It is officially the best day of the week, game day!
Tonight at 7:30 p.m., Orlando City will take on our friends from the north, Toronto FC, in the second match between these two teams this season. The first game resulted in a win for Orlando with a scoreline of 3-2, with goals from Cyle Larin, Adrian Winter, and Kaká. Winter is no longer playing with Orlando, but Larin and Kaká are both options for tonight's match-up. Additionally, Kevin Molino and Seb Hines should be available to play after missing last week's game against Colorado due to injuries. Prep for tonight's match with our Intelligence Report, and keep an eye out for our match preview later today.
Orlando is coming off back-to-back draws against Chicago and Colorado, hoping to get its first win in the month of August. Toronto will be looking to rise to the top of the Eastern Conference with a win tonight, and a victory for Orlando would keep the Lions in playoff contention. Make sure to put on your purple and show your support tonight in this big match and check out this video recapping the last time these two teams met.
As you await the festivities surrounding tonight's game against Toronto, prepare yourself with these links.
Nocerino Has High Praise for Fellow Italian Giovinco
Orlando City midfielder Antonio Nocerino has seen an upswing in form in recent weeks, and the Italian will square off with his countryman tonight in the form of Sebastian Giovinco, the reigning MLS MVP. Ahead of the match-up with TFC, Nocerino spoke to MLSsoccer.com about the Atomic Ant, and he had some high praise for Seba.
"Giovinco has demonstrated just about everything there is about a great soccer player," Nocerino said. "He has won in Italy, he has won here. He deservedly won the MVP award last season.
"He is, in my opinion, the strongest player MLS has ever had."
Be sure to check out the rest of Nocerino's comments, as there are some interesting bits since he and Giovinco came up together in the Juventus academy years ago.
Orlando Pride Players Attend College
Well, not exactly. Jasmyne Spencer and Kristen Edmonds spent the day at Seminole State College, meeting and greeting fans along with the Orlando City mascot, Kingston. This is another promotion to get fans excited for the return of the Pride this Friday against the Washington Spirit.
MLS Expansion Draft Confirmed
With the addition of Atlanta United and Minnesota United to Major League Soccer, Minnesota Sporting Director Manny Logos has announced that MLS will conduct an Expansion Draft this fall. The last Expansion Draft was conducted when New York City FC and our very own Orlando City joined MLS back in 2014. In the draft, each team was allowed to "protect" 11 players from being drafted, as well as their Generation Adidas players. Then, each of the two new teams were allowed to select 10 unprotected players from the existing teams. Notable selections by Orlando City included Pedro Ribeiro and Lewis Neal.
While the exact rules have not been announced, we can expect that the format will be similar to the last, meaning Orlando may lose at least one player.
Deandre Yedlin Possibly Moving to Newcastle
Speculation began earlier this week that both Newcastle United and Aston Villa had placed bids of €5 million for the USMNT and Tottenham fullback. Yesterday it was reported that Yedlin's move to Newcastle was nearly finalized and he is set to join the club on a permanent transfer. After a stellar season on loan with Sunderland, it was predicted that Yedlin would be transferred, and up until now there were merely rumors as to where he would land. With the departure of both of Newcastle's right backs, Yedlin seems the perfect fit to continue his career abroad.
That is it for this edition of Lion Links. Be sure to stay tuned for more action regarding tonight's events and for our full coverage after the match.