It’s Saturday again, Mane Landers, and this time it’s an international version of Lion Links! Orlando City almost made it through the season without losing players to international windows but they’ll be without Cyle Larin and Kevin Molino on Wednesday coming off their World Cup qualifiers. It’s a disappointment for the offense going into a key clash with Montreal, but there’s not much to be done about it.
But, on the flip side of the international window, the U.S. has a chance to lock up their group next week against Molino and Trinidad & Tobago, which brings us to our first link:
Pulisic, U.S. Rout St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Christian Pulisic became the youngest American to score in a World Cup qualifier, and subsequently the youngest to score a brace, in a 6-0 victory in St. Vincent. Sacha Kljestan made a fantastic return to the USMNT with a goal of his own and both assists to Pulisic. If you haven’t seen Pulisic’s first, I can’t tell which is better: Kljestan’s pass or Pulisic’s touch:
MLS Ranks Designated Players by Team
Sam Stejskal took it upon himself to rank the DPs from every team around the league as a unit. Orlando City’s trio of Kaká, Bryan Rochez, and Carlos Rivas did not finish well. They fell into the “One-man Bands” category, along with Sacha Kljestan (note: note a DP) and the other Red Bulls. It’s fair to say that’s a true statement, but they fell below the category labeled “Plenty of Potential, Short on Production” which pretty much perfectly describes Rochez and Rivas. Either way it’s hard to argue that, as a unit, Orlando should expect more production, even when Kaká has been fantastic.
Molino Talks Past and Future
Kevin Molino spoke with Kristan Henage about his past before Orlando City and what he sees in his soccer future. He switched to soccer from cricket at age 15 and picked it up so quickly that he was picked up by Adrian Heath just a few years later. While trial spells with PSV Eindhoven and Zulte Waregem did not go as planned, Molino still wants to make the jump to Europe eventually. He also talks about his respect for both Adrian Heath and Jason Kreis and what playoffs this year would mean, which provides unique insight on just how much Orlando City means to him.
Bendik Wins 10th Save of the Week Award
If you’re keeping track, that makes Bendik - 10, Rest of MLS - 15. Joe has made some pretty special saves this season and it’s probably safe to say that the fourth-round pick Orlando sent Toronto is no longer conditional. His latest gem came from a point-blank save on Jozy Altidore, and he beat FC Dallas’ Chris Seitz with 88% of the final vote. Unfortunately, his efforts weren’t enough to get a result against his former team.
NWSL to Los Angeles?
USWNT great Mia Hamm is pulling some strings on the west coast. She is part of the ownership group that brought Los Angeles FC to MLS and now recent reports claim that she is behind a movement to bring a women’s team to the City of Angels. With the league’s expansion to 10 teams with Orlando’s own Pride, it has shown stability that no other women’s league in the U.S. has. A potential team in a huge market with Hamm’s name and LAFC’s considerable monetary weight attached could potentially make a huge impact on the league’s marketability.
Those are all of your Links for this fine Saturday. Tonight we’ve got both the Pride taking on the Houston Dash and Orlando City B’s final home match — against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds — on the docket, so be sure to check back in for all of our coverage.