Happy Monday, Mane Landers. It’s been a while since we rolled into the office on the heels of Orlando City capturing all three points in a match, but here we are. And if you think you were thrilled about the match result, well...so was Kaká.
For the first time this season, I left the cozy, air-conditioned confines of the press box and took in the team from the supporters’ section, where I lost approximately five gallons worth of sweat, but it was totally worth it. Seeing Kaká’s penalty kick ping off the underside of the crossbar and bounce into the net released a lot of pent up frustrations. Another nice benefit was getting home before 10:30. Big thanks to Scott Crumbly for giving me a rare game night off. Looks like I picked the right game for it.
We’re just two days away from Orlando City’s next match day, too, with the Lions hosting Ft. Lauderdale Strikers on Wednesday night in U.S. Open Cup action. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice. Although you'll have to go to the game to see it because the club isn't broadcasting it on YouTube the way most of these USOC games are made available. They're calling it "a business decision." The Google translate tool recognizes that as corporate speak, which means, "$$$$$$$$$$$."
Let’s get to your Monday morning Lion Links:
Orlando Pride No Longer Perfect at Home
Jasmyne Spencer's rocket gave the Pride a 1-0 lead in the second half, but the Portland Thorns answered with two quick counter-attack goals after the 75th minute to steal all the points. Portland completed its season sweep of the Pride with a 2-1 win at Camping World Stadium on Sunday. Orlando deserved at least a point after out-playing the undefeated Thorns most of the game, but Michelle Betos made three enormous saves to keep her team in it long enough to win it. Orlando drops to 5-6 on the season and falls just short in a bid to win twice in four days after Thursday's 1-0 win vs. Houston.
Orlando City B Tops FC Montreal, 3-1
In better news, the young Lions went up to Canada and brought us all a present -- three points. Hadji Barry and Jonathan Mendoza scored and Montreal put in an own-goal in Orlando City B's 3-1 road victory over FC Montreal. The hosts scored from the penalty spot after Zach Hayden-Ellis pulled down a player in the box on a corner kick. That was the only thing that got by Mark Ridgers all afternoon. OCB is 2-0-1 in the last three matches.
Pride Players Prank Tom Sermanni
In the wake of goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe’s broken fibula last week, Pride players and staff seized the opportunity to pull the old switcheroo on Head Coach Tom Sermanni. Bledsoe had her twin sister Amber show up to Pride training on crutches. Sermanni was quick to notice that "Aubrey" had gotten her boot off and was shocked to see her take a quick jog. Check out the full prank here.
Troubling Chant Spreads to MLS
Welp, we can’t have nice things. The insensitive ‘p word’ chant that is popular among fans of the Mexican national team reared its ugly head in Saturday night’s California Clasico, marring an otherwise exciting match between the San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy. To make matters worse, it took place on pride weekend. Shea Salinas, last seen breaking Orlando hearts in the 94th minute a week ago, spoke out about his disappointment in the fans’ behavior and the Earthquakes released the following statement after the match:
"We are extremely disappointed and shocked at the behavior of a portion of our fan base during our match tonight at Stanford Stadium. As an organization, we do not tolerate or condone this type of speech at our matches. It violates the Earthquakes and Major League Soccer's Fan Code of Conduct and any fan found in violation of this code is subject to expulsion and further punishment.
"We pride ourselves on creating an inclusive and family-friendly environment for all fans. We will take an immediate leadership role in combating this type of behavior for the rest of the season and beyond."
Some rationalize the chant by claiming the offensive word has many meanings, but the simple fact is that there’s only one meaning that counts, and that’s the one that makes people feel uncomfortable or harassed.
Chile Wins Copa America Championship Over Argentina on Penalties
It couldn't happen to Argentina again, and then it did. After a scoreless 120 minutes of soccer, the Copa America Centenario final between Chile and Argentina went to penalty kicks, where the Chileans won, 4-2. In one of the most surprising actions of the night, Lionel Messi fired his spot kick well over the bar with the first kick for his country, just after Sergio Romero had stopped Chile's first shooter. If you didn't see the game, you probably don't believe me, so here's your video:
In the end, Chile's keeper made one more save than Argentina's and the Copa title was successfully defended. Chile players swept the major awards, as Alexis Sanchez was the Golden Ball winner (tournament MVP), Eduardo Vargas won the Golden Boot (top scorer), and Claudio Bravo won the Golden Glove (top keeper).
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That’s all I’ve got for you today, Lion Nation. Enjoy the three points in your pocket and let’s get ready for those Strikers.