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Lion Links: 4/23/17

Orlando Pride tie Washington Spirit, Orlando City looks for road success, Alex Morgan close to Champions League final, Kaká’s birthday gift, and more.

Colin Ziemer, The Mane Land

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers! It seems that Orlando City's various teams are making it a little bit of a trend to score important goals late. Last weekend there were two late goals for Orlando City and OCB. Yesterday, the Pride joined the club by tying up their game 1-1 against the Washington Spirit. However, the Pride aren't the only ones making news. Let's take a look at what else is happening in the world of Orlando City and beyond.

Orlando Pride Tie Washington Spirit in Marta's Debut

The wait finally ended as we got to see the five-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta play for the Pride for the first time. She came on in the 59th minute just minutes before the Washington Spirit bagged a goal on a corner. The goal had nothing to do with Marta and she actually did very well. It was clear to see her class, which should show even more in the coming games. The Pride didn't give up though and ended up tying it in the 87th minute off a moment of brilliance from forward Danica Evans. The Pride have now lost one and and drawn one in two to start off the season. It's not a great start, but considering that Marta has just arrived and Alex Morgan should be coming back at some point in the season, there is still a degree of optimism from Pride fans.

And check back later this morning for more from the Pride’s home opener.

Orlando City Looking to Bring Home Success on the Road

So far this season between Orlando City, Orlando City B, and Orlando Pride the teams have won exactly the same amount of road games as me. So whether you want to give me credit or disparage the team, it's not a great record. This weekend Orlando City will take on New York City FC on the road in only the club’s second away game, and Jason Kreis definitely sees the significance of a first road win.

“For me, that’s the mark, that’s kind of the next level of teams,” Kreis said. “For us to show the next level of who we are and the next level of our maturity and experience is to be able to string together a performance and get a result on the road.”

Of course, the Lions did beat NYCFC in the home opener, but anything can happen on that awful, narrow foosball table they call a soccer field in New York.

Kaká Gets a Birthday Egging

Soccer is such an intense game that it's great to see the players’ lives off the pitch and how they have fun together. Birthday celebrations are just one part of team bonding and Kaká has celebrated his birthday in style. You’ve probably heard of birthday punches. Well Orlando City, a team that always strives for excellence, did him one better by bombarding him with eggs.

Alex Morgan and Lyon One Step from Champions League Final

Women's soccer fans around the world were immediately excited when it was announced that Manchester City would take on Lyon in the semifinals of the Champions League. This is because USWNT stars Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan would be going up against each other. Any true Pride fan would be rooting for Alex Morgan to triumph against Manchester City on a big stage. So far, it's going well for Morgan as Lyon beat Man City, 3-1, in the first leg.

Orlando to Host 2017 NWSL Final

Speaking of Alex Morgan and championship finals, wouldn’t it be nice if the Orlando Pride could make a run at the NWSL final this season? Yesterday, the league announced that Orlando City Stadium would host the NWSL championship match for 2017 on Oct. 14. The Pride have a lot of work to do to make the top four and reach the postseason for the first time, but if they can, they could conceivably play in front of their own fans in the final.

The 2017 U-17 CONCACAF Championship Begins

It's always great to see what's going on with our national team's youth program. I feel it gives us a glimpse of the future teams and whether or not we are taking steps in the right direction. Yesterday, the U-17 CONCACAF Championship kicked off. Perhaps Bruce Arena's 2026 World Cup prediction has put a bit of pressure on the team to perform. On the other hand, the players might not even know of the comments from Arena but it definitely should keep U.S. soccer fans’ eyes on the youth squads. Their first game of the tournament takes place today against Jamaica at 1:30 p.m. The game can be seen via Facebook Live on the CONCACAF account.

I hope you enjoyed today's Lion Links. Make sure to enjoy to enjoy the game today and get those DVRs ready to tape Él Clásico. Go Lions!