Happy Saturday, folks who read our website. I’m glad you survived the food and the relatives on Thursday, and the stores on Friday, and made it to the weekend. As mentioned in Lion Links yesterday, we’ve made it three years on SB Nation after starting as an independent WordPress blog and we are thankful to those who gave us the opportunity to be part of the SBN network as the site bringing you Orlando City news, opinion, and analysis. There was some competition for the spot and hopefully they’re (and you’re) happy with what we’ve been doing.
This, by the way, is the 1,151st story I’ve written for TML since we moved to SB Nation, so I’ve put a lot of words together for you folks over the last three years and I hope at least a few of those sentences were coherent.
Now back to your regularly scheduled Lion Links, already in progress.
Giles Barnes on Homelessness, Kaká, and More
Hugo Greenhalgh of Planet Football caught up with Giles Barnes and the former (and possibly returning?) Lion touched on a variety of subjects, including how he got the Giles Barnes Foundation up and going to fight homelessness — especially for children — as well as how he nearly didn’t answer the phone call that ended up bringing him to the U.S. to play. He had a few things to say about playing with Kaká — the man he replaced to make his Orlando City debut — and he even indicated his time in Orlando may not yet be done.
“Football’s a funny game,” he says. “Opportunities are always there, it’s about making the right choice now for me – I’m just keeping all my options open right now. Maybe I’m in Orlando, maybe I’m not, but it’s going to be a fun journey for sure.”
More Details on Orlando City Stadium’s “Tap and Go” System
It was a bit disappointing to me the other day when Orlando City announced its extended partnership with Ticketmaster. I saw several tweets about it being met with nothing but cynicism or snarky remarks by people who probably hadn’t read the story or possibly who didn’t fully grasp it. Alicia DelGallo from the Orlando Sentinel dove deeper into the news which is pretty interesting, actually.
The frustration of hand scanners should become a thing of the past, as the club prepares to roll out a system more like those used in some stores for credit cards or the one utilized by Disney annual pass holders. I have personally spoken to Orlando City Chief Revenue Officer Chris Gallagher about the system and can confirm DelGallo’s report that he’s really stoked about it.
Gallagher said the new “tap and go” technology can be compared to what stores now use for credit card payments or Disney’s entry system minus the fingerprint recognition.
“Think of a flat surface and a screen looking up, that’s where you tap and that screen will give you the green light or red light to go in,” Gallagher said. “We’ll probably program the screen to say, ‘Welcome to Orlando City’ or whatever it may be.”
The other end of the extended partnership that excites me is the Live Nation concert addition. It’ll be great to have more events in our new palace.
Alanna Kennedy Talks About Defending
For the Orlando Pride, Alanna Kennedy plays in the midfield, but for her native Australia she’s become a fixture on defense. Kennedy discussed her transition to defense on the Matildas’ website.
“When I was younger I was always a midfielder. That’s something that a lot of people don’t know about me.
“I naturally am a midfielder – I’m not actually a defender. It’s just something that happened,” she told [the site].
Kennedy and her Aussie mates will square off against China again on Sunday in Geelong in the second of two quick meetings. That set of matches affected another Pride player, as forward Rachel Hill started at center forward for Perth Glory last night, instead of on the wing, because Sam Kerr is with the Matildas. Hill scored, but Perth lost, 3-2, to Toni Pressley’s Canberra United.
San Jose Fills Head Coach Vacancy with Mikael Stahre
The Earthquakes have hired Swedish-born Mikael Stahre as head coach following their search to permanently replace Dominic Kinnear, who was fired in June. The club made the hiring official on Friday. Stahre is an interesting hire, as he’s got 11 years of experience but all of it has come in Sweden, Greece, and China. Most recently, Stahre was at Swedish top-flight side BK Hacken, where he led the team to a 14-6-10 record and a fourth-place finish in the league. He is the second Swedish manager in MLS history (Hans Backe, NYRB 2010-2012). I’m not sure this is exactly a hiring at the Tata Martino level but we’ll see how it works out for San Jose.
NASL Ship Continues to Sink
The latest rat to jump off the sinking NASL ship is FC Edmonton. The Canadian side announced yesterday that it is leaving the league and ceasing professional soccer operations. Word is that Edmonton is waiting on the Canadian Premier League to jump back into the pro soccer pool.
- The MLS website has put together some deals you might be interested in with their 2017 gift guide. And don’t forget our 15% off sale goes on through Monday using code SBNCYBER15.
- Monday is Contract Decision Day in Major League Soccer and a lot of teams have some decisions to make. Orlando City is one of four teams to have already made its decisions.
- This will warm Taylor Twellman’s heart: a study was commissioned to research whether soccer players are at risk for degenerative brain disease. Initial results of the study should be available in two to three years.
- The NWSL put together a video of the best header goals of 2017 and Orlando Pride midfielder Alanna Kennedy has a couple beauties included.
- Among those born on this date are hockey’s Eddie Shore (1902), Joe DiMaggio (1914), Ricardo Montalban (1920), Joe Gibbs (1940), John Larroquette (1947), Bucky Dent (1951), Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery (1959), John F. Kennedy Jr. (1960), Chip Kelly (1963), football’s Bernie Kosar (1963) and Cris Carter (1965), Christina Applegate (1971), Donovan McNabb (1976), and Xabi Alonso (1981).
That’s all the time I’ve got for you today. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!