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Lion Links: 11/19/17

USMNT future may be in Orlando, Pride W-League round-up, MLS coaching carousel, and more!

MLS: Montreal Impact at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Mane Landers, I hope you’re having a good weekend as we start to gear up for the holiday season. Today might as well be a holiday as Nov. 19 marks Orlando City’s MLS-iversary (name in progress). On this day in 2013, Orlando City was named as the 21st MLS franchise and, since then, we have seen some incredible football in our City Beautiful.

So, while it may sting that we haven’t seen our Lions in the playoffs, let’s take today to rejoice in the fact that we made it to MLS and don’t have to worry about fighting for a spot like Cincinnati, Nashville, or Detroit. Now, let’s get to some Lion Links!

Pride Players Continue to Shine in W-League

While the NWSL off-season continues, many players continue their campaigns over in the W-League in Australia. Round 4 has just finished up and the teams are starting to find their footing with four games already played. As many of you already know, the Orlando Pride have four players competing in the W-League and all have found their place with their Australian clubs.

This past weekend, Steph Catley and Alanna Kennedy were on the losing end of a 3-2 result as Melbourne City fell to Sydney FC, although Kennedy was able to “earn” a goal for her side by sending in a header that resulted in an own goal against Sydney.

Meanwhile in last night’s late night contests, Toni Pressley found the back of the net for the second straight week as she and Canberra United edged the Newcastle Jets 2-1 late last night. Rachel Hill’s hot streak continued as she scored a goal in the Perth Glory’s 3-1 win against the Melbourne Victory. After Round 4, Hill leads the W-League in both goals (six) and chances created (14).

If you missed out on this week’s W-League action, try to check it out next weekend in Round 5, when Catley and Kennedy face off against Hill and the Perth Glory on Nov. 25 at 12 a.m. ET.

USMNT Future May be Found in Orlando

While everything seems to be up in the air regarding the direction that should be taken for the USMNT after its shock exit from World Cup qualifying, the future of the national team will undoubtedly be in the hands of the current youth. Many players who are rising up the ranks of U-20 or U-18 teams are currently plying their trade in Europe but there are a couple of rising stars right here in Orlando that shouldn’t be overlooked. Both Tommy Redding and Pierre Da Silva have experience as “Baby Nats” and are steadily growing with Orlando City.

The MLS Coaching Carousel Keeps Spinning

With the sudden departure of Caleb Porter from the Portland Timbers, the MLS coaching scene has a new, and lucrative, vacancy. Steven Goff over at the Washington Post took the time to write up each and every coaching situation in MLS, highlighting the vacancies of Colorado and Portland while also weighing in on some of the new kids on the block like Brad Friedel and Bob Bradley. As for Orlando City, Jason Kreis was described as having “full support” from management and likely has a longer leash than most once the 2018 season kicks off.

Going back to Porter though, the move has left many scratching their heads as they try to figure out why Porter left Portland. Maybe he wants to make a run at the USMNT position. Or perhaps he has his eyes on a job overseas with a bigger club in a bigger league. Or maybe he will take “personal time off” from coaching and wait around to pounce on a good coaching opportunity here in the U.S. If Kreis has another bad year and that aforementioned “full support” starts to wane, then Porter may be the leading candidate should he want it.

NCAA Soccer Tournaments Continue

The 2017 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament continues into its second round today and a few Orlando City academy products will take the field.

  • Eli Lockaby and No. 16 VCU is set to play Butler at 5 p.m.
  • Michael Melvin of No. 8 Clemson will take on Coastal Carolina at 6 p.m.
  • Raul Aguilera and No. 3 UNC will play against North Carolina Wilmington at 7 p.m.
  • Landen Haig from No. 1 Wake Forest faces off with Columbia at 5 p.m., although our Mane Land academy expert Sean Rollins doesn’t expect Haig to play in this one.

Meanwhile, the 2017 NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament moves on to the third round. The UCF women have already been eliminated but there are still a couple teams from the Sunshine State to root for. Florida State, which has yet to concede a goal in the tournament, will take on Stanford, while the University of Florida will look to avenge UCF by beating the team that eliminated the Knights, Washington State University.

The Return of Zlatan

After battling a knee injury the past seven months, international superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovich took the field for Manchester United yesterday. The Swedish striker was subbed on late and didn’t impact the result but the crowd was all cheers as one of the game’s best returned to the pitch. After the game, Zlatan had some choice words when asked how he came back as quickly as he did.

This isn’t the first time he’s referred to himself as a lion. Now if we could only get him to call himself one in a contract.

Free Kicks

That’s all I’ve got for you guys today! Have a blessed Sunday, Mane Landers.