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Lion Links: 8/8/17

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Joe Bendik, World Cup 2026, Orlando Pride, USWNT...it’s all in today’s edition of Lion Links!

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

Hello, all. Given the current state of the team, it’s understandable to see some Orlando City fans upset with the coaching staff right now. But let me start your day off with these questions: is this team really not better than it was one year ago? Is Jason Kreis really deserving of being fired one year into his rebuild, just two transfer windows in? Is this the coaching carousel you want around the club?

There are 11 games left. The season is not over. Let the team play, and if Orlando City doesn’t make the playoffs again, we’ll come back to reevaluate things. And even then, it’s hard to say Kreis is on the hot seat.

Now with that out of the way, let’s jump into today’s edition of the Lion Links.

Vote For Joe

Once again, Joe Bendik has been nominated for MLS Save of the Week for this 62nd-minute save on Blerim Dzemaili:

Joe is currently in the lead as of the time that I’m writing this, but you have until midnight eastern time on Wednesday to cast your vote. Remember, you can do so every hour. Vote early, vote often!

Orlando Pride Notes

The Orlando Sentinel had a website notebook that featured forward Chioma Ubogagu and the role she’s been playing with the club this season — left back, of late.

Here’s an excerpt:

“I’ve never played there in my life…but I understood that it’s what the team needed.” Ubogagu said after Orlando’s 1-1 draw with Chicago at Orlando City Stadium Saturday. “I understood the reason for the switch and once I kind of wrapped my head around that, it was time to just do something that was bigger than me, do it for the team, try to play to the best of my ability.”

The story also included notes on the Pride’s tough schedule coming up, and a short spot on Maddy Evans.

Lalas And Holden Talk Orlando’s World Cup 2026 Chances

Another piece from the Sentinel, this time it’s Alicia DelGallo catching up recently with former USMNT players and current FOX Sports analysts Alexi Lalas and Stu Holden about the United States’ World Cup bid for 2026, including Orlando as a potential host city for the tournament.

Both men had nothing but positive things to say about Orlando and the potential it has as a soccer town.

“I think it’s a no-brainer that if and when it happens Orlando is one of the cities,” said Lalas, who was a star in the 1994 World Cup. “For traditional reasons and also for what it has become and what they have done there, it’s for me It would be without a doubt in pen on the list. I don’t make the list, but if I did.”

U.S. Women’s National Team Notes

A couple of quick things for the USWNT. First, Stars and Stripes FC, one of our sister blogs on the SB Nation network, ran a piece yesterday about Pride and national team defender Ali Krieger, who is sitting on 98 career caps for the United States. The writer argues why it’s wrong to not call in Krieger for at least two more games so she can hit the 100-cap milestone.

And finally, after a lackluster performance in the Tournament of Nations, Equalizer argues that the tournament did nothing for the USWNT to answer some of the pressing questions it faces after what has not become a long run of poor play, basically since the World Cup in 2015.

Free Kicks

It’s been a while since I’ve hosted the Links, so I do enjoy getting the opportunity to do this once again:

Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, released a solo album in June, and it’s one of my favorite albums of 2017. Below is “Shine on Me.” Enjoy!