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Lion Links: 11/30/18

Orlando City’s rebuilding strategy, MLS Cup final set, SeaWolves start season, and much more!

W-League Rd 3 - Brisbane v Adelaide Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

What’s up, Mane Landers? It’s the last day of November and it looks like winter is finally here in Florida if recent temperatures are anything to go by. However, it looks like things will warm up this weekend so make sure to head outside and take advantage while you can. It’s been a hectic week as an Orlando City fan and I think we all could use a good weekend.

Orlando’s Upcoming Struggle to Rebuild

Orlando City parting ways with General Manager Niki Budalic was probably the most surprising news of the week. It was shocking not because of the news itself, but the timing, with the announcement coming on the day of the MLS contract option deadline. Now, the club must find a new general manager who is willing to work with a coach they don’t know and players they didn’t have a hand in keeping on board. It’ll be interesting to see if the club will settle for a decent option as a stopgap or wait to find one who will be a great fit for years to come.

Chi Scores to Lift Australian Team

In a grueling match down under, Orlando Pride and Brisbane Roar forward Chioma Ubogagu was the difference-maker as the Roar defeated the Newcastle Jets, 1-0. It was the Roar’s first win against the Jets since 2014 and the result came in large part from Ubogagu, who was a thorn in the Jets’ right side for the entirety of the match. Her goal in the 56th minute wasn’t the prettiest by any means, coming from a pass that could only be described as brilliant or an accident, but it got the job done on the road.

Ubogagu was quick to praise her teammates after the match, noting that the goal was only one part of the Roar’s win.

“It could have gone either way with the result, if we got three points, if we didn’t get three points because we’re kind of in the middle of the ladder so I’m proud of the team for fighting for the whole 90 minutes. Getting the shutout was just as important as getting the goal.”

MLS Cup Final Set

After its big 3-0 win in the first leg, Atlanta United simply needed to keep Bradley Wright-Phillips and the New York Red Bulls offense quiet. It did just that with a 1-0 loss in the second leg to advance to its first MLS Cup final. The Five Stripes will host the Portland Timbers, who won 3-2 over Sporting Kansas City. Timbers forward Diego Valeri stole the show with two go-ahead goals on the evening, including the stellar one shown below and another that put the game on ice in the 99th minute.

Orlando SeaWolves Ready for Inaugural Season

The Major Arena Soccer League season is finally upon us and the Orlando SeaWolves will have their first game ever tonight at 7:35 p.m. ET against the St. Louis Ambush at Silver Spurs Arena. Even if you aren’t that much of an indoor soccer fan, you should still watch the game as a few former Lions like Luke Boden and Tyler Turner are now SeaWolves. This match will be the first of a three-game homestand for Orlando so make sure to check them out if you can.

Free Kicks
  • According to Alexi Lalas, the United States Women’s National Team Player of the Year Award is Alex Morgan’s to lose after an incredible 18 international goals this year.
  • Minnesota United defender Brent Kallman put his cleats away and put on his poker face earlier this week to participate in a World Poker Tour event where he finished two seats shy of the final table and walked away with a nice $62,000 payday.

That’s all from me, folks. I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and weekend as December looms. Stay warm and jolly!