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Lion Links: 3/29/17

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Jason Kreis is trusting those he knows, Pride release updated preseason roster, Messi in trouble, and much more!

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Orlando City SC Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

Good day to you, Mane Landers. You may be running on a little less sleep if you stayed up late to watch the USMNT last night. If so, start this day off right by grabbing some coffee and catching up on all the latest Links. Let’s get to it!

USMNT Draws at Panama, 1-1

The U.S. drew first blood on a Clint Dempsey goal off a Christian Pulisic assist but the hosts equalized four minutes later in a 1-1 draw in Panama. It was a hard-fought point for the Yanks, who are in a much better position after four Hex matches than they were after two. After Friday’s 6-0 beatdown of Honduras, USMNT fans hoped their side could move up with another win but a makeshift defense didn’t do Tim Howard any favors on a long throw-in and the referee wasn’t interested in penalizing Panamanian players for practicing their WWE moves on Pulisic, Dempsey, and others. [/CONCACAF’d]

Spector’s Transition Back to the U.S.

Jonathan Spector talked with his old mates back in Birmingham about his new team and surroundings in Orlando. Spector was the longest-serving member of Birmingham City FC when he left the club in January. In the article, Spector talked about wanting to be closer to home and family at the end of his career as his motivation for the move from England. Spector said he would have liked to leave Birmingham at the end of a season, but the MLS schedule meant he needed to leave in the January transfer window.

Kreis Bringing Familiar Faces to Orlando

Head Coach Jason Kreis is following a trend when it comes to acquiring new players for Orlando City. Alicia DelGallo wrote about the three players out of nine who Kreis brought in with previous experience playing under him, accounting for 33% of the moves. This observation adds even more fuel to the rumors of a potential move for Luis Gil, who played for Kreis at RSL but now plays in Liga MX for Querétaro. The move makes sense for Orlando with Kreis’ familiarity with the player and the club’s need for attacking depth amid early season injuries.

Pride Announce Latest Preseason Roster

The Pride trimmed their roster to 25 players yesterday. Alex Morgan and McKenzie Berryhill are not listed on the roster as Morgan is on loan to Lyon and Berryhill has not yet been medically cleared to play. Trialists Amanda Kopale (GK), Lorina White (D), and Kim Reynolds (F) are no longer on the Pride preseason roster. Of the 25 players, the club still has four trialists on the roster, along with two college draft picks. The Pride play a closed-door game today against the University of Florida and again on Saturday against Florida State University. The club opens 2017 NWSL play away at Portland on April 15.

Goalkeeping It in the Family

In Pride- and OCB-related news, Pride keeper Aubrey Bledsoe’s brother, Micah Bledsoe, signed a contract with Louisville City FC as a reserve goalkeeper this week. Coincidentally, Louisville travels to Orlando to face OCB this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. There is still a third Bledsoe goalkeeper in the family. Amber Bledsoe was a goalkeeper for Brown University.

Lletget Really is Injured

This took a turn for the worse. Monday, the LA Galaxy announced that Sebastian Lletget sustained only an ankle sprain after leaving Friday’s U.S. Men’s National Team game against Honduras. But it turns out that Tuesday brought some bad news. The Galaxy announced that Lletget sustained a Lisfranc injury and will miss four to six months of action after he has surgery. A truly sad misunderstanding, for both club and country.

Messi Punished for Referee Abuse

Argentina will be without soccer’s most electric player until Oct. 10. FIFA handed Lionel Messi a four-match ban along with a fine for insulting a linesman during Argentina’s 1-0 win over Chile. The news is shrouded in controversy because it is reported that Chile sought the ban. The bad news was compounded for La Albiceleste as a Messi-less Argentina lost to Bolivia, 2-0, on Tuesday night.

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your morning. As we lead up to Orlando City’s third game of the year, make sure to follow The Mane Land for all your OCSC news and happenings.