Happy Leap Day, Mane Landers! Yes, the extra day that comes around every four years is right now only making the MLS preseason that much longer. By this time next week, we'll all be gathering around the water cooler, talking about the Lions' first regular-season match against Real Salt Lake. Enough with the buildup, let's go to the links.
Orlando City Kickoff Week
Here it is, the day before the day. Kickoff Week events start tomorrow with the Orlando City Tailgate. Thursday evening, the Purple Pride 5K runs through Lake Eola Park, and finally, on Saturday, the club will host the Second Annual Orlando City Pub Crawl. Registration is required for all the events and each person that registers will also get themselves a shiny, new ticket for the home opening match on Sunday for #FillTheBowlAgain. Additionally, Rock 'Em Apparel has launched a collection of MLS socks for each team. Orlando City has four different pairs you can choose from, and I personally think it's okay to spend $18 on a pair of socks, at least this time.
Orlando Pride Players in Action
This week will also be busy for several players donning the Orlando Pride kit. Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris will take part in the She Believes Cup from March 3-9. Sam Witteman be in Croatia with the U-23 USWNT for the Istria Cup, which runs from March 2-7. Both Josée Bélanger and Mônica will compete for their respective countries, as Canada and Brazil take part in the Algarve Cup in Portugal, March 2-9. Steph Catley and Laura Alleway start the road to Rio for the Matildas today, right now even, as Australia competes in the AFC Women's Olympic Qualifiers in Japan from Feb. 29 - March 9. The Mane Land wishes best of luck to all the ladies who will represent the Pride in its inaugural season while they perform duties with their national teams. Come home safe.
OCB in Action During the Weekend
While the first team Lions were putting a hurting on Bahia, Orlando City B and the Orlando City reserves were in action taking on UCF Sunday afternoon and USF on Saturday. Coaches for both teams were pleased as the reserves posted a pair of results, winning 2-0 over USF and drawing 1-1 with UCF. Lions Head Coach Adrian Heath stated (in the linked story above), "It was a really good run out for some players that needed the game. There was some good stuff. I enjoyed the game, I thought the UCF lads worked really hard so it was a really good test for us." Additionally, Coach Anthony Pulis observed, "It was always going to be a good gauge where we are at." Orlando City B continues its preseason with a match March 5 against Florida Technical College.
U.S. Soccer Crest Leaked by U.S. Soccer
The U.S. Soccer Federation has been using social media last week to hype the change of its crest. Even though images of the kit the men's national team is going to wear for the Copa America Centenario leaked last week with the new crest, the federation had no response. Or did they? A report surfaced with U.S. Soccer supporters receiving new scarves from the federation, confirming the leaked crest. I don't know how much longer the federation is going to be quiet about it on social media because in this day and age, very few things don't get out before they are meant to be released.
Well, that's it for links today, Mane Landers. Is it too late to start training for that 5K? I better go find out. Until then, I'm going to leave you with Louis van Gaal from this weekend's EPL action. Perhaps that's how I'll be when I cross the finish line on the 5K. Keep Roaring!