What’s up, Mane Landers? Not only is it Friday, but it’s game day! Orlando City will be spending the evening in Pennsylvania where it will take on the Philadelphia Union at 8 p.m. ET. Hopefully the team will win its third straight game, but it won’t be easy on the road. So we need to make sure the Lions have every bit of our support here from home. We’ll be doing our part with coverage to get you ready for the game and that starts with today’s links!
Orlando City Faces Off Against the Union
Fresh off their first two-goal comeback victory in club history, the Lions are riding high into Talen Energy Stadium to try to come home with points against the Union. Despite being ahead of them in the early MLS standings, winning on the road is never easy and Head Coach Jason Kreis fully believes Philadelphia to be a team better than its record may suggest.
“Very, very dangerous team. A team that, if you look at the last two matches, they’ve played really positively and should’ve probably gotten — no doubt about it — should have gotten better results in those two matches,” Kreis said.
Orlando’s Defense to be Tested by Hungry Philly Attack
While most of the talk this season has been on Orlando’s attack thanks to the incredible comeback wins, Orlando’s defense will be under scrutiny tonight against a Philadelphia offense that is starting to find its footing. Orlando has allowed 10 goals this season — tied for worst in the Eastern Conference — and may be without center back Jonathan Spector after he re-entered concussion protocol this week. This gives the Union offense a good opportunity to ride momentum it found last weekend against the San Jose Earthquakes, when the Union scored just its third goal of the season.
Of the Philadelphia attackers looking to capitalize on Orlando’s defensive deficiencies, none are drooling at the match-up quite like winger David Accam. In his seven games against Orlando City, the former Chicago Fire player has scored six goals and logged three assists. Accam has yet to score in 2018, but the stage is set for a breakout performance against his favorite opponent. For Orlando’s sake, let’s hope Accam’s frustrations continue.
Dom Dwyer Finishes Second in Goal of the Week Voting...Again
Despite earning an impressive 40% of the vote, Orlando City forward Dom Dwyer sadly did not win the honor of MLS Goal of the Week. Dwyer’s game-winning goal in the final moments of last week’s game lost out to Johnny Russel’s stylish solo goal, causing Dwyer to place second in the voting for the second straight week. At least MLS recognized Dwyer’s goal as one of his top five since joining the league:
Learning About the Thorns in the Pride’s Side
The last time the Portland Thorns played an NWSL game at home, they defeated the Orlando Pride in the playoffs and would go on to become NWSL champions. This weekend, the Pride head back to Providence Park to take on the Thorns in the defending champs’ first home game. The Pride will have their work cut out for them Sunday against a Thorns side that has won 18 out of 22 home games.
But there is hope. The Thorns will be without star midfielder Tobin Heath, who is still nursing a nagging ankle injury. Along with Heath, defender Emily Menges will be sidelined Sunday and Lindsey Horan remains a question mark heading into the game after picking up a calf contusion playing with the U.S. Women’s National Team. However, the Pride will have to deal with Swiss forward Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic as she makes her Thorns debut.
- MLS veteran Javier Morales is hanging up his boots after a storied career. Morales is one of just 19 players with 50 goals and 50 assists in MLS.
- The Seattle Sounders will be without Clint Dempsey for an additional week it seems.
- Atletico Madrid’s Fernando Torres could be on his way to MLS this summer, and the Chicago Fire are calling dibs thanks to discovery rights.
- In perhaps one of the dirtiest attempts at throwing shade I’ve ever heard of, Portland Thorns Head Coach Mark Parsons grabbed a chunk of grass and soil and then shook a referee’s hand, according to the Professional Soccer Referees Association.
- Paris Saint-Germain denies that it is facing any sanctions despite an investigation by UEFA.
That’s all for links today, folks. I’m sure you’re all hyped for tonight’s Orlando City game, but keep an eye out for some Pride players serving their international teams today. Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond will look to push Australia into the 2019 Women’s World Cup when the Matildas play Japan at 9:45 a.m. ET. Meanwhile in Chile, Marta, Monica, and Poliana will represent Brazil against Bolivia in the 2018 Copa América Femenina at 6 p.m. ET. Have a great Friday!