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Lion Links: 10/1/17

Orlando City hosts FC Dallas, Pride visit North Carolina, revisiting the Dwyer deal, Marta sticks with Brazil, and more.

MLS: FC Dallas at Orlando City SC Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It’s October, fans of purple soccer teams. For me, that means a gauntlet of family birthdays sprinkled throughout the month, including my wife’s and daughter’s just two days apart. As is always the case in October, RIP my wallet.

This month is also a busy one for soccer fans. MLS, the NWSL, and the USL will all wrap up their regular seasons (and the NWSL will complete its postseason), the USMNT has World Cup qualifiers — including one in Orlando this week — and the USWNT will play in a pair of friendlies against South Korea.

Let’s get this busy month started with a few fresh-brewed Sunday morning Lion Links.

Orlando City Still Goal-less Against Dallas

I’m pretty sick of FC Dallas. The Lions have played them three times and haven’t found the net once. They got our last coach fired. And, with all the other games falling correctly yesterday, Jesse Gonzalez’s stupid face kept Yoshi Yotun from pulling Orlando City within two points of the New York Red Bulls. Here’s what you need to know from yesterday’s 0-0 draw:

And don’t forget to check back later today for Guilherme Torres’ five takeaways from the match.

Pride Win on Alanna Kennedy’s Stunner

The Orlando Pride may have won the battle and lost the war all at once yesterday. The Pride went into North Carolina and came home 3-2 winners on Alanna Kennedy’s stoppage-time free kick goal. By improving to 3-2-0 all-time against the Courage/WNY Flash, the Pride now will travel to Portland to play the Thorns in the NWSL semifinals on Saturday. Not only is it a longer trip, but the Pride have yet to beat Portland (0-3-1) in four tries. Also important: Camila injured her knee and had to be stretchered off yesterday, so we anxiously await her medical evaluation. Still, this team has been on fire, finishing the season on a 6-0-3 roll. One more win on Saturday will see the Pride host the NWSL championship against the North Carolina-Chicago winner.

Revisiting Dom Dwyer’s Transfer to Orlando

It’s always interesting to go back and look at how the other half views a move when a player swaps teams. The Kansas City Star looked at the Lions and Sporting Kansas City since Dom Dwyer came back to Orlando, and it turns out both teams are doing just fine.

After an expected adjustment period in Orlando, Dwyer hasn’t exactly shown many signs of missing his first MLS home, either. He has three goals and four assists since the trade, all of which have come in the last four matches. He has seven shots on goal in that same time frame, finding a groove in a two-striker system that also includes Cyle Larin.

It’s not a deal, at least at the moment, that either side appears to be regretting. Rubio has furthered Sporting KC’s preferred style of play. He offers a contrasting style to the brute strength and tenacity from Dwyer. He is better in possession and owns a 78.4 passing success rate. Dwyer was at 63.9 percent. That was a prime factor in the move.

Marta Loyal to Brazil Despite Recent Turmoil

Even though manager Emily Lima was fired and three prominent players have retired from international play, Orlando Pride star Marta says she’s still riding with her national team. Under Lima, Brazil was just 7-5-1, but Las Canarinhas have been facing better competition, such as Japan, the U.S., and Australia (three times — twice away and once in the U.S.). It’s reasonable to assume the country’s program would get better by facing better competition, but results don’t come overnight. Striker Cristiane, midfielder Fran and defender Rosana all have retired in the wake of Lima’s firing, but Marta isn’t going anywhere.

"I will not stop playing for Brazil. Whenever they want me I will be willing to go," the 31-year-old Orlando Pride player said. "I am very sad, these athletes still have a lot to give. I hope the girls take it back so we can fight like we did all our lives, asking for improvements, pay rises and whatever is needed."

Free Kicks
  • Toronto became the first Canadian team to win the MLS Supporters’ Shield after Saturday’s 4-2 win over the New York Red Bulls.
  • Vancouver Whitecaps and Columbus Crew both clinched playoff spots yesterday.
  • Romelu Lukaku equaled Andrew Cole’s Manchester United mark of scoring seven goals in his first seven Premier League appearances yesterday in a 40 thrashing of Crystal Palace. Afterwards, Jose Mourinho hit back at critics like Michael Owen who think Big Rom is just a goal scorer.
  • Those born on this date include Bonnie Parker of “Bonnie and Clyde” fame (1910), actor Walter Matthau (1920), former president Jimmy Carter (1924), Happy Days dad Tom Bosley (1927), The A-Team’s George Peppard (1928), original Dumbledore Richard Harris (1930), Julie Andrews (1935), baseball’s Rod Carew (1945), Randy Quaid (1950), Mark McGwire (1963), Zach Galifianakis (1969), and former Orlando City striker Julio Baptista (1981).

That’s all I’ve got for you this morning. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend and check back later today for full coverage of Orlando City B’s match at the Richmond Kickers.