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Lion Links: 3/9/18

Orlando’s defense comes together, Pride players make World XI, International Women’s Day, and much more.

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Brazil vs Sweden -  Semi Final: Women's Football - Olympics: Day 11 Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Hey Mane Landers, it’s been a busy week with the SheBelieves Cup finishing up right here in Orlando but the weekend is in sight. And along with the weekend comes another Orlando City home game. The only thing between us and seeing our boys in purple take on Minnesota United is today, so let’s start the day off right with some Lion Links!

Orlando City’s Defense Bonding Through Competition

With more new faces than old, Orlando City’s defense is still going through some growing pains. But team captain Jonathan Spector and the rest of the defense are confident that they will become a cohesive unit soon, in large part due to the amount of competition at each position to push players. Spector was also quick to say that Orlando must be better at defending set pieces after D.C. United’s lone goal last week.

Marta and Morgan Make FIFPro Women’s World XI

In its third installment, FIFPro announced its Women’s World XI and Orlando Pride players Marta and Alex Morgan both made the cut. This is both Marta and Morgan’s second straight year on the World XI, with Marta edging out USWNT midfielder Carli Lloyd by just four votes. Selected by more than 4,100 first-division female players, Morgan recognizes the importance of the World XI on women’s soccer as a whole.

“It’s always exciting to be considered as one of the top players in the world,” Morgan told FIFPro. “For women’s football to have our own World XI is incredible. It helps promote the women’s game. It helps female footballers recognize the talent among their peers and I’m really happy to encourage and be a part of that.”

Announcing the Women’s World XI yesterday on International Women’s Day, FIFPro asked some of the selected players about the current fight for gender equality in soccer culture. Marta and Morgan both spoke out about the adversity they have faced and their thoughts on the future of women’s soccer. So check out their inspiring words along with what the other women on the World XI had to say.

Orlando Pride Beat USF 5-1 in Preseason Exhibition

The Orlando Pride headed down to Tampa to take on the University of South Florida in preparation of the 2018 NWSL season. Sydney Leroux opened the scoring in the fourth minute and the Pride never looked back with goals from Danica Evans and Dani Weatherholt in the first half. In the second half, Chioma Ubogagu found the back of the net and Christine Nairn chipped USF’s goalkeeper after the Bulls scored.

The NWSL Celebrates International Women’s Day

Speaking of International Women’s Day, the NWSL sat down with some of this year’s draft picks to learn about the women in their lives who push them to be their best and inspire them. Pride forward Nadia Gomes praised her mom for always being willing to go out and play soccer with her and being there when needed. The NWSL also asked them who their favorite players were. Given her answer, Gomes must’ve been pretty happy to have been picked by the Pride.

USWNT Honors Alyssa Alhadeff in SheBelieves Cup

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School soccer player Alyssa Alhadeff was one of the 17 people who had their lives cut far too short by a gunman last month on Valentine’s Day. The USWNT honored Alhadeff Wednesday night in the SheBelieves Cup finale by placing her cleats alongside players like Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan, players the young freshman dreamed of playing with some day. The USWNT also invited out Alhadeff’s friends and family to the match, giving the mourning a chance to celebrate and be happy at a time where happiness is in short supply. Morgan spoke about the tribute to Alhadeff after the match.

Lions’ Light Show Gives Fans Unique Experience

If you attended last week’s season opener, you probably noticed a pre-game atmosphere like no other. Orlando City Vice President of Marketing Kevin Coulter and his team have been experimenting with LED lights to give fans an enhanced match presentation. This Saturday’s night game against Minnesota United should feature the light show again so keep your eyes peeled if you’ll be cheering on our Lions.

Free Kicks
  • Want to enjoy chicken and waffle skewers and a quiche with Orlando Pride Head CoachTom Sermanni? Then register for the Pride Brunch on March 18 at Sideshow at Wall Street Plaza. I’m not sure which part is more enticing, the bottomless mimosas or the fact that registration comes with a ticket to the season opener on March 24 against Utah Royals FC.
  • Check out Orlando Pride forward Sydney Leroux celebrating International Women’s Day on instagram. Dom who?

Happy International Women’s Day!

A post shared by Sydney Leroux Dwyer (@sydneyleroux) on

  • Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger accepted USWNT defender Becky Sauerbrunn’s Tomb Raider challenge so stay tuned for her to annihilate and challenge some people of her own.