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Lion Links: 2/5/17

Orlando City wins big in preseason debut, tough W-League semifinal for Pride defender, OCB part of Video Assistant Referee trial, breaking down Morris’ USMNT goal, and more.

MLS: D.C. United at Orlando City SC
Why does the weekend have to end?
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Greetings, Mane Land readers. The season seems even closer now that Orlando City has played its first preseason match (more on that below). It’s great to have the lads in purple back on the pitch for competitive soccer action. The season will be here before you know it.

Before you start preparing for that big game of American football happening tonight, here’s what’s going on in the rest of the football (or is it soccer?) world.

Orlando City Thumps Jacksonville University, 5-0

Orlando City played its first preseason scrimmage against the Jacksonville University Dolphins yesterday afternoon, prevailing with a solid 5-0 win in a match that was closed to the public and media. But we’ve got you covered. The game featured goals from Jonathan Spector, Kaká, Cristian Higuita, Carlos Rivas, and Hadji Barry. Newcomer Spector scored the club’s first competitive goal of 2017 in the 18th minute, when a loose ball found his boot in the box.

Kaká found the back of the net in the 40th minute after Rafael Ramos cut into the box. Higuita came on as a sub and made an immediate impact with a right-footed shot 12 yards from goal. Rivas joined the goal party in the 67th minute after several threatening looks at goal. Eight minutes after Rivas’ goal, Barry curled a shot into the upper 90 from 20 yards out. Check out the highlights of the win:

Alanna Kennedy Suffers Own-Goal in Semifinal Loss

Orlando Pride defender Alanna Kennedy, currently playing for Sydney FC in Australia’s W-League, suffered an own-goal in a semifinal loss as Perth Glory beat Sydney FC, 5-1. The game got off to a good start for Sydney when Kyah Simon scored in the 23rd minute to gain the lead, but two goals either side of Kennedy’s own-goal guaranteed Perth control of this match-up. Perth will move on to play in the final either against Melbourne City or Canberra United. Note: those teams kicked off in the wee hours our time, after this story was submitted.

Breaking Down USMNT’s Goal Against Jamaica

The USMNT took the 1-0 win over the Reggae Boyz in a game that was largely frustrating to watch in the final third. Although the Yanks won in Bruce Arena’s second game of his second stint as manager, the goal Jordan Morris scored was a beauty. Benny Feilhaber found J-Mo, who gave the Yanks the lead after a beautiful slice pass from Dax McCarty. Give this a read and see the buildup that resulted in the game-winning goal.

OCB vs. OKC Energy Picked As Trial Game for Video Assistant Referee

The OCB preseason game against the OKC Energy on Feb. 28 in Bradenton, FL, is slated to be a trial game for the new Video Assistant Referee system. The VAR will allow an additional official to have access to every video feed to review potentially game-changing situations. Goals, penalty calls, direct red cards, and cases of mistaken identity are all allowed to be reviewed through the system. Fifteen of the 22 MLS clubs will be exposed to this technology in the preseason.

“These additional tests during preseason, as well as the offline tests during the beginning of the MLS regular season, will enable us to refine the experiment protocols and procedures prior to implementation in league matches,” MLS executive vice president of competition and player Relations Todd Durbin said in a statement released by the league.

Sacramento Republic FC Will Be the Future of MLS for the City

Sacramento Republic FC will be included in the bid for the MLS after the team released a statement. After speculation if Sacramento Republic was included in the city’s bid for an MLS team, this is a good sign for the fans of the club. Sacramento Republic FC is now the key to the expansion bid.

Thank you for reading this edition of the Links, and stay tuned for my first feature article debuting next week. In the meantime, give me a follow on Twitter to stay up to date with OCSC at: @bmulesports