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Lion Links: 4/30/17

Orlando City stays perfect at home, Pride face defending champs, Ashlyn Harris’ frustrations, and more.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the final day of April, 2017, Mane Landers. It’s a great time to be an Orlando City fan and maybe not the best of times to be an Orlando Pride fan, but Tom Sermanni will get his team sorted out after playing last year’s Shield winners and two of the teams that reached the 2016 NWSL final — with two of those three games on the road.

In the meantime, let’s revel in our 6-1-0 Lions and their perfect home record. Orlando faced a stubborn defense-oriented team in the afternoon heat and after wearing them down for more than half the game, Jason Kreis brought on two super subs in Carlos Rivas and Kaká, which changed the entire game. Incredibly smart move on the gaffer’s part, I’d say.

Let’s get to your Sunday helping of all-you-can-eat Lion Links.

Perpetually Perfect at the Purple Palace

The Colorado Rapids were time wasting in the 50th minute of a 0-0 game. That’s a thing that actually happened. Rapids soccer is anything but. Colorado did what it had to do. It took the air out of the ball, defended, and frustrated the Lions for more than half the game. The Rapids didn’t just park the bus. They put boots on all the wheels, ripped out the engine, and set the bus on fire.

It still didn’t work.

The Lions relied on the fresh (and fast) legs of Carlos Rivas, who sent a rocket past Zac MacMath to open the scoring. Kaká added insurance late, and here we are at 6-1-0 and at the top of the table. Here’s more from yesterday’s win:

And check back later this morning for Austin David’s five takeaways from the game. Sorry, no photo gallery this time out.

Pride Swallowed by Courage

The North Carolina Courage only seem like a new team. In fact, they’re a better version of the team that won the NWSL last year as the Western New York Flash. Yesterday, they served up a 3-1 loss to the Pride in North Carolina — a result that marred Camila’s first NWSL goal. As you can see in the video highlights embedded in Dan Garza’s recap, there were opportunities for the Pride to score more goals.

Harris Sounds Off After Pride Loss

An unhappy Ashlyn Harris went off after the match. The captain was spitting fire with her remarks.

“At this level, when you get opportunities to score you have to put the ball away. I think we just kept bowling forward and we weren’t using the discipline to get back and defend. It was a game of transition, and that’s not good enough. We have to work on discipline to get forward and discipline to get back, because defense wins games. [The Courage] broke through way too many times. I don’t care what people say: ‘Oh, they’re fast, they’re athletic, they’re whatever.’ It’s not good enough. For me, my job is to show up and make a few saves to change the game. But every game I can’t stand on my head and pull saves out of my behind. I need more from certain players, and I’m not getting it. Each week it’s tough because you demand a certain standard and when you don’t get that it’s very frustrating.”

Harris’ frustration is understandable, but the third Courage goal doesn’t happen if she doesn’t turn it over in her own end. Remember kids, when you point a finger, three are pointing back at you. This one about newly arrived Marta was a bit unwarranted, I think.

Marta is not a game changer?

“Yeah, she’s a game changer,” Harris responded. “But if she’s not putting the ball in the back of the net, she’s not doing much for me.”


Orlando City Stadium: a Celebration

This story from the Tampa Bay Times is dated Friday but it is basically a nice look at Orlando City’s home opener back on March 5. Give it a read to relive the day through the eyes of some of Orlando’s newest soccer fans. The piece was extremely complimentary toward the new Orlando City Stadium.

Constructed specifically for soccer and privately financed, Orlando City Stadium looks like it was plucked out of West London and dropped here. With the low, slanted roof line covering most of the seats and adding to the festive atmosphere, you'd half expect Arsenal or Everton to come charging out of the tunnel. And with a capacity just over 25,000, it's Major League Soccer's largest soccer-specific arena.

It also features the league's only safe-standing supporters section — a standing-room-only area at the north end of the stadium that can hold up to 6,000 of the team's most passionate fans.

Atlanta United Training Facility Tour

Here’s a video tour of Atlanta’s gorgeous new training facility with former OCSC GM Paul McDonough. Orlando City will be building its new training ground in Lake Nona but that’s not yet underway. It’ll be nice to have such a nice recruiting tool when it finally opens.

Take the virtual tour:

That’s it from me. I’m spent. And I’d better get over it quickly because Orlando City is back at it Wednesday night in Toronto. Get some rest, everyone. Enjoy your Sunday.