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Lion Links: 7/23/17

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Orlando Pride visit Chicago, USMNT battles Costa Rica in Gold Cup semis, an Orlando City transfer rumor, fan fallout from ORLvATL, and more.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC
Brazilian legend Ronaldo was a guest of the Lions on Friday night.
Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday morning, folks. No Orlando-based pro soccer teams in action today, but lots of other stuff, such as ICC, in case you’re into that kind of thing. Speaking of the International Champions Cup, we had one of those games right here in the City Beautiful last night. More on that later.

Much of the weekend action you’re interested in is already over, so you get to that sock drawer that you’ve been putting off cleaning out for the last three months. Meanwhile, let’s get you started on today’s links:

Pride Again Fall to Red Stars

The Orlando Pride still can’t solve the riddle of the Chicago Red Stars. Christen Press scored two more goals against the Pride to lead the Red Stars to a 2-1 home win, improving Chicago to 4-0-0 in the all-time series. At least Alanna Kennedy finally found Orlando’s first goal of the series deep in stoppage time with a screamer past Alyssa Naeher. These two teams will play again Aug. 5 right after the Tournament of Nations, but that game will come just two days after the tourney concludes out on the West Coast, so it’ll affect the lineups — Orlando’s more than Chicago’s, unfortunately.

Deuce Leads U.S. Past Costa Rica

It was a special night for Clint Dempsey. The Texas native came off the bench in his home state to set up Jozy Altidore’s game winner and score the insurance marker to push the USMNT to a 2-0 win over Costa Rica in the Gold Cup semifinals. Dempsey’s free kick strike was his 57th international goal, tying Landon Donovan’s USMNT career record. The United States moves on to play the Mexico-Jamaica winner in the final on Wednesday. It should be fun.

Here, Have a Transfer Rumor

The latest name linked with Orlando City — this time via a Brazilian social media account covering Werder Bremen — is Zlatko Junuzovic. The tweet says Orlando City is willing to pony up €5 million for the Austrian international midfielder. More set-up man than goal scorer, Junuzovic is a free kick and assist specialist who also has 19 Bundesliga goals over the past five years and seven international goals with Austria in 52 caps. The 29-year-old would fill a need at attacking midfielder but the price tag is pretty high. What do you think of this idea? Personally, I would simply enjoy getting to say “Zlatko” and use it in stories.

However, not so fast, my friends. This story says Orlando has made no formal offer, despite a willingness to pay the five million euros and offer a three-year deal. It further states that Werder Bremen are seeking double that amount of money, so that makes a deal pretty unlikely.

Fan Fallout

(Note: this is not a generalization about all of the fans from each fan base, or about supporters groups, but is simply the calling out of a few individual actions.) Individual fans from Orlando City and Atlanta United didn’t cover themselves in glory in the week of their teams’ first meeting in Major League Soccer. There were shenanigans all week, from billboard reactions on both sides, to making light of the Pulse tragedy, and all manner of social media confrontations. I might be missing something, but we’re talking about a sporting event — one where a bunch of guys put on uniforms and kick a ball around, no less. Some of the behavior on both sides was a bit bewildering.

Perhaps the biggest news was the story of an Atlanta United fan who claims he was sucker-punched by an Orlando City fan while minding his own business. Orlando fans counter that the fan in question threw a bottle toward some kids and was “acting a fool” in the supporters’ tailgate area. I’d like to point out that punching a human is bad. Throwing a bottle is bad. Acting a fool is bad. We’re all people, first and foremost, and so maybe it’s not that important that we support a sports team from a different city?

I also saw that a Terminus Legion flag was hoisted to the rafters of Orlando City Stadium. Unless that flag was freely given by the Terminus Legion or purchased by Orlando fans, it’s a bad look. Last time I checked, taking something that belongs to someone else is considered theft under our legal system. Can’t we all be better than this? A few bad incidents can color an entire fan base in the public eye. If we always represent our team and our city with class, respect, and courtesy for others, it’ll set an example for others to follow.

ICC Comes to Orlando

More than 33,000 fans piled into Camping World Stadium last night for the International Champions Cup match between Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain last night. An entertaining 2-2 match through 45 minutes featured blistering goals and an enormous goalkeeping gaffe. Just after the break, PSG’s goalkeeper was sent off by Ted Unkel (really!) and Tottenham eventually broke the tie, and added a late Harry Kane penalty that shouldn’t have been a penalty [/Unkel’d] en route to a 4-2 win. It’s always nice to have big-time soccer events in our city, and it was excellent to see a big crowd to see two teams from across the pond.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City’s Jonathan Spector was robbed twice by Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on Friday. Spector talked about his bond with Guzan from their time in Birmingham.
  • The USMNT is the first team to win at the Gold Cup with three different goalkeepers in the same tournament.
  • El Salvador’s Henry Romero and Darwin Ceren have been suspended by CONCACAF for their antics against the USMNT in the Gold Cup quarterfinals. Romero will get a six-game ban for biting and nipple twisting Jozy Altidore and former Orlando City midfielder Ceren gets a three-match suspension for biting Omar Gonzalez.
  • Tickets to the U.S.-Panama World Cup qualifier at Orlando City Stadium go on sale Aug. 10.
  • New York City went down a man early but still beat the Chicago Fire, 2-1.
  • Among those born on this date are actor Arthur Treacher — who somehow got his name on a chain of fish and chips restaurants in the U.S. — (1894), baseball’s Pee Wee Reese (1918), Calvert de Forest — a.k.a. Larry “Bud” Melman — (1921), actor Bert Convy (1933), pitcher Don Drysdale (1936), Beverly Hills Cop actor Ronny Cox (1938), radio host Don Imus (1940), David Essex (1947), original Rush drummer John Rutsey (1952), Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore (1961), Woody Harrelson (1961), Slash (1965), Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967), basketball’s Gary Payton (1968), Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel actress Charisma Carpenter (1970), Alison Krauss (1971), Marlon Wayans (1972), Zinedine Zidane (1972), Nomar Garciaparra (1973), football’s Terry Glenn (1974), hockey’s Shawn Thornton (1977), and Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe (1989).

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend and let’s get ready to get that revenge against Atlanta next Saturday.