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Lion Links: 4/1/18

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The Lions topple the Red Bulls, the Pride fall to the Spirit, Zlatan's magical Galaxy debut, and more.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Hey there, Mane Landers. Happy Passover and Easter Sunday to those of you that celebrate, and may the force be with those of you that will be managing celebrating children as they pour excessive loads of sugar into their already maniacal, sugar-crazed bodies. I mean, you probably bought it, so you knew what you were signing up for.

Personally, I’ll be having a relaxed day: no plans, no obligations, no rushing anywhere, nothing. I’ll be in semi-hibernation mode as I pour over the weekend’s results and the film from yesterday’s Orlando City and Pride matches. We were treated to some great matches this weekend, and the ladies and gents in purple deserve all of the credit after putting in tireless efforts in their respective bouts. I can’t wait to rewatch these.

Before I jump into that though, I’m also here to bring you your Sunday portion of Lion Links:

Lions down Red Bulls 4-3, Notch First Win of 2018

In what very quickly became a contentiously physical, almost violent battle, Orlando City picked up its first win of the season against the New York Red Bulls. An early seventh-minute goal from New York’s Florian Valot set the stage for what became a back-and-forth, high-scoring affair, as a total of seven goals were scored. The return of star striker Dom Dwyer certainly helped that fact, as he netted twice — once in the first half and once in the second. Despite the intensity and physicality in the match, the Lions will hopefully escape with those three points in hand unscathed and unaffected by any serious injuries, though there will be a few things to monitor going forward.

And be sure to check out Guilherme Torres’ five takeaways from the match and Carlos Romero’s photo gallery from the game later this morning.

The Pride fall 2-0 to Washington Spirit

In an away match defined by a makeshift Pride roster due to injuries, the Washington Spirit bested the women in purple, 2-0. Mallory Pugh did, well, Mallory Pugh things, and was crucial to the Spirit's triumph. Notching a late goal to put the Spirit up 1-0, Pugh was also pivotal in the second goal which sealed the result. Our own Scott Carnevale provides you with an in-depth match recap, including highlights. The Pride are winless through their first two matches of the NWSL season. There's only one direction to go from here, and the Lions have set a good example of how to grab a gritty win despite the stumbling start to the season.

Stoneman Douglas High Students Guests at OCSC vs. NYRB

In a show of solidarity with those affected by the recent tragedy at the Florida high school, Orlando City reached out to the school, as well as Coral Springs United FC, and invited them to attend yesterday’s match against the New York Red Bulls. Our City Beautiful is a wonderfully diverse and inclusive community that has bonded throughout the years despite turbulent and tragic circumstances. I’m grateful that the club we support reflects this characteristic.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Makes Instant Impact in Debut

The LA Galaxy's marquee signing made a huge statement in his debut for his new club, scoring twice (including the winner) in a come-from-behind win against MLS newcomers LAFC. The budding rivalry, affectionately nicknamed "El Trafico," was a 4-3 thriller that LAFC lead 3-0 early on. Zlatan's second half introduction was the spark that made the difference, as he scored both the equalizing and match winning goals in dramatic fashion. This was a dream debut for the Swedish icon, and an immediate signal to the rest of MLS: Zlatan is here.

Free Kicks
  • First-ever club captain and Brazilian legend Kaká was in Orlando City Stadium to soak in yesterday’s match against New York. We miss you, O Captain, My Captain!
  • Orlando City’s U-17s wrapped up their Generation Adidas Cup with a 3-0 win over Columbus Crew.

Well, Mane Landers, that’s about all I’ve got for you today. I hope you enjoy the remainder of your Sunday, and remember to check back in with us frequently to stay up to date on Orlando City and Pride news and updates. Let’s hope the Lions rest up this week and continue to keep this momentum going and the Pride find their way back from this tough start.

Have a great week, folks.