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Lion Links: 5/4/17

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Orlando City kicks off its road trip, Larin becoming the face of Canadian soccer, another award for Bendik, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Toronto FC John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

May the fourth be with you all. All right, I got my somewhat Star Wars reference out and now on to seize the day. Welcome to Thursday’s edition of Lion Links.

Orlando City Plays Well but Drops Tough Away Game

Orlando City suffered only its second loss of the season on the road in Toronto last night. Despite owning the possession and out-passing the Reds, Sebastian Giovinco staked the hosts to a 2-0 lead. Kaká helped the Lions climb back in it just before the half with his second goal in as many games. Orlando City dominated the game after the break, but couldn’t cash in on its chances. Here’s our coverage of the match:

And check back later this morning for Scott Crumbly’s five takeaways from the game.

Larin Becoming the Face of Canadian Soccer

Cyle Larin is well on his way to becoming the face of Orlando City SC and in some respects may already be at that point; but equally important for Larin is the fact that he is becoming the face of Canadian soccer. With his three-year trend of getting better and better for the Lions, Larin is a noted player on many organizations’ watch list. What goes unnoticed is that he has also become the best, must-see player in Canada.

Larin was asked by the interviewer what he thought has led to Orlando’s success early in the season:

“Were working well together and it took time. In preseason we had a hard time but when season started we came together... we fight a lot and were going to get better with the more games we play.”

How proud are you to represent Canada and are paving the way for the next generation?

“I’m very proud. I keep trying to accomplish things... I want the sport to grow here and I think it will and I want the national team to keep getting better and better.”

Bendik Named MLS Player of the Month

Joe Bendik has won MLS Player of the Month and now we can only hope that the rest of the league is taking notice of the happenings in Florida.

Bendik made 17 saves in the month, including seven in a 2-1 win at New York City FC and five in a 2-1 home victory over the LA Galaxy. He finished second in Save of the Week voting for his denial of David Villa’s stoppage-time effort that would have equalized the game.

Maybe be a kind person and send the man a congratulatory tweet — @Jtbendik.

U.S. U-17s Dominate Honduras

A brace from captain Josh Sargent helped lead the United States U-17 National Team to a dominating 3-0 victory over Honduras on Wednesday. Sargent and company have now all but earned there way into the World Cup with the victory and now look forward to a game on Friday against Cuba.

Josh Sargent bagged a brace, his fourth and fifth goals of the tournament, leading the way in a 3-0 win in Wednesday’s classification stage match. With the win, the U.S. equals Honduras on three points ahead of the group finale against Cuba. Honduras, though, will finish on those three points after topping Cuba, 7-1, in their opener.

Orlando City Development Academy Keeps Winning

The Orlando City Development Academy’s U-17/18 program has picked up its 22nd win on the season.

The Orlando City Development Academy U-17/18s picked up their 22nd win of the season Saturday riding goals from Joe Gallardo, Raul Aguilera, Juan Hernandez and David Loera.

“I’m proud of the boys,” Academy Director and U-17/18s head coach David Longwell said. “They played excellent soccer against a very good IMG team.”

Free Kicks
  • David Villa earned a fun little hashtag from his NYCFC team yesterday: #FromDayOne started to become a trend after Villa signed a one-year contract extension. This is good news for the club and the league as a whole.
  • Francesco Totti, a legend for Roma (Serie A) and Italy, has announced he’ll retire at the close of the season. The 40-year-old has had an unbelievable career that most would salivate at the thought of having. It truly will be a farewell to a legend in the Italian ranks.
  • If you are a fan of the English Football League, the second division of England Football, then you are in luck as the league will launch a streaming service for fans across the pond.
  • Vote for ATT Goal of the Week for MLS here.

That is all from me this week, if you want more from my mind check me out on twitter: @awesomeniemeier.