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Lion Links: 9/21/17

City Looks to build off strong performances, OCB and the Pride have tons to play for, and much more!

MLS: Orlando City SC at Atlanta United FC
Antonio Nocerino muscles Miguel Almiron off the ball last weekend in Atlanta.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to this Thursday edition of Lion Links, Mane Landers! I’m happy to be back and writing for you again. I missed all of last week, as my power was out due to Hurricane Irma. But that’s all in the past and things are looking up now, so let’s forget all of that and jump into all the news surrounding the sport of soccer in Orlando and the rest of the world.

Orlando City Looking to Build Off Atlanta Result

After fighting tooth and nail over the weekend against Atlanta United, the Lions secured a 3-3 draw, and that has done quite a lot to lift spirits in the City Beautiful. Jason Kreis praised the players for their aggressive offensive attitude, which led to them scoring three goals for only the second time this season. The Portland Timbers are up next and the Lions look to get three results in a row for the first time since April, when Orlando City went on a four-game winning streak.

Contract Talks Underway Soon?

As we’re sure you’ve probably figured, negotiations over new contracts don’t commonly get done during the season. Orlando City GM Niki Budalic stated that talks between two of Orlando City’s main stars will likely begin at season’s end.

Portland Timbers Making a Wish Come True

Although Portland is the enemy this weekend, we can’t help but smile at what the Timbers are doing with their latest signing, five-year-old Derrick Tellez. The Timbers are working with Make-A-Wish Oregon to make Derrick’s wish a reality. Click the link to check out more about Derrick’s story and how Portland plans to use its newest goalkeeper. You just may want to have some tissues handy, not that we cried or anything.

Lots on the Line for OCB and the Pride

While Orlando City is away this weekend, there are two huge matches taking place at Orlando City Stadium. The Orlando Pride will kick off first against the Portland Thorns, and all they need is a result to clinch a playoff berth in the NWSL. They are also chasing history. As of now, they have scored the second most goals all-time in an NWSL season. With two games to go, they do have a chance to break the record. OCB will follow them by taking on the Charleston Battery on Saturday night. The Battery currently sit in third place in the USL standings, which means that they will be a good test for OCB, but as the season winds down in the USL, it’s time to see if they can string results together to earn their berth in the playoffs.

Orlando City Alumni Match Announced

Alumni matches are always a good time, but it’s an even better time when it’s an I-4 Derby. Orlando City alumni will be taking on the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Oct. 13, and you can find more info from the links in the tweet below.

Free Kicks
  • Sporting Kansas City beat New York Red Bulls, 2-1, to capture the club’s fourth U.S. Open Cup championship last night. It’s SKC’s third Open Cup in the last six years.
  • We mentioned yesterday that the NASL has filed an antitrust lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. But if you were curious as to what that means, the folks over at have got you covered with this article.
  • The nominations for UEFA’s 2017 Golden Boy have been announced, and we have a familiar face in the nominations. American Christian Pulisic made the 25-player shortlist, which also includes the likes of Marcus Rashford, Kylian Mbappe, and Pulisic’s former teammate, Ousmane Dembele.
  • Speaking on Pulisic, he helped lead Dortmund to a 3-0 win over Hamburg last night in Germany, adding this fantastic goal to seal the win.
  • American starlet Joshua Sargent, who stole our hearts at the U-20 FIFA World Cup is in the news, as he announced a move to Bundesliga club Werder Bremen.
  • Not only did Real Madrid lose to Betis last night, but they also failed to score, which is significant, since that means their streak of scoring at least one goal in a game will end at 73 consecutive games.
  • English soccer fans enjoyed matches from the Carabao Cup last night, and the fixtures for the next round were already released. West Ham at Tottenham and Everton at Chelsea are two matches that highlight round four of the League Cup.
  • Custom cleats have become common in the NFL, through the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown, but it looks as though that trend has made it into the world of soccer. Check out these custom Dragon Ball Z cleats that Bakary Sakho of Crystal Palace wore for their League Cup game.

That’s all for today, folks! Happy to be back and have power again, which hopefully is the case for the rest of you as well. Check back in tomorrow for another edition of Lion Links and let’s get ready for a very very busy weekend of soccer here in the City Beautiful.