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Lion Links: 5/5/17

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Orlando City game-worn jerseys up for auction, Pride coming together, Mallory Pugh up for grabs, and more!

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

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone. Let’s start the day by wishing a happy birthday to Orlando City defender Kevin Alston, who turned 29 today. A busy week for the Lions means plenty of links, so welcome to this Friday edition of Lion Links.

Auction for Game-Worn OCSC Jerseys

Have you always wanted to own a piece of game-worn memorabilia from your favorite Orlando City star? Well now is your chance! The Orlando City Foundation is holding an auction for authentic signed, game-worn jerseys. Among the jerseys being auctioned are Joe Bendik, Servando Carrasco, and Giles Barnes. Open up those checkbooks and bid on a piece of history. Auctions end May 10 at 11:59 p.m.

Study Shows How Orlando Can Make Playoffs

Students from Columbia University decided to do a study on what Major League Soccer teams below the playoff line last season could do in order to improve. Groups of students were assigned different MLS teams, and were told to figure out what could be done to get them into the playoffs for the next season. The group assigned Orlando City was decided as the winner; its study showed that a struggling defense was to blame.

“It was clear that players such as David Mateos, Seb Hines and Jose Aja were underperforming and that Jonathan Campbell and Walker Zimmerman were among the best center backs in MLS in 2016.

“One other player they highlighted as a player to target just happened to be Will Johnson, who they had as the 16th-best midfielder in MLS last year. Of course, Orlando acquired the Canadian international in real life and he has more than lived up to his billing.”

“With these acquisitions, and some key subtractions, the team estimated based on the attributes of their new additions that their team would improve by five points for the 2017 season, giving them a better chance of getting above the red line.”

Pride Players Sense a Breakthrough on the Horizon

Members of the Orlando Pride opened up about how they are feeling before the upcoming match against FC Kansas City on Sunday. The team is off to a slow start this season, and is still searching for its elusive first win after three matches. Check out the video:

USWNT Phenom Mallory Pugh Headed to the Pride?

Unfortunately it seems unlikely, but there is still a slight possibility. United States Women’s National Team star Mallory Pugh has decided to skip playing in college, and is instead turning professional. It is a really messy situation, with the Washington Spirit being the front runner for her signature, despite Pugh specifically mentioning she would rather not play in Washington. Her preference is to go to the Portland Thorns, but if neither team can come to an agreement, it is possible for her services to end up in Orlando or elsewhere.

Free Kicks

That’s it for this Friday’s edition of Lion Links. Don’t forget to join us tomorrow for pregame and post-game coverage of City’s clash with the Houston Dynamo.