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Lion Links: 9/27/17

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Orlando City playoff chances shrink even more, Pride still have work to do, Lewis Neal makes USL Team of the Week, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at New England Revolution Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s match day, friends of the lion. The lads in purple will host the Revolution of New England tonight at Orlando City Stadium and as the 2017 season winds down, the chances to cheer on your team in person are dwindling as well. The off-season is dark and full of terrors, so tell the boss your kid has a school thing, knock off a little early, and head over to the purple palace in Parramore.

Between now and then, you’ll need to kill a few hours, so here are some links to help you do just that.

Update: A Slim Chance is Still a Chance

So, the odds are heavily against Orlando City getting into the postseason. So what? We have known that for a while. But even if there is less than 1% chance of it happening, it could still happen. Therefore, we should still be rooting for that to happen and there’s no better place to do that than at the gorgeous Orlando City Stadium. If you haven’t been there yet, you’re almost out of chances, so get down there. We’ll even make it easier for you by helping you save a few bucks on your tickets.

Pride Excited to Clinch, Begin Phase 2

The Orlando Pride were tuned in Sunday night, watching the Seattle Reign host FC Kansas City in a match that ultimately pushed the Pride into the NWSL playoffs for the first time. The coaches and players may have felt that initial excitement of making the postseason — and we told you about some of those reactions — but they know the hard work still lies ahead.

“I’m just really happy that we’re not finding out the last week,” Morgan said. “We’re not leaving it to the last minute. I feel like we’ve done really well to turn this season around the last two months. It’s nice to see this hard work paying off, but at the same time, the work has just begun.”

The team can play relaxed at North Carolina this Saturday but then will need to play its best to advance to a final that will be held right here in the City Beautiful in mid-October.

Pride Off-Season Plans Unfold

With a lot still to play for, we’re already learning where some Orlando Pride players will be spending their off-season. According to this story out of Australia, midfielder/defender Alanna Kennedy will be at Melbourne City this winter, trying to help that side win its third consecutive W-League championship. Many NWSL players ply their trade in Australia during the off-season, and it’s only natural that Kennedy, an Aussie herself, would do so. She began the season as a center back but quickly showed value as a defensive midfielder in much the same way the Chicago Red Stars — and now the USWNT — deploy Julie Ertz. Kennedy has chipped in three goals and an assist in 23 games with Orlando this season.

Lewis Neal Named to USL Team of the Week

After setting up Pierre Da Silva’s goal Saturday and then scoring the game winner against the Charleston Battery, Orlando City B captain and midfielder Lewis Neal has made the USL Team of the Week. It was a big win for OCB as Anthony Pulis’ side continues to push to get into the postseason in the league’s extremely competitive Eastern Conference. The young Lions will get after it again on Sunday afternoon at the Richmond Kickers.

Free Kicks
  • Congratulations to Joe Bendik on back-to-back 100-save seasons. We just wish you didn’t have to face so many shots.
  • The NWSL released a video of the best moments in the league’s playoff history. But the Pride weren’t in any of those previous games, so really, how good could they be?
  • Spain has a new nickname for Christian Pulisic and it’s kind of nice to see the hype train doesn’t just run here in our country.
  • Those born on this date include Samuel Adams (1722), renowned magician Harry Blackstone (1885), Cannon and Jake and the Fatman star William Conrad (1920), Wilford Brimley (1934), sportscaster Dick Schaap (1934), Guess Who and BTO guitarist Randy Bachman (1943), Meat Loaf (1947), baseball’s Mike Schmidt (1949), Men at Work multi-instrumentalist Greg Ham (1953), Shaun Cassidy (1958), GLOW actor Marc Maron (1963) — I highly recommend this Netflix original — basketball’s Steve Kerr (1965), Gwyneth Paltrow (1972), Roma legend Francesco Totti (1976), and Avril Lavigne (1984).

That’s all I’ve got for you this morning. Stay tuned throughout the day for full coverage of tonight’s match between Orlando City and the New England Revolution. I leave you with this outstanding display of how you should handle taking the ceremonial kickoff if given the opportunity.