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Lion Links: 3/8/17

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Joe Bendik is back in familiar territory, the Pride are busy making moves, the USWNT falls hard, and The Mane Land dominates the airwaves.

MLS: New York City FC at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Wednesday’s edition of Lion Links. There is plenty of exciting news in today’s Links for Orlando fans.

Bendik Nominated for Save of the Week

You might as well just favorite the link in your phone or browser to #VoteJoe every week this season. Joe Bendik was back to his usual greatness on Sunday, keeping the Lions in the game on several occasions. So much so that he earned another Save of the Week nomination, an award that he dominated last season. Make sure to follow the link and reward him for his efforts this week. With the reinforcements added to the defense, Bendik and Orlando could be a tough team to break down this season, which would be a welcome change.

Orlando City B Preseason Preview

USLsoccer.com sized up this year’s OCB roster with the league picking up action at the end of the March. OCB will play games in Orlando’s new stadium this year, giving fans a great opportunity to watch future Orlando City stars. 2017 MLS SuperDraft pick Danny Deakin and Homegrown signing Pierre da Silva are two exciting players to watch develop for Orlando, and you can check out our full roster breakdown here. OCB begins the season with the I-4 Rivalry on March 25, away at the Tampa Bay Rowdies, and faces Louisville City FC for the home opener on March 30.

Pride Signings

The Pride continued preparation for the 2017 season by re-signing Steph Catley and Jamia Fields. The club also announced that it waived Lisa De Vanna’s contract. Catley returns to the Pride after winning the 2016 Australian W-League with Melbourne FC.

Pride Invest in the Future

Tuesday, the Pride announced plans for a funded Developmental Academy this year. The club will start four DA teams this year for players born between 1999 and 2005, and will hold an interest meeting on Sunday, March 12 at 1 p.m. ET. It is an exciting time for soccer in Central Florida.

The Mane Land Leader Speaks

If you can’t stop thinking about the excitement of last Sunday, The Mane Land’s own Michael Citro talked about Orlando’s historic opening match over at Feuerstein’s Fire. Of course, you can hear more of Michael’s velvety voice on The Mane Land’s Pawedcast throughout the season. In fact, a new episode drops this afternoon, featuring an exclusive interview with Orlando Pride forward Sarah Hagen.

Season-Opener TV Ratings

Sports TV Ratings posted the numbers for both Orlando City and Atlanta United’s season openers. The Lions managed to edge out the new kids — for what it’s worth. Not too shabby.

USWNT Flattened by France

After a disappointing late loss to England over the weekend, the USWNT took the pitch for its SheBelieves Cup finale needing a win to have a shot at the title. Instead, the U.S. was on the wrong end of a beatdown from the French, ending the night with a harsh 3-0 loss. France struck early and in devastating fashion on what was a night to forget for the U.S. women. The win clinched the tournament title for France.

Thank you for spending part of your Wednesday with us at The Mane Land. Make sure to get back soon and often, as Orlando City prepares to build on a great opening week to the season.


Help a Team in Need

As today is International Women’s Day, it’s a good time to highlight a women’s team in need. The Afghanistan women’s national soccer team continues to raise money to train and prepare for international play. Read their story and see how you can help.