I know I usually say Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers, but I’m going to add a Happy New Year’s Eve as well. Here we are with the very last Lion Links of 2018. It may have been a season to forget for Orlando City supporters, but as the saying goes, “there’s always next year.” Fortunately, we don’t have long to wait for 2019, though the season might be further away. Let’s get to the Links!
W-League Round 9 Recap
Down in Australia, the W-League had its last round of the season before picking things back up next year. Plenty of Pride players saw the field this past week as teams prepare for a playoff push.
- Carson Pickett started and had an assist to help the Brisbane Roar equalize for a 1-1 draw against Canberra United. Chioma Ubogagu also returned and came on as a substitute for the Roar in the match.
- Both Dani Weatherholt and Christine Nairn had assists to lift the Melbourne Victory to a 2-1 win over the Perth Glory. In spite of the loss, Rachel Hill had a great game and her connection with Sam Kerr continued with Kerr finding her for a goal in the 90th minute to spark late hopes of a comeback.
- Elsewhere, Emily van Egmond continued to be an integral part of the Newcastle Jets after leading the team in both passes and shots in the team’s 2-3 loss against Adelaide United.
English Premier League Wrap-Up
The top teams all did well to end 2018. Liverpool dominated Arsenal, 5-1 to remain at the top of the table. Roberto Firmino recorded a hat trick to lead the scoring for the Reds. Manchester City moved back into second with a 3-1 win over Southampton, putting them seven points back of the leaders. The victory allowed City to jump Tottenham, which fell to Wolves, 3-1. Manchester United won their third straight after the departure of Jose Mourinho, with a 4-1 defeat of Bournemouth. Paul Pogba continued his good form with a brace and an assist.
USL League Two Adds Two
USL League Two added its sixth and seventh teams with new clubs in Dalton, GA, and Park City, UT. The clubs have yet to be named, but will play in the 2019 season. Dalton will play in the Deep South Division, and Park City will play in the Mountain Division. As it turns out, both clubs are owned by Bob Martino, who also owns the Chattanooga Red Wolves of USL League One.
Serie A’s Ultra Problem
Fascism reared its ugly head again in Italy’s Serie A as Ultras (hardcore “fans”) from Napoli and Inter Milan clashed during a match the day after Christmas. Unfortunately, there’s nothing new about any of this, and the fight left four Napoli supporters wounded and one Inter fan dead after he was allegedly run over by a Napoli fan with an SUV. This is all in addition to Inter fans inside the stadium making monkey sounds at Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. The 27-year-old Koulibaly is of Senegalese decent and has been with Napoli since 2014.
- As previously rumored, former Orlando City Lion Brek Shea, has officially signed a one-year-deal with Atlanta United FC after the Vancouver Whitecaps declined his option. The details of the deal were not disclosed.
- Anyone else think Ramos should have been sent off for his take down of Mohamed Salah?
Sergio Ramos has behaved this year... pic.twitter.com/LwhcBwHCRZ— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 30, 2018
- Susanna Dinnage was slated to take over as Premier League chief executive, but has backed out in order to stay with the Discovery Channel. Her decision puts the league back to square one as it looks for a new candidate.
- Houston Dynamo defender DaMarcus Beasley has re-signed for the 2019 MLS season. At 36 years old, Beasley is one of the most decorated players in American soccer history.
- Former Lion Justin Meram’s very nice heel flick starts off this video of the year’s best backheels.
No shortage of impressive backheels this season. pic.twitter.com/1axGBUkj4O— Major League Soccer (@MLS) December 30, 2018
That’s going to do it for this year. Be safe tonight, and have a happy New Year!