Good morning, Mane Landers. It’s the final day before the 2018 MLS season kicks off and I’m sure everyone is excited for the day to hurry up and pass so we can all get to some Orlando City soccer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a fun and eventful preseason, but the time is coming for us to see the Lions in MLS action. Or at least the ones not suspended or injured... Anyway, let’s get to some links!
Lions Ready to Roll
There are quite a few uncertainties regarding how the Lions will line up tomorrow given the injury news from earlier this week. However, the players available to suit up against D.C. United tomorrow night are fired up for the season-opener.
“Opening games are interesting,” Lions midfielder Will Johnson said. “You’re never quite sure what to expect, but you’re a little more hyped up. A little more adrenaline. You’ve just got to adjust on the fly. We’ve got guys who’ve played in the league now for quite a few years who will help out the younger guys and kind of fix things on the fly, if that’s what we need.”
While our attention will largely be on Orlando City, it will be interesting to see how United lines up with its new-look offense. United will be without Luciano Acosta due to suspension but will still have other attacking threats in Bruno Miranda, Yamil Asad, and USMNT midfielder Paul Arriola.
The Chronicles of Nairnia Begin
Orlando Pride midfielder Christine Nairn has teamed up with Our Game Magazine to present a series dedicated to shining the light on some of the lesser-known players in the NWSL. Nairn’s first guest is fellow Pride teammate Toni Pressley, who has impressed fans with her long-range shooting skills but isn’t one of the more notable players in the league. Check out Nairn’s interview with Pressley to find out her advice to younger players, her switch to veganism, and her dream job once her playing career is over.
Lions Land in MLS 2018 Prediction Lists
There’s little time left for experts and MLS-fans alike to get their 2018 predictions in and the guys over at goal.com gave a crack at naming who will win some of the most coveted titles in MLS. You’ll see lots of mentions about Toronto FC, a unanimous choice to win the Supporters’ Shield, but dig deep enough and you’ll see Orlando City as dark horse candidates after its impressive off-season. Also making the list is Orlando Head Coach Jason Kreis as a Coach of the Year contender if he can take the Lions from a 10th place conference finish to Orlando’s first playoff berth.
USWNT Start SheBelieves Cup With Win Over Germany
The U.S. Women’s National Team is off to a hot start in the SheBelieves Cup after beating Germany, 1-0 at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, OH. The only goal came in the 16th minute with Orlando Pride star Alex Morgan delivering a beautiful flick-on to Megan Rapinoe, who buried it into the net.
Hopefully, the USWNT will keep the momentum going in its next match this Sunday, March 4, against France.
- The Pride may have lost its preseason game against Florida State, but that takes nothing away from Sydney Leroux’s first goal for her new team. Expect to see a lot of this in the coming months.
And check out Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni’s words after the preseason, featuring some on-site reporting from our very own Dave Rohe.
- Loosening up before the season’s start, Scott Sutter headed to Top Golf and put his soccer skills to good use.
- Orlando Pride development academy goalkeeper Taylor Fox was one of 28 players to be called up for a U.S. U-16 Girls’ National Team training camp next week. Way to go, Taylor!
- U.S. Men’s National Team Interim Manager David Sarachan outlined the details for the camp that will be held later this month in preparation for the friendly against Paraguay on March 27.
- PSG forward Neymar could be out for three months according to a Brazil team doctor. Although disappointing for PSG fans, that timetable should give Neymar enough time to recover for the FIFA World Cup this summer.
- Former Lion draft pick Sidney Rivera has a new gig in the National Premier Soccer League.
- We end our links with a little Will Ferrell inspired hazing to welcome LAFC to MLS by some of the players from around the league.
That’s all from me. If you’re heading out to the Orlando City Pub Crawl then drink responsibly and don’t be afraid to ask for an Uber. Keep checking in with us at The Mane Land for our first match preview of the season and an Intelligence Report from our friends over at Black and Red United.