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Lion Links: 5/28/17

Orlando City, Pride, and OCB all fall on the same night, academy prospects called up for national camp, heartwarming Gyasi Zardes story, and much more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Minnesota United FC Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Sunday! For many people this is usually this is a day of mixed’re off from work but have to work the next day. But with Memorial Day coming tomorrow, it’s like having an extra Saturday in your week.

Before we get into today’s Lion Links, let me announce that if you buy a 20% off ticket for Orlando City vs. D.C. United this Wednesday using our discount code, you will automatically be entered in a drawing to win a soccer ball signed by Lions captain Kaká. Good luck!

Now for today’s Links, and I apologize for all the bad news today. Please don’t shoot the messenger just because Orlando City SC accomplished the tripLe (capital L intentional) last night.

Lions Fall to the Loons (Yes, Seriously)

Orlando City is officially in a tailspin. The Lions have just two points to show for their last six games after a bright start to the season. Last night’s 1-0 loss at Minnesota United illustrates a lack of creativity and composure this team has shown in the final third this season. Rivas hit a goal post 1-v-1 with the keeper. Larin was denied from close range twice. Orlando had 20 shots but still rarely troubled Bobby Shuttleworth. The Lions get a few home matches to try to turn this around but I expect some players who are counted on to create offense to either start stepping up or be moved out in the next transfer window. Here’s the #content from the match:

Due to some technical issues last night, the player ratings got delayed and will hopefully be up later today or tomorrow. Check back later this morning for Mike Niemeier’s five takeaways from the match.

Pride’s Unbeaten Streak Snapped

Jasmyne Spencer struck first but the Orlando Pride conceded goals to Sam Kerr and Maya Hayes to fall at Sky Blue FC, 2-1. Orlando’s modest unbeaten streak comes to an end, as does a run of five of seven on the road to start the season. The Pride were undone by a lack of sharpness in the attack. Despite possessing 63% of the ball in the first half and getting forward repeatedly, the Pride could not threaten goal with the exception of Spencer’s tally.

OCB Dropped by Independence

Like the Pride, Orlando City B struck first on Saturday night. Pierre Da Silva set up an Albert Dikwa goal to put the young Lions ahead. But Charlotte scored on its only two shot attempts of the first half to grab a lead just before the break. The Independence tacked on another early in the second half and it was all over for OCB, which entered the game with three straight clean sheets but may have been rusty after playing only once in four weeks. Charlotte left town with a 3-1 victory and its first ever road win over OCB.

Orlando City Prospects Called Up for National Camp

Two prospects from Orlando City’s academy — both defenders — have been called up to the U.S. Soccer Futures Camp at the USSF National Training Center in Carson, CA. The USSF has called in 64 players who were born in 2002 and 2003, including defenders Jahlane Forbes and Omar Wahba — both on the 2002 squad. Forbes and Wahbe are two of the eight defenders called into the 2002 squad. According to U.S. Soccer:

Players taking part in this camp will be exposed to a hyper-focused curriculum formulated around highlighting each player’s unique talents while challenging them to improve decision making and speed of play, raise tactical awareness, and improve technical execution.

Orlando City’s academy has a bright future in the talent-rich state of Florida and these are two more players to keep an eye out for in the future. The camp began Friday and concludes on Tuesday.

Free Kicks
  • U.S. international Christian Pulisic drew the penalty that led to the game winner as Dortmund won the German Cup, 2-1 over Eintracht Frankfurt. Pulisic is the second U.S. international to win the German Cup.
  • Brendan Rodgers became the third Celtic manager in history to win the Scottish treble, with yesterday’s 2-1 victory over Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup. Rodgers joins Jock Stein and Martin O'Neill.
  • This story about Gyasi Zardes helping kids in his old ‘hood is outstanding.
  • Among those born on this date are Jim Thorpe (1888), James Bond creator Ian Fleming (1908), basketball’s Jerry West (1938), Rudy Giuliani (1944), Gladys Knight (1944), John Fogerty (1945), punk rocker Wendy O. Williams (1949), hockey’s Mark Howe (1955), baseball’s Kirk Gibson (1957), Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison (1963), Kylie Minogue (1968), former Survivor star and talk show host Elisabeth Hasselbeck (1977), football’s Percy Harvin (1988), Swansea City midfielder Tom Carroll (1992), and Manchester City defender John Stones (1994).

That’s all my time for this fine Sunday second Saturday morning. I’ll be spending most of the day watching auto racing, as is my tradition, and drinking to forget Orlando City’s performance — also my tradition. Enjoy the rest of your Memorial Day weekend and start getting ready for Wednesday’s Orlando City match vs. D.C. United.