF will alter the CCL schedule to better accommodate MLS clubs. Speaking at a league event on Monday in New York, Garber said he sees now, as the association seeks new leadership in the wake of the corruption scandal, as good a time as any to implement change:
"So hopefully with new leadership [at CONCACAF] and perhaps a better understanding of what would need to happen to make that competition more valuable for them and the rest of the countries in the region, everybody might be able to look at a different format. I think we are at a distinct disadvantage and I think it hurts the tournament."
- The season is almost upon us! Yesterday afternoon, the league released the referee assignments for week one play. The referee for Orlando City's opener against RSL at the Citrus Bowl on March 6 is Chris Penso.
Among today's soccer-related birthdays are Denis Law (b. 1940) and current FC Dallas midfielder Mauro Rosales (b. 1981). In the wider world of sports, recently retired Aussie tennis star Lleyton Hewitt (b. 1981), my personal favorite growing up, turns 35 years old. Sid Meier (b. 1954), whose video game creations consumed a large portion of my teenage years, celebrates his 62nd birthday. Steve Jobs (d. 2011) was born on this day in 1955. Finally, George Thorogood (b. 1950) turns 66 today.
As a tribute to both Thorogood and World Bartender Day, I bid you happy reading with the following: