Good morning, Lions! What a great soccer football weekend we had. Two expansion clubs debuted, we saw some surprising results, and, best of all, a win for the Lions — although a little bittersweet because of the Kaká injury. But let's get to it with today’s Lion Links.
Bendik, Spector, Larin Earn MLS Honors
With a clean sheet in Sunday’s win and several outstanding saves, Orlando City’s Joe Bendik made the MLS Team of the Week, an accolade he shared with the club’s new center back, Jonathan Spector. Orlando’s defense did its job against New York City FC, holding David Villa and Jack Harrison off the score sheet. In addition, goal scorer Cyle Larin made the TotW bench. Bendik also earned Front Row Soccer’s Player of the Week award for Week 1.
Orlando City Supporters Honor Pulse Victims, New Stadium
If you looked closely, you might have noticed a subtle tribute to the Pulse victims in Sunday’s tifo before Orlando City’s opener. The supporters of the Ruckus and Iron Lion Firm put together an enormous 120 by 60 foot banner that called out the club’s new home, featuring Aphrodite, Zeus, and Dionysus, with the saying “A Gift from the Gods.” Aphrodite’s hair was a rainbow, in tribute to the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shootings last year.
Deputy attacked in fight between OCSC and NYCFC fans
Although most of the Lions fans left the new home stadium happy and still excited after Sunday's win, there was a post-game incident that may have ended the night on a bit of a downer. An Orlando deputy was attacked while trying to break up an altercation between Orlando City and NYCFC fans, possibly while the latter were trying to steal a seat from our brand new building.
"Then they started attacking the cops. They got clothes-lined. He got slammed on the floor, and then it just became chaos," the witness said.
Orlando City No. 6 in ESPN’s MLS Power Rankings
You know the season is in full swing when various outlets start churning out their weekly MLS power rankings. In ESPN FC’s rankings, the Lions jumped eight spots to No. 6, by virtue of their win over New York City FC on Sunday. FC Dallas leads the pack, while the two expansion clubs sit at the bottom.
Interesting Name on Society XXI Wall
Either someone wanted their name deleted or someone might possibly have the unusual name of “Delete Name.” We’re not sure, but something seems amiss with one of the names on the Society XXI tribute wall, honoring the club’s original season ticket members at Orlando City Stadium.
Orlando City Rookie Danny Deakin Profiled by Detroit Free Press
Lions’ 2017 third-round SuperDraft selection Danny Deakin spent some time with Detroit City FC, and that town’s newspaper took notice when Orlando City signed the University of South Carolina standout to an MLS contract. The Free Press interviewed both Deakin and OCSC Head Coach Jason Kreis in this article spotlighting the talented young midfielder. What was truly interesting is what Kreis had to say about his young player.
“He looks comfortable on the ball and makes good decisions,” Kreis said. “He has the right energy and capacity for work. We go in thinking we’re trying to develop him. As of right now there’s no plan for him to be playing next weekend.”
“Fantastic left foot,” Kreis said. “Creative-minded midfielder who plays an excellent pass. There’s some tools there to work with.”
Kreis went on to talk about how the club signed him with an eye toward developing him into a first-team player for Orlando City.
Relive Opening Night in Three Minutes
There was a lot to take in during Sunday's season debut — the new stadium, new players, and a new season. Here is a short minute recap of the great ambiance we had on Sunday evening.
What an amazing week for us, Mane Landers! An amazing start to the season and some of our players receiving national acknowledgement. Let's hope the Lions keep it up.
Check back later today for more on Orlando City and we’ll have coverage of the USWNT wrapping up SheBelieves Cup action.