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Lion Links: 10/5/17

Orlando makes the World Cup list, Morgan apologizes, Sermanni extended, Orlando City Stadium to become the next U.S. fortress, and much more!

MLS: New England Revolution at Orlando City SC
A gorgeous look inside of Orlando City Stadium
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We have a very eventful Thursday going on here at The Mane Land, so let’s kick you off with your daily dose of Lion Links. The U.S. Men’s National Team takes over Orlando City Stadium tomorrow evening, The Pride are prepping for the playoffs, OCB is making its final push for the USL playoffs, and so much more, so lets just jump right into it!

Orlando Makes World Cup Potential Host City List

The United 2026 bid has announced the narrowed down list to 32 potential cities (from 41) that could host matches at the 2026 World Cup. Orlando has made the cut! The list includes four cities in Canada, three in Mexico and 25 cities in the United States. So, what now?

During the next stage of the bid process, the United Bid Committee will integrate the 32 potential host cities into the united bid strategy and vision, as well as work with local officials to finalize the hosting documents required by FIFA. Representatives from the 32 potential host cities will travel to Houston, Texas during the week of Nov. 13 for a working session with the United Bid Committee.

Being recognized now as a soccer city makes all of us here at The Mane Land very happy and proud.

Alexi Lalas Smells Controversy

As we reported earlier in the week, FC Dallas may have fielded an ineligible lineup against Orlando City over the weekend. It seems like others in the American soccer community have taken notice. Former USMNT defender, and current commentator for Fox, Alexei Lalas has pointed out that Major League Soccer needs to make a statement on it, and as Orlando City fans, we all hope the (correct) ruling comes quickly.

Alex Morgan Apologizes

As you may have heard, Orlando Pride star Alex Morgan got in trouble with the mouse recently, as her, along with Orlando City players Giles Barnes and Donny Toia, were kicked out of Epcot, due to being loud, belligerent, and impaired, according to a witness account. I guess that is the potential that you can find when drinking around the world. Morgan has since apologized for her actions, and we think she definitely deserves a pass for this one.

Pride Give Tom Sermanni a Contract Extension

Tom Sermanni has just signed a new contract extension to extend his stay with the Orlando Pride. Sermanni put pen to paper yesterday, and though the terms of his extension weren’t made public by the club, we can say we are definitely excited to see him back at the helm for years to come.

Pride Finalists for NWSL Season Awards

The Orlando Pride’s rise to third place in the NWSL and the club’s first playoff berth has people around the league taking notice. The NWSL award finalists were announced yesterday and Pride names are all over the place. Tom Sermanni is a finalist for NWSL Coach of the Year. Marta is a league MVP finalist. Both Steph Catley and Ali Krieger are in the running for Defender of the Year. Dan Lauletta over at The Equalizer made his picks already, including some love for the Pride.

Congratulations to all involved. Fan voting is now open. You know what to do.

Marta Named NWSL Player of the Month

Brazilian superstar Marta continues to rack up the accolades. In addition to becoming a league MVP finalist, she became the second Pride player ever to win an NWSL Player of the Month Award. Following Alex Morgan taking home the honor for August, Marta was given the nod for September. Marta scored goals in both Pride victories in September and helped lead Orlando to a 2-0-2 mark in the final month of the regular season.

Orlando to Become the Next Fortress for the USMNT?

At such a vital stage in World Cup qualifying, the USMNT needs any boost it can get, Arielle Castillo from MLSsoccer.com seems to think that Orlando City Stadium can become the next fortress to write itself into the mythology of U.S. Soccer. A win on Friday increases the likelihood of the USMNT’s qualification hopes. The rocking environment echoing from “The Wall” is likely to bring something new to the table, and hopefully bring an incredibly important three points the USMNT’s way.

Free Kicks

Well, I think that just about covers it all. Take some time. Digest it — perhaps with a bowl of cereal or a hot cup of coffee. We have a hell of a weekend ahead of us in regards to the Pride, OCB, and the USMNT. So buckle up, there is sure to be tons of analysis coming your way throughout the weekend from The Mane Land.