Happy Friday, everyone! Let’s make sure you kick your weekend off the right way with a few Lion Links. But before we dive into those, take a look at this short video on our beloved captain’s return from injury. Now to the Links!
Kaká Still Passionate for the Game
Despite an aging body and difficulties with injury, Kaká is still showing he has a strong love for the game of soccer. Encouraged by fans, coaches, and teammates, Kaká continues to fight off injuries and return to the pitch to do what he does best. His first goal of the season came in stoppage time on April 29, in Orlando’s 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids.
"Of course, there's a lot of targets for a game: the win, three points, the playoffs and a lot of things," he said. "But my real motivation is to do something that I really love. When I score a goal like that after a tough situation, I want to show everybody how I love the game, how I love to be there and have these emotions."
Lions Find Defensive Depth
The recent 1-1 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes was not only an away point for City, but a very successful debut for two Brazilian defenders. Victor “PC” Giro and Leo Pereira were both praised by manager Jason Kreis after their performances. Both could be possible answers for much needed defensive depth as the season wears on.
“I thought they were both spectacular,” Orlando coach Jason Kreis said of the duo. “That’s probably one of the things that makes me the happiest about this performance is we’ve gained, basically, two players. … We didn’t know for sure whether they would be able to contribute at this level and I think they both proved tonight that they’re quite capable of it.”
Orlando Learns Possible U.S. Open Cup Opponents
Major League Soccer teams are starting to learn their possible opponents for the fourth round of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Since match-ups are decided by proximity, Orlando is set to face either Miami FC or the Tampa Bay Rowdies, both lower division teams. The round is set to start on June 14.
Brek Shea doing well in Vancouver
Former Orlando City defender/midfielder Brek Shea is off to a decent start for his new team, especially in his new attacking positions. He has scored in back-to-back substitute appearances for the Whitecaps, and has played as both striker and winger. However, Shea is just coming off of a knee injury suffered in April, and is still not fully fit.
"He's scored two goals in 40-odd minutes the last two games he's played. It's nice to have him back. He brings a freshness around the place. When he's fit, and raring to go, and he's confident, then there's not a better player in the league in that position."
United States U-20 Injury Concerns
After winning its first ever CONCACAF qualifying tournament in March, the United States U-20 National team is now in South Korea, before its opening World Cup game on Monday against Ecuador. There are plenty of questions still remaining for this squad, especially with a plethora of its best players not available, including Christian Pulisic. With serious holes in the squad, second choice players will need to step up if the U.S. is to have any chance of winning.
The starting lineup will likely change slightly throughout the group stage but my prediction is a 4-2-3-1 formation with these players.
Goalkeeper: Jonathan Klinsmann
Right back: Aaron Herrera
Central defender: Erik Palmer-Brown
Central defender: Tommy Redding
Left back: Danny Acosta
Holding/defensive midfielder: Derrick Jones
Holding/defensive midfielder: Tyler Adams
Right midfielder: Brooks Lennon
Central midfielder: Gedion Zelalem
Left midfielder: Luca de la Torre
Forward: Josh Sargent
What did you think about the debuts of PC and Pereira? Does the U-20 squad have enough depth to be successful? Let us know in the comments below, and enjoy the weekend!