Hey hey, everyone, it's your Sunday guy coming back for more Wednesday madness. There's a ton to talk about today, so I'll skip the nonsense and get straight to the links. We'll save that good stuff for Sunday morning.
Rafael Ramos Features in the Sentinel
In case you don't get the Orlando Sentinel, there was a piece detailing Rafael Ramos' return from injury and the reason for his absence so far. At only 21 years old, the defender was a mainstay in the starting XI, but since coming back to availability in the San Jose game, is still being looked over in favor of Kevin Alston. In many sports leagues, there is the thought you shouldn't lose your job because of injury, but Alston has been solid since getting the call to replace him. Still, Ramos is/was an Adrian Heath favorite, so his return might be inevitable.
Also in the column is a brief bit on the reaction to Messi's PK miss from Kaká and Heath. Their thoughts are very interesting and worth a quick read, too.
Giuseppe Gentile's Return to Orlando
In 2014, Giuseppe Gentile played for OCSC and now, thanks to the U.S. Open Cup, the forward returns as part of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Gentile, a native Floridian, is pumped for this match-up. He speaks highly of Kevin Molino and even throws some shout outs to Rafa Ramos, Tommy Redding, Luke Boden and more.
The winner of this fifth-round match-up will play at the Chicago Fire.
A Friendly Reminder to Season Ticket Holders
Speaking of the U.S. Open Cup, the team wants to remind season ticket holders that this game is not a part of their package. Sorry guys, I know that's a bummer, but you can still help #FillTheCampground, or whatever they are going with since it's no longer the Citrus Bowl, with the purchase of a game ticket. As of this writing, there is no plan to broadcast the match on YouTube.
Tony Rocha, Come on Down!
Paging Mr. Rocha, your assistance is needed once again with the U.S. Open Cup. Yep, for the second time in this tournament, Tony Rocha will join the squad for U.S. Open Cup, suiting up for tonight's game against the Strikers. Rocha was with the team last for the game earlier this month against the Jacksonville Armada.
So far, he's getting an opportunity with OCB, starting games, and notching two assists out of the midfield. We'll see if tonight he gets more opportunities to impress the club going forward.
Orlando City Finalizes Stadium Purchase
Hey, great news everyone, a sports team that actually maintained its promise to finance its own stadium! At a whopping $22 million, Orlando City just finished paying for the 12+ acres of land that the new stadium will sit on. The sale was actually made on June 22, but Orange County posted the records on the 27th, slackers.
And we have a few pictures of construction for your enjoyment too!
Hadji Barry Named to USL Team of the Week Bench
Orlando City rookie Hadji Barry scored the opening goal Sunday for OCB and was named to the USL Team of the Week bench for his efforts. No OCB players made the first team, despite the 3-1 win at FC Montreal. Lalo Fernández of Real Monarchs SLC was named the USL player of the week for his shutout over Colorado Springs.
More English Woes
Let's face it, it has not been a good week to be an English supporter. Lost to Iceland? Check. Coach resigned/sacked/imprisoned at unknown location (such as Azkaban)? Double check. Having your tactics questioned at every turn for the rest of eternity? Don't you worry, that's being covered too. In fact, the only thing that could make this week worse is if Iceland took pity on you and offered you free whale watching tours or something. Oh wait, check that off too.
Legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summitt has passed away. She was fighting an illness that has hit too close to home in my own family, early onset dementia and Alzheimer's, so it is with great sorrow we offer our sympathy to the Summitt family...And finally, Alex Morgan wants girls to keep on playing. In a new study, most girls quit sports at the age of 13, yet the Orlando Pride star forward doesn't want you to be part of that number. I say get out there and keep being awesome, ladies of America.
And that's it for the hump day version of Lion Links. I'll see you cool cats on Sunday for another edition of Da Links.