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Lion Links: 3/25/18

The Pride draw their opener, Yoshi sees red for Peru, Larin still supports Orlando, and more.

Croatia v Peru - International Friendly Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. It’s been an exciting weekend, highlighted by the return of the Orlando Pride. Unfortunately, the return ended in a draw and saw Alex Morgan leave before the halftime whistle, but more on that to come.

It’s also been a conveniently timed bye week for the Lions, who have several key players that are still working themselves into shape for their 2018 debuts. I will admit though: I really missed the boys in purple this weekend.

Fortunately for you, The Mane Land didn’t have a bye week. So here I am, serving up your Sunday helping of Lion Links. Bon appetite.

Pride Draw Season Opener, Morgan Suffers Potential Concussion

In what will be remembered as a chippy affair full of collisions, the Orlando Pride drew their season opener, 1-1, as they hosted Utah Royals FC. With the result now decided, we’re all left to wait in anxious anticipation for word on the status of star striker Alex Morgan, who left the field just prior to halftime and is undergoing concussion protocol. Meanwhile, Marta, who drew the Pride level by dispatching a penalty kick with ease in the 21st minute, was voted as Star of the Match by the Pride’s supporters.

And check in later today for our five takeaways from Scott Carnevale and a photo gallery from Carlos Romero.

Landon Donovon Believes Youth is Key for USMNT Success

Donovan, a USMNT legend with 57 goals over 157 caps, was the captain and the face of U.S. soccer throughout some of the country’s most successful campaigns. He’s hurting with the rest of us as our national team has struggled as of late, painfully failing to qualify for this summer’s World Cup in Russia. His suggestion for improvement? Focus on the young American talent of MLS, and ensure that they see playing time.

“We need Nick Limas and Tommy Thompsons and a plethora of other guys throughout the league getting opportunities to play and do well and succeed if we’re ever going to succeed at the national-team level,” said Donovan, whose Club Leon side will likely face Lima and Thompson at some point during their friendly with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday. “It’s just a fact of life…Players like that getting opportunities are going to lead to us winning a World Cup someday – as long as we figure out that that’s what we need to do. I’m hopeful that that will happen.”

Another name that Donovan failed to mention here, but absolutely falls into this category, is the Lions’ Chris Mueller. The no. 6 overall pick out of Wisconsin is a young talent that isn’t quite yet on the radar of the national team, but could be with some big performances. Due to injuries to the Lions’ attacking depth, Mueller has been getting significant playing time under his belt. It’s only a matter of time until he converts these opportunities.

Meet the New (USMNT) Kids on the Block

It’s almost as if someone was listening to Landon. The U.S. men’s national team has recently called up some newer, younger faces for upcoming friendlies. Recognizable and exciting names such as Tim Weah, Antonee Robinson, and Marky Delgado will be donning the new stars-and-stripes-themed jerseys in a time in which the program is finally looking towards the future. Meet the players that will hopefully reinvigorate the squad and lead the U.S. to glory down the road.

Yoshi Sees Red for Peru

Orlando City’s Yoshimar Yotun was sent off in Friday’s international friendly vs. Croatia for a second yellow. It appears he was shown a second yellow (and the subsequent red) when he obstructed Real Madrid superstar Luka Modric’s attempt at a quick-start free kick. It also appears that Yotun was unaware of a stoppage in play, but I’ll let you decide:

Unfortunately for Yoshi, he will be suspended for Peru’s next friendly against Iceland.

Cyle Larin Expresses Support for Orlando City

Besiktas striker and former Lion Cyle Larin was recently interviewed during his time with Canada and expressed support for his former side.

“I’ll always support Orlando,” said Larin. “I’ve been there since the start of my professional career. I have a lot of teammates that are friends there so I hope for the best for them.”

Larin, who left the Lions under contentious circumstances, has yet to see the field for his new team, but he remains optimistic that he can settle in and make in impact down the line as Bestikas pushes for a third consecutive league championship.

“Hopefully I can get into a game. We have a lot of important games coming up and we have to go into every one and make sure we win and hopefully we can be champions again.”

Free Kicks

What a weekend, right? The Pride are back and the Lions got some rest. Hopefully, you did too. Remember to check back in with us for updates on the status of Alex Morgan, and for all things Orlando soccer.

Until next time, Mane Landers, have an excellent week.