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Lion Links: 7/1/17

Orlando City gets a road win, scouting the Chicago Red Stars, two Pride players make NWSL team of the month, and much more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Saturday, Mane Landers!

It’s always nice to start the weekend with a win, so then you can sit back and watch soccer for a couple of days without having to worry about your team, as (hopefully) the teams around Orlando City in the standings drop points.

Meanwhile, the Pride and OCB will both be home today for a double-header. Both teams won their last game on the road. Let’s hope they bring that success back to Orlando City Stadium with them. If that wasn’t enough for you, the USMNT are going to take on Ghana in a friendly at 4:45 p.m.

Before we get started, let’s wish Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni a happy birthday. Hopefully his team will gift him three points.

Orlando City Gets First Win over RSL, 1-0

Will Johnson scored in the first half and the Lions defended ferociously for 93 minutes. As a result, Orlando City will come home from Salt Lake City with three precious points. The back line played great and Cyle Larin looked threatening at times in his return from suspension. Here’s all the #content you need from the match:

And tune in later today for Dave Rohe’s five takeaways from the game.

Chicago Red Stars Will Pose a Challenge For the Pride

The Chicago Red Stars are coming off a midweek 2-1 loss to the Seattle Reign, but that doesn’t tarnish the great season they’ve had. The Red Stars currently sit in second place and it’s hard to find a hole in their team. They’re strong at the back and the front with multiple talented players such as USWNT stars Alyssa Naeher, Julie Ertz and Christen Press. Luckily, the Pride have a few of their own international stars with Alex Morgan poised to make her first appearance for the season. Get to know the Red Stars.

Two Pride Players Feature in Team of the Month

It’s a little frustrating — at least to me — that Orlando City players seem to keep barely missing out on achievements. For example, Jonathan Spector and Joe Bendik were on the Gold Cup preliminary roster, but then weren’t picked for the final 23. Also, Spector was on a shortlist for best defender of the season so far, but wasn’t picked. In the latest edition of OCSC snubs, Marta has come second in the voting for NWSL’s Player of the Month for June, behind Sky Blue FC’s Sam Kerr.

However, both Marta and Pride defender Ali Krieger have made the NWSL Team of the Month. This is of course a great achievement for both players.

Jonathan Spector Enjoying Positional Stability

It’s no secret that Jonathan Spector has been a fantastic signing for Orlando City. What is a bit of a mystery though, is how he’s viewed his time so far playing for a new team for the first time in a while. As you might expect, it’s been refreshing for Spector. Something he really likes about playing for Orlando City is the fact that he now solely features at center back, as opposed to at Birmingham City, where he was moved all over the back line and midfield.

“That was always a challenge for me," Spector told American Soccer Now. "The versatility was a gift and a curse at the same time depending on the circumstances. But now I’m playing in a position week in, week out and I know exactly where it’s going to be. It’s easier to prepare for games in that sense.

“It’s also my favorite position. It’s always what I’ve wanted to play and where I felt my best position was, but based on team circumstances and personnel I had to play at other positions throughout my career—which was never an issue, and I’ll be happy to do that here as well—but in the discussions with Jason it sounded as though central defender would be my position at the club while I’m here, which is great for me.”

Top XI of Soccer Coaches in America Features Adrian Heath and Jason Kreis

FourFourTwo has been doing a list of the best soccer coaches in American soccer, and now they’ve even made a best XI of the coaches based on their playing days, of which Jason Kreis actually appears on both — as we told you yesterday, he was rated the No. 8 coach. For neutrals, the highlight of the top XI is without a doubt the appearance of Arsenal legend, NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira, but for Lions fans, it’s nice to see both Kreis and former gaffer Adrian Heath appearing as forwards.

That’s going to do it for today’s links. Have a wonderful day and check back later for full coverage of the Pride vs. Chicago and OCB vs. FC Cincinnati.