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Lion Links: 3/26/18

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Pride deserve even bigger crowds, Rachel Hill is confident, Austin to get two soccer teams(?), and more!

Carlos Romero, The Mane Land

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! So, Orlando City didn’t lose this weekend. Well done, lads! The Pride earned a point in their season opener against the Utah Royals, despite losing Alex Morgan at halftime. The important thing is that we now have more soccer to watch in Orlando. Let’s get to the Links.

Pride in the Pride

When you’re right, you’re right, and this time Mike Bianchi is right. The Orlando Pride are not just one of the best teams in the NWSL, they are one of, if not the best, team in Orlando. The Magic haven’t made the playoffs since 2011-2012, and Orlando City hasn’t made the playoffs since entering MLS. The Pride made the playoffs last season, and there’s every chance they will do so again this year. Despite that, the Magic averaged 18,000 fans per game, while the Pride averaged 6,186 supporters per match. The Pride deserve to have at least as many people at their matches as any other team in the city.

Rachel Hill is Confident

Rachel Hill played for Perth Glory FC in the Australian W-League between seasons for the Orlando Pride, and it may have made quite a difference in her confidence heading into the 2018 NWSL season. Hill led the W-League in assists, with six, and finished third in goals, with nine. That experience was very instructive and valuable as she enters her second year with the Pride. That confidence is needed on a team that has the likes of Marta, Alex Morgan, and Sydney Leroux. Her time in the W-League should yield dividends for the Pride going forward.

Young Lions Fall in Generation Adidas Cup

The Orlando City U-17s lost their first match in the Generation Adidas Cup to Monterrey, 2-0. The young Lions are now 1-1-0 after two matches and stand second in Group D of the Premier Division, on three points. Orlando still has an outside chance to win the group but the Lions will need to beat Houston Dynamo today and hope for a lopsided win by Real Salt Lake over Monterrey. Today’s game is at 1 p.m. according to MLSSoccer.com but at noon according to the OCSC DA Twitter feed (see below), so... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Austin Getting Two Teams

We’re all familiar with the drama surrounding the Columbus Crew being moved to Austin, TX. Pretty much everyone in the country is against the move other than Precourt Sports Ventures and soccer fans in Austin. There’s even the #SaveTheCrew movement, though it may be a doomed prospect at this point. However, for a while there were some in Austin that weren’t that excited. There was already a USL team planned for Austin and they were told to hold off for the MLS squad. That is no longer the case, as both teams seem to be moving forward with their plans. We will have to wait to see how it all plays out.

Free Kicks
  • I’m not sure if this was part of a soccer match or the “Finish Him” move from Mortal Kombat. Regardless, it resulted in a red card.
  • Famous Birthdays for today include: actress Keira Knightly (33), rocker Steven Tyler (70), singer Diana Ross (74), football player Von Miller (29), singer Kenny Chesney (50), designer Guccio Gucci (1881-1953), Grey’s Anatomy actor T.R. Knight (45), actress Leslie Mann (46), actor Martin Short (68), poet Robert Frost (1874-1963), actor James Caan (78), actor Leonard “Live long, and prosper” Nimoy (1931-2015), and Jennifer “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” Grey (58).

That’s going to do it for the Links today. I hope you have a great week, and I’ll see you next month.