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Lion Links: 2/21/18

Orlando City has its newest center back, the Pride are focused on a title, the NWSL schedule is due out, and more.

Liverpool FC v FC Girondins de Bordeaux - UEFA Europa League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Happy Wednesday! We’re midway through a short work week, and hopefully the fact that we still have Champions and Europa League is keeping you busy till the weekend. We are only 10 days away from the season opener, and news is ramping up quickly. We’re so close to the single digits that you can almost taste those beers at The Yard Bar pregame. So let’s not waste time, and get right into it.

Orlando City Has Its Newest Center Back

Orlando City made it official yesterday: Lamine Sané is the newest member of the club’s off-season reloading process. He joins the Lions on a free transfer from Bundesliga club Werder Bremen pending his visa approval.

This is a big coup for the league and City. If you’re concerned that you’ve never heard of him, or that Senegal isn't a world power, or the reports of his tension with the Bundesliga side, just think about how many 30-year-old center backs that you can name in MLS that have consistently started for two of the world’s top five leagues? So don’t sweat anything here, as Sané is going to fit in nicely next to Jonathan Spector.

And he's got a message for us:

For the Pride, Marta Eyes the Title First and Foremost

Don’t let all the MLS news distract you from the team that actually made the playoffs in 2017: the Orlando Pride started preseason two days ago and they are looking for the club’s second visit — consecutively — to the NWSL playoffs.

As for a list of goals, one could add that avenging the 4-1 drubbing last year to Portland would be at the top of players’ minds, but something else is driving the ladies this year. As Marta puts it: “Here, we not only talk about beating Portland, but actually winning the league,” she said through a translator. “I believe we have the right players to do that.”

She isn't wrong. The Pride look to have one of the strongest attacks in the NWSL this season with the addition of Sydney Leroux Dwyer and the emergence — if her W-League form stays true — of second-year player Rachel Hill.

While the loss of Steph Catley and the unknown timetable of Camila both loom, Head Coach Tom Sermanni has been very active in adding pieces across all four areas of the team. It’s an exciting year for the Pride and you’d be remiss not to stay tuned from the beginning.

NWSL Schedule Release Postponed Until Later Today

I was supposed to be writing to you about the NWSL schedule release. However, there seems to be some last-minute work being done since I have nothing to report. The Pride’s newest goalkeeper, Haley Kopmeyer, put it very eloquently:

According to the NWSL, we should be seeing the release of the schedule today (Wednesday):

Stay tuned to The Mane Land for updates throughout the afternoon.

USWNT Returns to Florida in April

While we will be lucky to see the U.S. Women’s National Team here in just a couple weeks time in Orlando for the SheBelieves Cup, we’ll get a second chance just a month later in Jacksonville for those looking to make the trip.

The U.S. Women will return on Thursday, April 5 to face off against Mexico in what should be a quality display of talent since the NWSL players will have had six weeks to get their fitness back from a lengthy off-season.

Tickets will be available for sale to the public Friday, Feb. 23, at 10 a.m. ET through

Lion Links
  • Uri Rosell is in Orlando, but appears to be working on his fitness to fully participate in training.

That’s it for today, Mane Landers! I’m off to open up my Season Ticket Holder package and see what comes this year, as I anxiously wait for the kit release in what will be two more excruciating days. Have a great rest of the week!

P.S. Kudos to City for keeping leaks way under wraps. I don’t know how they did it, but it’s impressive.