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Lion Links: 11/11/18

SeaWolves play first ever (friendly) match, USWNT will get World Cup warm-up, the future of the USMNT, and more.

Mike Gramajo, Orlando Soccer Journal

Happy Sunday, everyone. It’s a big day for the sport we love with three MLS conference semifinal match-ups coming today in Atlanta, New Jersey, and Kansas City. If any of these matches are half as entertaining as Seattle-Portland, we’re all in for a treat.

Later this week, we’ll get to cheer on the U.S. national teams as the women visit Scotland and the men head to England. Meanwhile, the SeaWolves became an actual team last night as the MASL side played its first match in a friendly against Brazil — more on that later. The point is that even without the Lions or Pride still playing, it’s nice to have plenty of the beautiful game to watch.

Let’s get to the news of the day.

Orlando SeaWolves Beat Brazil in First Match

The Orlando SeaWolves took part in their first-ever match last night at Silver Spurs Arena in a friendly match against the Brazil National Minifootball Team, winning by a 3-2 final score in overtime. Head Coach Tom Traxler’s boys include a few ex-Orlando City players — Lewis Neal, Luke Boden, Tyler Turner, and Jonathan Mendoza, who all played. Orlando fell behind early but Gordy Gurson scored the first-ever goal in team history late in the second quarter (they have quarters in the indoor game) to tie things up at 1-1 before halftime. Brazil regained the lead just after the start of the second half and Luiz Mota tied it up again before the end of the third. That’s the way regulation ended, triggering a 10-minute overtime. The game was decided on a golden goal by Rafa Tobias.

Orlando City Head Coach James O’Connor performed the ceremonial first kick, and some of Lions decided to go check it out.

In the first game of yesterday’s international challenge double-header, the Colombia National Minifootball Team came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Brazil National U-21 squad, 6-5. It’s fun to have soccer events in Central Florida, even if I couldn’t attend this time around.

USWNT Will Get World Cup Warm-Up

The United States Women’s National Team will play a road friendly against France on Jan. 19 in their first test of the 2019 calendar year. The French, of course, are hosting the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, so it will be an important business trip for the USWNT, giving the Yanks a look at Stade Océane in Le Havre and at the team that will be one of the favorites to capture the World Cup. The United States will want to defend its world championship next summer and getting battle tested early should help with that.

Ubogagu Happy After First International Goal

Orlando Pride’s Chioma Ubogagu made her international debut with England earlier this week and scored her first goal on her debut. Chi spoke to about the accomplishment.

“They were just buzzing for me,” Ubogagu said of their reaction after she scored. “It was really nice that they were genuinely excited for me and I could feel it. It was pretty amazing.”

Chi had some interesting things to say about her call-up to the USWNT last year that didn’t result in a cap, so be sure to check out the linked story. She and the Lionesses will take on Sweden today.

Orlando Pride’s Monica, Camila Feature for Brazil

Monica started at center back and Camila came off the bench but Brazil fell 3-1 in an international friendly against World Cup host France on Saturday. The match took place in Nice and Marta sat this one out as she was not called up for it. Orlando Pride defender Poliana was on the bench but did not play.

The Future of the USMNT

With the U-20 Concacaf Championship underway, Alex Showell over at Stars and Stripes FC takes a look at the U.S. youth team’s top six prospects for the senior national team. We’ve seen a couple of these guys already in MLS action but there might be one or two you’re not familiar with. If you’re like me, you enjoy keeping an eye on who might be coming down the pipeline for the USMNT in the years to come and this is a solid list of some guys we might be seeing later on down the road.

Free Kicks
  • ProSoccerUSA asks, “what can Alphonso Davies add to Bayern Munich?
  • Leicester City fans paid tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha prior to the club’s first home game since the club chairman was lost in a helicopter crash. Touching scenes.
  • The much-anticipated Copa Libertadores final first leg between Boca Juniors and River Plate was postponed due to heavy rains. The makeup date is today. Enjoy!
  • Those born on this date include General George S. Patton (1885), Kurt Vonnegut (1922), comedic actor Jonathan Winters (1925), XTC singer/guitarist Andy Partridge (1953), actor Stanley Tucci (1960), Demi Moore (1962), Leonardo DiCaprio (1974), retired Germany/Bayern star Philipp Lahm (1983), and Seattle Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso (1985).

That’s all my time for today, folks. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend and the playoff matches later today. I leave you with more footage of Dom Dwyer working with Eddie Johnson — this time working on quick movements in the final third.