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Lion Links: 12/21/18

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Orlando will open season against New York City FC, Pride players in the W-League, Berhalter’s call-ups, and more.

W-League Rd 8 - Perth v Sydney Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images

What’s up, Mane Landers? We’re creeping ever closer to the Christmas so if there’s shopping that you still need to do, I wish you the best of luck as the day draws nearer. Things are sure to be hectic if you brave the stores this weekend so make sure to wear your running shoes to beat everyone else to those gifts you need. But for now, kick back and enjoy some links!

Lions Hosting NYCFC to Open 2019 Season

Orlando City will open the 2019 season at home on March 2, where the Lions will face off with their expansion partner, New York City FC. It will be the third time the club will open the season against NYCFC and this makes five straight season since joining MLS that Orlando City will open the season at home. The Lions have yet to lose a season-opener so it should make for a fun match at Orlando City Stadium. Make sure to check out how the rest of the MLS home-openers week will shake out as well, including the Lions travelling to SeatGeek Stadium to try spoiling the Chicago Fire’s first game at home on March 9.

Pride Players Light Up W-League

As the NWSL off-season continues, many Pride players are spending it in warm Australia in the W-League. The season is past the halfway point now as the league reaches Round 8 and teams start to make their move toward the postseason. The Brisbane Roar continue to rise after a 3-1 win against the Western Sydney Wanderers and Pride defender Carson Pickett picked up an assist while Chioma Ubogagu did not feature in the game.

Earlier this morning, there was a great match between the Perth Glory and Sydney FC in which Pride players played large parts in the result. Pride defender Alanna Kennedy opened the scoring with maybe one of the best goals of her career from a free kick. Seriously, she couldn’t have placed this ball any better.

However, the Perth Glory bounced back in the second half with the pair of Sam Kerr and Rachel Hill wreaking havoc on Sydney’s defense. Kerr equalized soon after the break and Hill nearly scored later on but was stopped by a great lunging save. The Glory found their moment in the 87th minute when Hill delivered a cross into the box and Kerr fought off Kennedy to get her head on the end of it and into the back of the net to give the Glory a 2-1 victory.

After that game, Adelaide United was able to hold on to win 3-2 against the Melbourne Victory. United had a comfortable 3-0 lead going into the later stages of the game but Melbourne was able to come alive late to score twice in four minutes to make things interesting. Both Christine Nairn and Dani Weatherholt played all 90 minutes for Melbourne and Nairn earned an assist in the 91st minute when her cross found former Pride teammate Laura Alleway who knocked it into the goal off her head.

Gregg Berhalter Selects His Campers

In his first camp as the United States Men’s National Team Head Coach, Gregg Berhalter chose 27 players and all of them ply their trade here in MLS. Zack Steffen, Paul Arriola, and Michael Bradley are some of the more familiar names called up but for seven players this will be their first time at a USMNT camp. The most notable of those seven is MLS Rookie of the Year Corey Baird, who helped lead Real Salt Lake to the postseason.

Orlando City Re-Signs eMLS Competitor

Abe Valbuena will be back with Orlando City for 2019 as the club re-signed him to represent OCSC in eMLS. Valbuena performed well in the inaugural eMLS Cup where he finished in the quarterfinals and the club was eager to keep Valbuena on board, especially after learning that it couldn’t sell his rights for a fourth round pick.

“We’re excited to bring Abe back for another season of eMLS ,” said Orlando City SC Sr. Director of Content Ed Cahill. “Abe competed at a high level last season and has only improved in the transition to FIFA 19.”

Jokes aside, congratulations Abe and good luck next season!

Free Kicks
  • While her teammates are in Australia, Pride defender Ali Krieger has been training with former Orlando City defender Seb Hines.

That’s all from me folks. I wish you a very happy holidays and safe and relaxing weekend!