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Lion Links: 9/10/16

The Pride sweep the weekly awards, Orlando City announces funds raised for OneOrlando, Carlos Rivas explains his celebration and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Montreal Impact Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

It’s an interesting Saturday this time around, Mane Landers. If you’d told me this time last week that Landon Donovan was returning from his retirement in time to be available for the match on Sunday I’d have suggested the nearest mental institution. And yet, here we are one day before LD could make his triumphant return to StubHub Center.

It’s a shock that he could have even entertained it, let alone has gone through with it, after almost two years out of the game. But I suppose MLS needs something to draw attention away from college football and the NFL.

This all comes at the same time that Ronaldinho is reportedly finally retiring, which naturally means he wants to play in MLS. Again. Someone should probably tell him that, after the Donovan news, MLS is an un-retirement league now.

Orlando City Announces Funds Raised for OneOrlando

Since the horrific Pulse nightclub tragedy in mid June, Orlando City has been one of the major fundraisers for the affected families. Yesterday, the club announced that it has raised $391,248.83 to date, thanks to donations from the club directly through the Orlando City Foundation, sales of #OrlandoUnited shirts, and auctions of game-worn jerseys. The amount of effort put in on the club’s end to give back to the community is to be expected — it has really become a pillar of the community during the last six years. The club will continue to honor the victims with 49 rainbow seats in the new soccer stadium slated to open in time for the 2017 season.

Carlos Rivas Explains the Pacifier

There were a few questions circling the Orlando City fan base after Carlos Rivas scored his second goal of the season in the win over the Montreal Impact on Wednesday. The young forward pulled a pacifier seemingly from thin air after beating Eric Kronberg late in the match. Carlos offered an answer for those curious. His baby boy, Dylan, was born in July and Rivas wanted an opportunity to honor him. He was so confident that he would score in his first start at striker under Jason Kreis that he tied it to his shorts.

Pride Sweep Goal, Save of the Week

The Orlando Pride may be eliminated from playoff contention this year, but they’re still alive for the weekly awards. Alex Morgan took home Week 17’s Goal of the Week thanks to a tricky free kick against the Houston Dash. Morgan snuck to the left of the wall and Kristen Edmonds easily put her through on goal. It wasn’t enough to keep the Pride’s playoff hopes alive, but it sure was effective.

On the other side of the field, Ashlyn Harris kept her dominance up when it comes to Save of the Week. She surprisingly beat out Alyssa Naeher’s double-swat save against Seattle, but Harris’ attempt to stonewall the Dash was no slouch. The Pride may have allowed four goals against Houston, but without Harris it undoubtedly would have been worse.

Lisa De Vanna Responds to Fan Support

Having a crowd waiting at the airport was a bit of a shock for the Pride’s newest forward. She hasn’t had an opportunity to play in Orlando yet and wasn’t prepared for the reception. It’s always interesting seeing new players react to Orlando’s boisterous support for the sport and that it’s continued even though De Vanna and the Pride can’t make the playoffs in their expansion season.

Montreal Red Card Appeal Denied

The Impact appealed goalkeeper Evan Bush’s red card from Wednesday night, when he went for the ball and came up with a handful of Carlos Rivas’ right foot instead. The MLS Disciplinary Committee has denied the appeal. Such appeals must be unanimous and obviously there was no unanimous decision to overturn the sending off. The 51st-minute foul set up Kaká’s second goal of the night and essentially sealed the deal for Orlando City’s first road win since March. It was Montreal’s first unsuccessful appeal with each team being entitled to two. Bush will be suspended for tonight’s match against the Philadelphia Union.

Q&A with Don Garber

Fans were expecting an MLS All-Star Game announcement when the commissioner traveled to Quebec on Wednesday. They didn’t quite get that, but Garber hinted strongly that if Montreal wants it as part of their 375th anniversary, it will happen. The Soccer Don also touched on his opinions with salaries and competitive balance, team travel, and his thoughts on the Forbes valuations of the league’s clubs.

Those are your Lion Links on this fine Saturday. The Pride have their return match against Sky Blue FC tonight, so be sure to check in for our coverage as there are sure to be more highlights from Orlando.