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Lion Links: 3/31/18

What Orlando City’s dollar value means, movie night with Sacha, Pride players ready for ‘homecoming,’ and more.

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

Happy double match day, Orlando City and Orlando Pride fans! Not only is it a double match day, but both games are in the afternoon, so your evening will be free and you can get to bed at a decent hour. That’s important because the kids will be up super early due to make sure the Easter Bunny visited and filled their baskets with enough sugar to ensure they wind up in rehab.

Whoops, sorry. I lost my focus for a second like this little guy.

OK, now that I’ve regained my focus, it’s my job to inform you that the Lions are hosting the Red Bulls today at 1 p.m. (preview and how to watch can be found here), and Lifetime’s coverage of the Pride at the Washington Spirit begins at 3:30 p.m.

Before I go diving into today’s Lion Links, here’s a public service announcement and a request to give what you can.

And now, on to our top stories at this hour.

Everyone’s Gone to the Movies...with Sacha

Forgive my self indulgence of putting a Steely Dan song title in the above headline (I love the Dan), but it certainly fits. Orlando City midfielder Sacha Kljestan’s decision to buy out a whole movie theater for a screening of the film Love, Simon was a big hit, as all tickets were claimed. The club put together this video about the event and you can hear directly from Kljestan why he decided to do this. If you don’t see the embedded video below, you can find it by clicking this link.

What Does Orlando City’s $490.53 Million Evaluation Mean?

If the evaluation of nearly half a billion dollars — used as the basis for the sale of an 8.63 percent stake to Albert Friedberg — is accurate regarding Orlando City, it represents a huge leap in recent values placed on MLS clubs.’s Roger Simmons writes that it would be a huge jump from the $272 million that Forbes placed on OCSC as of 2016 (and wrote about in 2017) — which placed it fifth in MLS — and it would also push the club’s value above that of 15 National Hockey League teams. The LA Galaxy was the league’s most valuable club per the 2017 Forbes article, at $315 million. If Orlando City’s value jumped by more than $200 million in two years, that would show remarkable growth for Major League Soccer. Simmons correctly points out that the NHL team values could have gone up since the 2017 Forbes report, but it’s hard to imagine the clubs in that league kept up that kind of pace.

Pride Players Ready for Homecoming

When the Pride visit Washington today, several members of the team will be facing their old squad. Ali Krieger, Shelina Zadorsky, Ashlyn Harris, Toni Pressley, and Christine Nairn have all worn Spirit colors in their careers. Beyond having played for Washington, Krieger’s hometown of Dumfries, VA, isn’t too far away.

“It’s always nice to go to my home town and see my friends and my family,” Krieger said. “I’ve always said that. It’s enjoyable in that way. You know, I’ll always be happy the club at the time, for those four years, gave me that opportunity and I respect that.

“But, obviously, I’ve been playing here. This is my second year and I’m so proud to be wearing purple and to play for this club and organizations. Always, to have the Pride – no pun intended – going into this game in my home town is always exciting. I had a lot of joy in my time there. There’s no negative feelings whatsoever.”

Speaking of Krieger, How Long Might She Play?

As many players get older, they get the inevitable questions about how much longer they might keep putting their bodies through the rigors of professional sports. Jordan Culver asked such questions of Pride defender Ali Krieger and the good news is that she says she can’t see herself giving up the game in the near future.

“I guess as I get older … I don’t know. I enjoy it every year a little bit more. I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.”

“Everyone tends to think as you get older, you tend to wear off physically, mentally and you’re just emotionally maybe not there,” she said. “I love the game so much. I know I take good care of my body and I know and I understand I need to do a little bit extra every year I continue to play.”

Free Kicks
  • In her latest installment of the Chronicles of Nairnia, Orlando Pride midfielder Christine Nairn interviews Estelle Johnson of the Washington Spirit.
  • Portland Thorns coach Mark Parsons has been suspended two matches and fined for an interaction with an official following his team’s loss to the North Carolina Courage last weekend. The suspension includes Orlando’s visit to Portland on April 15. However, the Thorns have filed an appeal.
  • Orlando City youth tryouts start May 1. Here’s how to get your kids involved.
  • Manchester United Manager Jose Mourinho says Zlatan will be good for soccer in the U.S.
  • It’s a great day for classical music fans, as those born on this date include composers Johann Sebastian Bach (1685) and Joseph Haydn (1732). Also calling today their birthdays are former St. Elsewhere star and voice of KITT William Daniels (1927), hockey legend Gordie Howe (1928), The Partridge Family mom Shirley Jones (1934), Herb Alpert (1935), Christopher Walken (1943), Welcome Back, Kotter’s Gabe Kaplan (1945), Al Gore (1948), Cheers actress Rhea Perlman (1948), AC/DC guitarist Angus Young (1955), hockey’s Pavel Bure (1971), and Ewan McGregor (1971).

That’s all for me today, folks. We’ll have full coverage of today’s Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches, so check back with us throughout this very busy Saturday.