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Lion Links: 9/24/17

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Orlando Pride host Thorns, OCB hosts Charleston, Lions prepared for Portland, and more.

Carlos Romero, The Mane Land

Happy match day, faithful readers of The Mane land. Your Lions are out in the rainy hinterlands of the Pacific Northwest to play the Timbers of Portlandia tonight. We’ll have full coverage of this evening’s match-up, so check here periodically during your day of NFL watching (or whatever you’re doing).

Before we get started on today’s noteworthy soccer items, we want to give a big birthday shout out to Orlando Pride forward (and sometimes defender) Jamia Fields, who turns 24 today. Jamia has provided versatility and depth in multiple positions for Tom Sermanni’s team this season and we hope she enjoys her special day. Maybe FC Kansas City can give her a present by taking at least a point in Seattle tonight.

Pride Earn First Point Against Portland

The Pride are unbeaten in eight straight games but could not find a crucial goal last night to clinch their first ever playoff berth. They instead settled for a 0-0 draw against the Portland Thorns and their stingy defense. Mathematically, the Pride can be bested for the fourth playoff spot by the Seattle Reign if they should win out and make up a seven goal differential. Hopefully the Pride will simply go out and win at North Carolina next weekend if the Reign don’t drop points tonight.

OCB Blows Late Lead, Wins Anyway

Pierre Da Silva gave Orlando City B a 1-0 lead in the first half with what might be the goal of the season for Anthony Pulis’ side. However, the Charleston Battery pulled level in the 81st minute and it looked like two points dropped for the young Lions before Lewis Neal scored in minute 87 to snatch those two points back in a 2-1 OCB win. With the win, the young Lions climb into seventh spot in the USL East. However, Zach Ellis-Hayden sustained a mild concussion in the first half and Pulis will want his young fullback healthy for the final few games. You’ll want to check out that recap at the link above for the Da Silva goal video alone. Mercy. Oh, and we’ll have a photo gallery from Carlos Romero later today from the match (including the one that ran with this story).

Orlando City Prepped for Portland by Playing Atlanta

When the Lions line up tonight against the Timbers, they’ll see a familiar type of attack. Timbers star Diego Valeri compares in style to Atlanta’s Miguel Almiron, says Head Coach Jason Kreis, and so the team got a test run for tonight last Saturday. Portland will also get back striker Fanendo Adi, but City center back Tommy Redding is confident that Kreis has his team ready.

“He’s had a great career already and he’s very big target-forward for Portland, and I think that’s something we definitely need to watch out for,” Orlando City centerback Tommy Redding said. “But we’re well-prepared and ready for anything they throw at us.”

Kreis in Contact with Arena about Dwyer

As we approach the upcoming World Cup qualifiers for the USMNT, and a date at Orlando City Stadium, it’s only natural to wonder if a suddenly in-form Dom Dwyer could see a national team call-up. Jason Kreis knows exactly what’s going on because he’s been in contact with Bruce Arena about Dom, as well as other players.

“We’ve had conversations. I have a really good relationship with Bruce, and I think he’s just done a terrific job of communicating with the MLS coaches about which players he’s thinking about using and then kind of what his decision-making process is as it relates to where we’re at in our season. So, yeah we’ve had conversations about Dom and a couple other of our guys.”

The USMNT plays Panama in Orlando City Stadium on Oct. 6.

Free Kicks
  • Speaking of the upcoming USMNT qualifier, an all-Mexican crew will officiate the match. What could possibly go wrong? Prepare yourselves for the CONCACAFing to end all CONCACAFing.
  • Sporting Kansas City has suspended defender Kevin Ellis indefinitely for his “behavior within the team.”
  • Those born on this date include F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896), Three’s Company and The Ropers actress Audra Lindley (1918), legendary sportscaster Jim McKay (1921), Muppets creator Jim Henson (1936), Linda McCartney (1941), “Mean” Joe Greene (1946), Saturday Night Live and News Radio actor Phil Hartman (1948), baseball’s Rafael Palmeiro (1964), Food Network chef Robert Irvine (1965), football’s Eddie George (1973), wrestling personality Stephanie McMahon (1976), and former Liverpool and AS Roma defender John Arne Riise (1980).

That’s all the time I’ve got today. Be sure to check back later for coverage of Orlando City’s match at the Portland Timbers tonight and enjoy what’s left of your weekend.