Welcome to Wednesday, Orlando.
This week that means it's game day, with Orlando City set to take on Toronto tonight at BMO Field north of the border. It's another must-win for the Lions, and hopefully this time they can actually win one of these must-win matches as they failed to do in consecutive 4-1 losses to Columbus and D.C. United.
As we ready ourselves mentally for the nighttime match, let's ease into the day with some links.
Kreis Believes in Orlando's Postseason Chances
Despite back-to-back blowout losses and dwindling playoff chances, Lions Head Coach Jason Kreis still believes his side can get the job done and qualify for the MLS playoffs.
"We met with the team yesterday to express that there is still a lot to play for here," Kreis said after training yesterday. "Obviously it was a massive, massive disappointment that we didn't get at least a point in D.C. But I still feel like the way the end of the season is scheduled, with the opponents that are playing each other and that we still have to play, I still think that the opportunity is here for us."
Obviously you wouldn't expect to hear anything less from a head coach, and he is right that matches against fellow playoff hopefuls D.C. and Montreal in the last three games of the season could provide chances for Orlando to claw its way above the red line. Regardless, tonight's match is first and three points could provide a huge kick-start, although that will prove difficult against a red-hot Jozy Altidore and Toronto. Our man Gavin Ewbank has you covered with the full preview of OCSC vs. TFC.
Harris Up for NWSL Keeper of the Year Award
Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was a standout performer in the club's inaugural season, and now the net-minder is up for the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year award. When she wasn't with the USWNT, Harris was a wall between the posts, saving 62 shots -- second-most in the league -- out of 82 shots faced on target. She was previously a finalist for Goalkeeper of the Year in 2014 with Washington, but this would be her first win. Voting is open through Thursday night at midnight, so head here and help Harris bring it home.
Rawlins Speaks at Soccerex in Manchester
Orlando City President Phil Rawlins was in England on Tuesday to speak at the Soccerex Global Convention. The Prez took part in a panel titled "Why Invest in Women's Teams?" and "The Future of Football: The Club's Perspective." The topics discussed in the latter are summarized as follows by the Soccerex program:
With so much vested in the growth of the game, we ask a panel of senior club owners, presidents and chairmen for their take on football's future, tackling issues such as match scheduling, transfer market spending, budgeting for success and many more.
Here's a quick clip of Rawlins holding court.
Two OCB Players Earn USL TotW Honors
Goalkeeper Mark Ridgers and midfielder Lewis Neal were named to the USL Team of the Week following OCB's playoff-clinching, 2-0 win over Bethlehem. Ridgers notched five saves in the win, while Neal scored a goal. OCB had to have a win to play in the postseason, and these two players performed when it counted. Now, on to the playoffs.
Deuce Won't Return This Season
Seattle Sounders and USMNT mainstay Clint Dempsey was dealt some tough news Tuesday, as it was revealed that the striker won't return for Seattle this season due to an irregular heartbeat. Dempsey has been dealing with the issue since early this month, and returned to practice on Sept. 14 before Tuesday's news closed the door on his campaign. The issue could also affect his availability for Jurgen Klinsmann come World Cup qualifiers in November, so it's a double dose of bad news to boot. Get well soon, Clint.
Atlanta United Pegs Martino as Head Coach
Atlanta United, which will join MLS in 2017, has named its inaugural manager. Gerardo "Tata" Martino, formerly of Barcelona and the Argentinian national team, will lead ATL United into Major League Soccer, but he'll presumably face a bit of a drop-off in talent from Lionel Messi, whom he's coached at Barca and for Argentina previously. Atlanta certainly went for the big-name hire, and their splash has been made.
That's it for today's links. Enjoy your Hump Day and here's (hopefully) to an Orlando win tonight in T-dot.