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Lion Links: 4/25/17

Orlando is nearing the top of MLS power rankings, more Lions are on MLS Team of the Week, Bendik’s up for Save of the Week, and more!

MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What a time to be alive, Mane Landers. Winning must be contagious. Orlando City started it, and then Orlando City B followed suit. The Orlando Pride only managed a draw, but Marta is here, so that feels like a win. The momentum is building, and the attention is starting to come.

Everybody loves a winner. But remember, it’s never as good as they say after a win, and it isn’t as bad as they say after a loss. Consistency is the key — we are in it for the long haul. With that being said, there is plenty of recognition to go around.

But first, we have to wish a happy 28th birthday to the man who once again finds himself in the running for MLS Save of the Week, Joe Bendik.

Now, on to the links.

Orlando City No. 2 in MLS Power Rankings

OCSC moved up to second in the latest MLS Power Rankings from ESPN FC, trailing only behind FC Dallas. It’s good to see our squad start to get some respect. Hopefully the Lions will be able to stay near the top.

Five Lions on MLS Team of the Week

It’s not surprising that Cyle Larin and Joe Bendik are back on the MLS Team of the Week for Week 8. But they were joined in the Starting XI by Donny Toia, while Will Johnson made the bench. On top of that, Head Coach Jason Kreis was also included after another win over his old club.

Hopefully this will inspire other players to keep this rolling so they can make their appearances on the Team of the Week regular occurrences. It’s a long season, so there is plenty of time for everyone to have their moment.

Vote Joe Bendik Save of the Week (Again)

Of course, Bendik’s save on David Villa in stoppage time was nominated for the MLS Save of the Week. It’s his birthday, so let’s show some love and make sure he wins by voting here. Voting doesn’t end until midnight Pacific on Wednesday, and you can vote once an hour.

Strong Defense Leading Orlando City

Benjamin Baer of MLSsoccer.com used the expected goal measure provided by Opta to show how strong Orlando City’s defense has been. Based on the numeric value associated with the shots against the Lions, OCSC had a 5.53 expected goal rate, which is expected number of goals scored against. OCSC has only conceded five goals.

It’s kind of early in the season to determine any kind of trend because there isn’t enough data. But the love is appreciated. The numbers can’t factor in context.

OCSC’s defense has been very strong early in the game. Teams don’t even get shots. But for some reason at the end of games, the Lions struggle. To their credit, they have been able to secure victories, but is it sustainable for the full season? As a fan, I’m struggling, so I can only imagine the players.

Will Parchman provided more good reading from the league’s official site, delving into why Kreis’ Lions are different than his RSL teams during his days in Salt Lake City.

Zlatan’s Injury May Ge Good News for MLS

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s season-ending knee injury may be good news for his MLS suitors. There were reports that Ibrahimovic was in negotiations with LAFC and LA Galaxy. Los Angeles FC seems like a good fit because they don’t need him to play until 2018, so there was talk of loaning him back to Manchester United. Now that he is injured, it’s expected that he won’t be ready until 2018, so it makes sense. But whether they are still offering the same money is the big question.

Well that’s it for today. Let’s keep riding the wave. Go Lions.