Hey Mane Landers, I hope everyone is ready for the weekend. This month has been flying by but I’m sure the days are going to get longer as we start counting down for the 2018 season. Until then, enjoy some Lion Links from a busy yesterday!
Joe Bendik Weighs In; Orlando Injury Update
Most of the focus this off-season has been on the offensive talent brought in by the front office, but Joe Bendik remains one of the strongest parts of Orlando City’s roster and says the team as a whole is starting to come together. Although one of the players with the most job security on the squad, Bendik has had his work cut out for him this off-season with strengthening communication with the many new members of his back line.
In other training news, Bendik faced off with UFC superstar Raquel Pennington in a penalty shootout while she trains in Orlando. Dom Dwyer was not at yesterday’s training, but Josué Colmán and Richie Laryea were both present and running separately from the team. Kreis expects Colmán to be back at full training next week so he may be ready to go for the opener next Saturday if needed.
Cam Lindley Thrilled; Toia Challenged
It’s one thing to graduate college and immediately find work. It’s another to find work alongside some of the biggest names in your profession, but that’s where Orlando City midfielder Cameron Lindley finds himself with a roster filled with talent. A little in awe at first, Lindley is starting to fit in more with the team and is learning from the likes of Sacha Kljestan and Justin Meram.
Meanwhile, Donny Toia is looking forward to the competition at his left back position with Mohamed El-Munir and Victor “PC” Giro breathing down his neck for minutes. Regardless of who winds up winning the starting spot, it’s nice seeing the cool, calm demeanor from the 25-year-old that we saw in all of his 30 starts last season.
Orlando City Away Kit Leaked (Spoiler Alert)
I always feel a little dirty sharing leaked stuff, but Orlando City’s apparent away kit looks way too nice not to share. With a clean white finish and subtle purple detailing, the kit will have the Lions looking like royalty even outside the confines of Orlando City Stadium.
Orlando Pride Players Gear Up for SheBelieves Cup
With 2019 Women’s World Cup qualifying just around the corner, the USWNT is looking to take advantage of the SheBelieves Cup for some valuable games against some of the best nations in the world. With part of the event held here in Orlando, Orlando Pride and USWNT players Ashlyn Harris and Alex Morgan will be in familiar surroundings. Both are missing pride preseason training, but this is far from a vacation for the two as they prepare for the tournament during a critical time in U.S. soccer.
“We’re not taking this as a joke. We’re not taking it lightly. Every team we face, we have to gain something out of it. These are great games to have against some of the best teams in the world. I think this is going to prepare us for the big picture, and that’s qualification.” said Harris.
Lamine Sané Bids Bremen Farewell
Fire up those translators Mane Landers, because Orlando City’s newest center back took to Instagram to say goodbye to his former club, Bundesliga side Werder Bremen. In the message, Sané thanks fans for always making him feel comfortable at the club and wishes the team luck in its future.
Liebe Werder-Fans, wie ihr sicher mitbekommen habt, werde ich in Zukunft für Orlando City in der MLS spielen. Auch wenn ich mir einen schöneren Abschied aus Bremen und von euch gewünscht hätte, möchte ich ein paar Worte an euch richten. Ich möchte mich für eine tolle Zeit bedanken. Ich habe mich im Verein immer wohl gefühlt und voller Stolz im Weser-Stadion vor diesen unglaublich Fans gespielt. Eine Zeit, die ich nie vergessen werde. Umso trauriger macht es mich, wenn ich einige von euch zuletzt enttäuscht habe. Der Mannschaft sowie dem gesamten Verein und vor allem euch wünsche ich nur das Beste für die Zukunft und vor allem viel Erfolg! Am besten schon am Samstag: holt euch den Sieg gegen den HSV und damit drei wichtige Punkte im Abstiegskampf! Ich drücke von den USA aus die Daumen! Euer Lamine @werderbremen
- While Sane says goodbye, midfielder Uri Rosell says hello to his new Orlando City fans.
Allow me to re-introduce myself— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) February 22, 2018
Uri Rosell has a message for you, the fans. #VamosOrlando pic.twitter.com/wOjvcYBljJ
- Meet Orlando City’s latest signing, Abraham Valbuena, who will represent Orlando City in the FIFA 18 gaming league called eMLS. Valbuena has been playing FIFA for 15 years and will be a key part of the club I’m sure.
- USMNT and FC Dallas defender Kellyn Acosta underwent surgery for a sports hernia and is out for six to eight weeks.
- In a desperate plea for relevance, former FIFA President Sepp Blatter has endorsed Morocco for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
- Stoke City’s future is looking brighter than ever, which is good news for Orlando City as Stoke is its English Premier League affiliate.
- Meanwhile, Sunderland’s owner is literally trying to give his club away for free...with a catch.
Exclusive: Sunderland owner Ellis Short prepared to give club away for FREE - so long as any new owner takes on substantial debts.— Richard Conway, BBC (@richard_conway) February 22, 2018
More @BBCSport @bbc5live pic.twitter.com/faDSOKENev
- Another kit was leaked yesterday, with LAFC’s home and away jerseys revealed. They’d look great if they didn’t have that logo plastered across the front with red coloring that doesn’t match the club’s branding at all. Compare it to Orlando’s seamless Orlando Health logo and it’s no question which kit is better.
- FIFA’s U-17 and U-20 World Cups may possibly be streamlined into one big 48-team tournament.
- I leave you tonight with this ominous tweet from Orlando City. It certainly looks like it could be the official kit release, but we may have to show up this morning to find out.
11:45 a.m. Tomorrow. Wall Street Plaza. Be there. #FaceOfCity pic.twitter.com/M1Yd8BEN6i— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) February 23, 2018
Have a great Friday, everyone! We’ve got our final preseason game to look forward to tomorrow so finish your week strong and let’s get after it this weekend. Vamos Orlando!