It’s Saturday again Mane Landers, and it’s a double match day edition of Lion Links! We’ve got both Orlando City and the Pride on tap for tonight, so we’ll have an action-packed evening of information for you all. You can check out the live stream of the Pride match against the Seattle Reign by following this link here; first kick is at 10 p.m., right after the match between Orlando City and Columbus. But why wait until this evening to get your soccer fix? We’ve got all of the important news and links for you right here:
Joe Bendik Wins Sixth Save of the Week
I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe Bendik and Ashlyn Harris have a friendly wager on who can claim more Save of the Week titles. Bendik claimed his sixth award this season for stopping a one-on-one opportunity against Gonzalo Veron in the Lions’ midweek clash with the New York Red Bulls. The save was classic Bendik, but the bloody aftermath is what made this special. Veron’s knee collided with Joe’s head on the follow-through and left us with some great images of a bandaged Bendik and earned him yet another Save of the Week title.
Lion’s Pride Pub to Open in Fall
The club’s new bar and grill will be open in just a few months. Orlando announced more details about Lion’s Pride, which will be a short walk away from the team’s new stadium. With an official team store on one end and a wall of televisions showing soccer at all times on the other, you don’t even have to show up for the bar! But you should, because they’ll even refill your drink 10 minutes prior to kickoff. And if you’re interested in how the stadium’s coming along, here’s a great drone video of the steel framework:
I can’t wait to see her when she’s all finished on the walk over from the pub.
Jose Aja’s First Interview
Orlando City’s newest (loanee) signing gave his first interview at training yesterday. The Uruguayan defender is excited to officially be in Orlando after jumping through all of the red tape that’s been holding up his loan deal. He claims Orlando has been interested in him for a year and that he’s been trying to get here ever since. It’s great to see someone excited and eager to come play for the club and hopefully he can translate that into earning some time on the pitch. He’s supposed to be a physical enforcer on the back line, something the Lions desperately need.
USWNT Wins Final Olympics Tune-Up
Orlando Pride captain Alex Morgan threatened goal often but couldn't put one in. But never fear, her teammates picked her up. Crystal Dunn, Mallory Pugh, Carli Lloyd, and Christen Press all found the back of the net in a 4-0 drubbing of Costa Rica in Kansas City. Megan Rapinoe remains wrapped in bubble wrap and hasn't played a minute as the USWNT heads to Brazil, which isn't worrying at all, really.
Arsenal Name Squad for All-Star Game
The MLS All-Stars’ opponents will feature a familiar face for USMNT fans. Newly nationalized Gedion Zelalem is back from his loan with Rangers and was named to the Arsenal squad that will play the MLS stars next week. Cyle Larin’s job got a lot easier with the omission of Laurent Koscielny, who’s still on vacation after the Euros. The Gunners will also be without Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, but Kaká will still have to maneuver around newly-signed Granit Xhaka in midfield. Here’s hoping it’s as exciting of a contest as it was against Spurs last year.
USMNT Keeper Returns to MLS
Tim Howard isn’t the only American international goalkeeper returning stateside this summer. Orlando’s opponents tonight, the Columbus Crew, have signed Zack Steffen. Steffen, who was most recently at Freiburg in the Bundesliga, is considered one of the best up-and-coming goalkeeping talents in the U.S. pool. He was slated to be third-choice for the German side, but maybe he could have had better luck elsewhere. After all, there’s no guarantee he’ll be ahead of Steve Clark on Gregg Berhalter’s depth chart. It’ll be interesting to see how he develops in the American system rather than overseas.
Those are all of your Lion Links for today. Be sure to check back for all of our coverage of both City and the Pride tonight, it’s going to be a great doubleheader.