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Lion Links: 10/6/18

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Orlando City GM on fan frustrations, more Pride players head to Australia, a look at the Montverde partnership, and more.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy match day, everyone. It’s been a couple weeks. I almost forgot what it felt like to wake up on a Saturday without a sense of dread. Almost.

The Lions visit FC Dallas tonight, riding a three-game scoring drought. I’m sure it will be fine, since Orlando has never scored a goal against Dallas. The last trip to Dallas resulted in the firing of Adrian Heath. Yeah, it’ll be fine. In fact, let’s check on the latest injury update.

[Sigh.]

Anyway, let’s waste some of your morning by giving you some stuff on the internet to read.

Budalic Supportive of O’Connor, Understands Fan Frustration

Orlando City GM Niki Budalic spoke with prosoccerusa.com and among the topics of discussion were his backing of Head Coach James O’Connor, the negativity surrounding this long, tough season, and the hunt for a director of scouting. Budalic said JOC is 100 percent the man in Orlando, so O’Connor got the old vote of confidence. Still, I expect he’ll survive the off-season and get a chance to put his stamp on the team and lead it through training camp.

“What I would say is we understand their perspective,” Budalić said about fan frustrations. “We understand the passion they have for this club and this team. We understand the urgency. We understand the demand to improve. I know that James has been a really good leader in trying to establish that demand of expectations. That’s cascading through the organization, as well, in soccer operations.

“We are working hard to change the situation and we feel confident we’ll get it right.”

O’Connor Still Trying to Get His Ideas Across

When the Lions take on Dallas tonight, it’ll be interesting to see who lines up to start the match. Changing lineups have been a constant this year, due to injuries as well as coaching changes, but the new gaffer has been trying to assess what he actually has and who can play the way he wants them to. That work, apparently, is still in progress.

“I think some have, I would say, a good understanding of what we want,” O’Connor said.

“I think some maybe have a decent understanding and some have a lot to do. It’s like everything. You always have three facets. You have people that really understand, some that are maybe in between and some that are still struggling to get a real grip and understanding of what we’re expecting.”

Two More Pride Players Head to Oz

We already knew Rachel Hill was returning to Perth Glory, but a couple of her Pride teammates are joining her in the W-League. The Brisbane Roar announced that Chioma Ubogagu and Carson Pickett will be joining them for the NWSL off-season. For Pickett, it’s a return for her second season in Brisbane, but it’ll be Chi’s first season of play down under. Hopefully both will come back in great form. We wish them both a successful and healthy season.

A Look at the OCSC-Montverde Connection

A lot of eyebrows were raised when Orlando City moved its development academy operations to the Soccer Institute at Montverde Academy (SIMA), but with the announcement of OCB returning to the USL to play in the new third division also taking place at Montverde, the shape of the academy pipeline is starting to take shape. Players will develop and get their schooling at Montverde, then move up to the USL D3 side, and, hopefully, then on to the first team. But as this story by Lucas Casas illustrates, there’s more to the Montverde experience than soccer.

Free Kicks
  • If you want to apply for the Orlando Pride head coaching position, here are the requirements and responsibilities.
  • Speaking of the Pride, Shelina Zadorsky got a step closer to World Cup qualification as Canada struggled past Jamaica, 2-0 last night. Zadorsky started and went the full 90. Nichelle Prince scored a brace for Canada. Costa Rica beat Cuba, 8-0, in the other match. The USWNT takes on Panama tomorrow.
  • In addition to Christian Pulisic being out, Tyler Adams will also miss the upcoming USMNT friendlies. Dave Sarachan has called up Philadelphia’s Fafa Picault.
  • According to reports, Jose Mourinho will be fired by Manchester United regardless of this weekend’s result against Newcastle. With Mo gone, maybe the technical director will buy some real center backs.
  • Sebastian Giovinco finally got another Italy call-up.
  • David Beckham and Luis Suarez met up and caused great agitation in the soccer world. If Suarez joins Inter Miami, I wonder which Lion he’ll bite first. My money is on Cristian Higuita.
  • Those born on this date include REO Speedwagon singer Kevin Cronin (1951), football’s Tony Dungy (1955), actress Elisabeth Shue (1963), alt rocker Matthew Sweet (1964), Anathema guitarist/singer Daniel Cavanagh (1972), basketball’s Rebecca Lobo (1973), and Arcade Fire’s William Butler (1982).

That’s all my time this morning. Don’t forget to check back throughout today for full coverage of Orlando City’s match at FC Dallas tonight at 8 p.m.