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Lion Links: 3/24/18

New Pride player, OCSC U-17s win GA Cup opener, NWSL figures to watch, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at New York City FC Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Happy game day, Mane Landers! The Pride open up their season at home tonight when they take on Utah Royals FC. In the first two years of existence, Orlando traveled to Portland and lost 2-1 in 2016 and 2-0 in 2017. However, the Pride are undefeated in home openers. Orlando won 3-1 win against Houston in 2016 and a late Danica Evans goal was just enough to earn the Pride a 1-1 draw last season. One of these trends is bound to break, as the 2018 Orlando Pride plays its season and home opener at the same time.

Now for some links.

Orlando Pride sign UCF Product

Former UCF midfielder Bridget Callahan joined the Pride yesterday as a National Team Replacement player. Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond are both on international duty with Australia and, per NWSL rules, Orlando can sign replacement players for those on international leave. Callahan may be joined by other National Team Replacement players as Marta, Monica, and Poliana are all set to leave for the Brazilian National Team after Saturday’s game. The depth of the Pride will be tested early on, as Camila remains out while rehabbing her knee injury.

Tonight’s game is against Utah, which will play in its first ever match.

Star NWSL Players

Richard Farley of FourFourTwo broke down the people that will define this NWSL season. The list includes U.S. Women’s National Team member and 2015 NWSL MVP Crystal Dunn, Utah Royals’ Laura Harvey — one of the most reputable head coaches in the league — reigning MVP Sam Kerr, USWNT Head Coach Jill Ellis, and many more. There are no Pride players or staff mentioned but everyone on Farley’s list is will have a huge impact on the season.

Orlando City Academy U-17s Open GA Cup with Win

Yesterday, the Orlando City U-17s beat Real Salt Lake, 1-0 in the first game of the Generation Adidas Cup. The goal came from Jordan Bender. The Lions currently sit in second place in Group D of the Premier Division through goal differential and can move up to first with a win over Monterrey tomorrow. The game can be watched via YouTube.

Each division of the Generation Adidas Cup consists of four groups, with each group holding four teams. Each team plays three games — one against each team in the group — with the group winners advancing to the semifinals.

Free Kicks
  • On Wednesday, Manchester United announced the club will have a women’s team next year. Yesterday, Southhampton joined them.
  • Here’s a highlight reel of Orlando City training.