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Lion Links: 3/26/17

The I-4 Derby doesn’t go as planned, the USMNT loses four more players to injury, Scott Sutter adapting quickly, Orlando Pride win their second preseason friendly, and more.

Soccer: Men's World Cup Soccer Qualifier-Honduras at USA Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. It's been a whole month and Orlando City still has only played two games but that doesn't mean the news is slow. As always, we bring the most important news from the world of Orlando City.

Orlando City B loses 1-0 to Tampa Bay Rowdies in Season Opener

The I-4 Derby saw a record attendance of 7,710 in Al Lang Stadium, the home of the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Unfortunately, the visitors from Orlando came out on the losing side, 1-0, something they definitely aren't used to. In fact, this is actually the first time the Tampa Bay Rowdies have won the I-4 Derby in seven matches. Of course it’s not the best way to start the new campaign, but there was at least one positive. The performance from young goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. was very encouraging — so much that it seems that he could put in some Bendikesque performances throughout the season. Unfortunately, this can also be spun as a negative. The way OCB played the young Lions might need the real Joe Bendik just to stay in games.

USMNT Hit With More Injuries in Honduras Win

Friday’s 6-0 win against Honduras seemed to have marked a new era for the USMNT. It was the (re)start of the Bruce Arena era. Even though Arena already had already coached a few matches, this was his first official competitive match and the stakes were very high. The match was part of the last round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers known as the Hex. The U.S. had sat in last place out of six teams with a horrendous goal difference. Friday night it all changed as the U.S. destroyed Honduras, 6-0. This win was a much-needed confidence booster, especially because of the key players that weren’t in action due to injury — including Fabian Johnson, Deandre Yedlin, and Bobby Wood.

Now Arena has even more problems to deal with as there have been four new additions to the injury list. These newly injured players include John Brooks, Sebastian Lletget, Jordan Morris, and Michael Orozco. They will not be playing in the USMNT’s next match away at Panama on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see how Arena deals with such important players out, but judging by Friday’s game, the team should be able to adjust. Midfielder Paul Arriola will come in as a replacement for the upcoming game. It is expected that there will be more to follow.

Scott Sutter Fitting in Quickly at Orlando City

Anytime a player joins a team there is an expected adjustment period. This is especially the case when a player comes from a foreign country to a league he has never played in. These attributes describe Scott Sutter perfectly. Yet there is a general consensus that his adjustment period will be a very soft one. Orlando City Head Coach Jason Kreis seemed to sum it up pretty well in this quote.

“He’s spent a lot of time in the game and he’s been quite a few different places, so to be here with us, I think, is not a big adjustment for him. He’s fitting in quite well.”

Orlando Pride Defeat USF 2-1 in Preseason Friendly

In the Orlando Pride’s second preseason friendly they defeated the University of South Florida, 2-1. Orlando’s goals were scored by Chioma Ubogagu and Carol Rodrigues. This one-goal win was very different from the 9-0 win in their first game, yet it is still a positive result. Hopefully the Pride can continue this winning streak on Wednesday at 4 p.m. against the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Use of Flares at Soccer Match Censured by the Albanian Federation

On Friday, Italy took on Albania in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in Palermo. The match had to be stopped due to flares thrown on the field by an Albanian extremist group. These actions have now been condemned by the Albanian Federation. Though they have denounced the actions, it remains to be seen what actions they take to stop such actions in the future. The use of flares can be a big health issue, as best displayed in the 2016 Euros. What Albania has done here is a step, but it should hopefully just be the first on a much bigger staircase. That remains to be seen. Do you think there are any extra measures that should be taken to prevent flares from getting into stadiums?

That’s it for your Sunday helping of Lion Links. It’s another game week for Orlando City and OCB, and the Pride have two friendlies between now and next Sunday, so keep it right here for all the news you need from Lion Nation.