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Lion Links: 1/20/17

Pride acquire Alanna Kennedy, Will Johnson makes Canada’s roster for Bermuda friendly, 2017 Florida Cup final set, and more!

MLS: Toronto FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of the week again. You’re eight hours away from another joyous weekend of whatever it is that you enjoy, aside from the beautiful game of course. With that said, today is a historic day. Jan. 20, 1986 was the first federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King. Jr. While this year’s MLK Day has passed, there is never a bad time to reflect on the positive impact he had on our country.

Regardless of how much time you set aside for reflection, there are plenty of links to get to so let’s not waste any time.

Pride Acquire Defensive Help

On Thursday, the Pride announced that they had acquired Alanna Kennedy from the newly-relocated North Carolina Courage. Midfielder Sam Wittemann was shipped to the Courage in exchange for the Australian international defender. After making 15 appearances for league champion Western New York Flash in her first season in the NWSL, Kennedy will join her Australian teammates Laura Alleway and Steph Catley along the Pride’s back line for 2017.

Johnson makes Canada MNT for Bermuda Friendly

Canada is set to take on Bermuda on Jan. 22 to wrap up camp for out-of-season players. While the team finished up training in Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday, only 18 players were selected to travel for the friendly. New Orlando City midfielder Will Johnson is one of nine midfielders that made the trip.

Bermuda is yet to get a win in eight previous matches against the Canadians, going 0-4-4. Other notable MLS talents joining Johnson are Tesho Akindele, Jonathan Osorio, and Marcel de Jong.

Martz: An Open Letter About Animosity

Many people feel as though being relentless and stepping over whoever is in your way is “part of the job” for professional athletes. On the other hand, people call those same athletes’ characters into question when they make a decision that appears to be based on money.

Balancing the necessary competitive edge and being the type of man that he wants to be is something that Austin Martz is struggling with at the moment. Martz, 24, joined Orlando City B last month after a successful collegiate career at Georgetown University and a season in the Maltese Premier League. This letter is a good insight into some of the struggles that professional athletes trying to make a living face on a day-to-day basis.

Target Partners with MLS, Will Feature on Minnesota United Kit

The league announced Thursday that it had reached a multi-year partnership deal with Target beginning in 2017. Target didn’t stop there, however. The company also reached an agreement with its hometown expansion club, Minnesota United FC. Target’s logo will feature on MNUFC’s kit, set to be released next month.

“There are so many things that drew us to soccer – it’s multicultural, watched and played by families and is growing immensely in popularity,” Rick Gomez, Target senior vice president of marketing, said in a statement.

Sao Paulo Advances to Florida Cup Final on Penalties

The 2017 Florida Cup will have an all-Brazilian championship match. After Corinthians punched their ticket with a 4-1 win over Vasco da Gama on Wednesday night in Orlando, Sao Paulo needed a penalty shootout to knock out Argentinian giant River Plate. The second of the two semifinal matches in Florida Cup’s FC Playoff stage finished 0-0 after 90 minutes and the two sides went to penalties, where sudden death was needed to determine a winner, with Sao Paulo prevailing, 8-7 on spot kicks (linked story is in Spanish). Ironically, Christian Cueva of Sao Paulo had a penalty saved against River Plate goalkeeper Enrique Bologna early in the match, but it all worked out in the end for the Brazilian club.

River Plate will face Colombian side Millonarios FC at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday in the third-place match at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando. Sao Paulo and Corinthians will battle for the championship at 6 p.m. at the same venue. We’ll have full coverage of those matches for you. However, you should go and enjoy a 15% discount on us.

As always, stay tuned in for just about anything and everything Orlando soccer. That just about does it for today though. Until next time, friends!