Good morning, Mane Land readers! Friday is once again upon us. After the dreary, MLS-less months of winter, that means more soccer! As exciting as last week's opener was (seriously, can it get more dramatic that that finish?), let's hope the team doesn't need to resort to that sort of thing tonight against the Fire. Oh, and be sure to eat your apples in celebration of Johnny Appleseed Day! On to the links!
Newly Acquired Nocerino is a Good Fit with These Lions
New Orlando City midfielder Antonio Nocerino has had a week to train with his new club and things appear to be going swimmingly, with Nocerino fitting in seamlessly with his new teammates.
"I fit well," Nocerino said through a translator. "The week was really great. We play as a family, and that's the best thing.
"I'm happy here because I'm doing what I love. I am dedicated to being happy, and see life this way. It is always like that, and here in Orlando is not different because I've found a great environment with the guys."
This is certainly welcome news ahead of what will "likely" be the Italian's debut tonight against the Chicago Fire, according to Adrian Heath. The gaffer claims that he is fit and has been finishing with proficiency in practice, which are both further good news items considering the injury to Kaká and City's struggles in front of goal for 90 minutes or so last week. It can obviously be tough to get acclimated to life in a different country, so the fact that Nocerino has taken well to the club is a promising start.
Larin Love from the Official Site of MLS
After scoring the first of Orlando City's two goals in Sunday's miraculous match, Cyle Larin is picking up right where he left off after his stellar rookie campaign. MLSsoccer.com is showing him the love, as it has compiled a video of his best goals for OCSC. What is your favorite Larin goal or moment? The league's site has also profiled Larin in the latest edition of their "10 Things" series. Hopefully the second-year striker adds to the highlight video tonight.
Pride Defender Taryn Hemmings Retires
Taryn Hemmings, whom the Pride selected with the third pick in the 2016 NWSL Expansion Draft, announced her retirement yesterday. Hemmings, 29, has a ready-set career lined up, as she will focus her time entirely on Sweat Cosmetics, a beauty product line she co-founded last year.
"I've finally truly made the decision to say goodbye to soccer. It was always going to be an impossible choice but I think right now with all things considered, the timing is right," Hemmings said.
SheBelieves Cup Future Determined
Hot on the heels of the USWNT's victory over Germany, the United States Soccer Federation has announced its commitment to the SheBelieves Cup for the next three years. Dates and locations for the ensuing tournaments have not yet been decided on, but the United States, England, France and Germany will return for future editions of the competition. In addition to the expected profitability the tournament generates, USSF President Sunil Gulati welcomes the high level of competition the cup affords.
He is also hopeful the message of SheBelieves permeates future tournaments. In addition to the games, USWNT players meet with female students, civic leaders, and military personnel in the host cities. A four-day girls' fantasy camp was also held in Nashville to coincide with the cup.
- Happy 38th Birthday to current Montreal Impact striker Didier Drogba. While the Ivorian is taking the Thierry Henry approach to games on turf, Montreal did just fine without him in its opening week win in Vancouver against the Whitecaps. Other birthdays include on-loan Monaco defender Fábio Coentrão (b. 1988), NBA star Anthony Davis (b. 1993), twin brothers Joel and Benji Madden (b. 1979), and German actress-singer Nina Hagen (b. 1955).
- Where does this rank among the many ridiculous things that have spilled from Ochocinco's mouth over the years?
- This question may get a biased response based on the audience, but do you agree with 90 Magazine? Is Orlando City MLS's most exciting club?