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Lion Links: 8/18/17

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Dwyer to become Orlando’s masked avenger, never tell the Lions the odds, Kreis still believes, OCSC fans are great, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Montreal Impact Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Friday, keepers of the purple flame, and that means we’re just one day removed from another triple game day. I got home later than usual last night, as I was at the Lion’s Pride checking out Dom Dwyer being interviewed by Men in Blazers’ Roger Bennett.

It was an entertaining interview and eye-opening in many respects. Here are a few of my favorite moments:

This one brought out some salty responses from Sporting Kansas City fans on Twitter, but a hearty cheer from the assembled Orlando faithful.

And with a wry smile, Dom pontificated on his wife’s future whereabouts.

Also, I was surprised to learn he wanted to grow up to be an ice cream man when he was a kid. I think Mr. Dwyer picked the right profession.

There’s a veritable smorgasbord of Orlando soccer options tomorrow, in addition to the Premier League and all manner of other soccer action. Let’s enjoy these kinds of days before they’re swallowed up with the end of the MLS, USL, and NWSL seasons.

But before we get to that, there’s still the matter of killing off one more week day. To help you do that, I present the following items from the soccer world.

Dom Dwyer: Masked Avenger

When Orlando City striker Dom Dwyer next hits the pitch — and we’re still hearing that will be tomorrow night against Columbus — he’ll be wearing a specially fitted mask to protect his nose, which just underwent surgery recently. It will be fun to see Dom go all Bane on the Crew. They don't fear death. They welcome it. Their punishment must be more severe. Torture? Yes, but not of their bodies. Of their souls.

Never Tell Me the Odds!

Yes, from Batman to Star Wars (well, The Empire Strikes Back). FiveThirtyEight.com thinks very little of Orlando City’s chances of going on a run toward the playoffs, as we mentioned earlier this week here in Lion Links. Well, the site gives Orlando a nearly impossible shot if the Lions drop tomorrow night’s must-win game against Columbus. I’m all for shutting them all the hell up with an Orlando City victory. Who’s with me?

Kreis Believes in His Players

Despite Saturday’s result at Red Bull Arena, Jason Kreis was encouraged by his team’s performance over the first half and by the desire and emotion shown at the end of the match. The gaffer said he sees a team that can still make the postseason.

“Right now it’s about how badly do we want it, how much are we willing to fight for it? For me, I don’t view that as a negative sign that we’ve got guys who are pretty emotionally invested here,” he said.

“I believe in the players that we have and I believe in them for a reason, because I’ve seen them perform. I will also tell you without hesitation that this coaching staff is working harder than we ever have before, and this staff has had a lot of success in this league. I believe if we continue to work that way, the success will come.”

Orlando City Fans Rated Fourth in MLS by Forbes

One thing about Forbes is that it loves its lists. After naming Orlando City the No. 5 most valuable MLS franchise, the business news giant has listed Lions’ fans as the fourth-best in the league based on four quantifiable criteria. The rankings were determined using attendance figures for the last two full seasons, television ratings for last season and season-to-date, merchandise sales and social media followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Orlando City fans fell in behind LA Galaxy supporters, and a tie for first between fans of the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers.

Orlando City Prospects Called Up

One of the most exciting things about Orlando City is looking ahead to the future. The club has only been in MLS for a few games shy of three seasons and the future is bright if the academy success is any indicator. The latest sign is a pair of call-ups for national youth team looks. U-17 forward Alejandro Pereira has been called up by U.S. coach John Hackworth to participate in the 2017 International Youth Tournament of Vaclav Jezek from Aug. 21-27. The U.S. team is grouped with Hungary, Russia and Japan in Group B of the tourney. Meanwhile, U.S. U-14 coach Clint Peay has called in forward Brandon Bryant for a 36-player group that will camp in Portland. The U-14s will play an intrasquad match as well as a pair of friendlies against the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders Development Academy teams.

Free Kicks

That’s it for me today. Enjoy your weekend and check our site throughout today and tomorrow for full coverage of Orlando City, the Pride, and OCB.