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Lion Links: 10/8/17

Pride fall to Portland, OCB hosts NYRBII, Kaká’s GOTW, Yotun vs. Messi, USMNT likes Orlando, and more.

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Colin Ziemer, The Mane Land

I know, it’s not Monday and you weren’t expecting me to be delivering your Lion Links, but that doesn’t matter right now because we have quite a bit to cover. It’s been a busy weekend, despite Orlando City not taking the field, so let’s get to it!

Pride Exit Playoffs

Sometimes there’s just too much to overcome, and that was the case for the Orlando Pride in their first playoff match. Playing against a team they’ve never defeated and traveling all the way across the country was going to be difficult regardless. Still, despite falling to the Portland Thorns, 4-1, this season can only be seen as a success for the Pride.

OCB Falls to NYRBII in Wild Game, 6-5

The young Lions had a shot at clinching a playoff spot with a win over New York Red Bulls II, but they fell behind 2-0 almost before some fans had found their seats. It was one of OCB’s poorest defensive performances ever, as the Lions fell behind by a 5-1 score at one point. However, Anthony Pulis’ side fought hard all night and kept coming, climbing back within a goal in what turned out to be a 6-5 home loss. Despite a record number of goals for an OCB game — including a penalty each way — and multiple substitutions, the referee decided just two minutes of stoppage time was plenty. That wasn’t great for an OCB team that scored in both the 91st and 92nd minutes.

Now the young Lions must beat Tampa Bay on Thursday and get help to reach the USL playoffs for a second straight season.

Kaká Wins Goal of the Week

In case you somehow missed it, Kaká’s stunning first goal against New England took home MLS Goal of the Week honors. That’s almost as good as when it won The Mane Land’s Goal of the Month award. So, if you’re one of those that got the vote out for the captain, well done. Here’s what it looked like:

Yotun vs. Messi

Orlando City supporters love what Peruvian Yoshimar Yotun has brought to the Lions’ midfield. He has brought passion, and skill since he arrived in Orlando. Yotun got the call up for Peru’s World Cup qualifier versus Argentina. All he had to do was contain Lionel Messi. As absurd as that might sound, that’s exactly what he did Thursday night against one of the best in the world. Yotun looked impressive in the 0-0 draw, and helped Peru get one step closer to the World Cup.

Orlando City Stadium is a Fortress

We’ve known what an advantage Orlando City Stadium, and the Wall can be during soccer matches. Now Bruce Arena and the USMNT know it as well. Arena stated that he’d love to come back to Orlando for the next cycle of qualifiers. Dax McCarty grew up in Central Florida, and even he was amazed at the level of support that U.S. fans provided the team in their win against Panama. Our Kevin Mercer will discuss this exact subject later today so give his ‘Our City’ column a look when it drops at noon ET.

USMNT Still Needs Improvement

The dominating 4-0 win by the USMNT over Panama has increased the chances that the Yanks make the World Cup to 93 percent. However, there is still work that needs to be done, especially if they do indeed go to Russia. Christian Pulisic and Bobby Wood may have amazed, but the defense still needs work, and the squad could use some more consistency. The good news is that they will probably have the chance to prove they can do more.

Free Kicks
  • The non-soccer world is taking notice of Christian Pulisic. First it was the 60 Minutes interview, and now The New Yorker is writing about the young superstar. We’ve known all of this for a while, but it’s nice everyone else is finding out about the lad.
  • Turns out Peyton Manning is a soccer dad. That’s actually pretty cool.
  • It seems we’ve got some competition when it comes to national anthem controversies. China is getting in on the action, and might not let spectators even enter the stadium to watch soccer matches if there are “boos.”
  • Famous people born today include: Bruno Mars (31), Nick Cannon (36), Matt Damon (46), Chevy Chase (73), Sigourney Weaver (67), and Jesse Jackson (75).
  • In honor of both the Lions and the Pride, I present White Lion’s song “Wait” off the album Pride. So much 80s goodness.

That’ll do it for your Sunday Lion Links. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I’m going to enjoy my day off, since I work Saturdays and that sucks.