Welcome back, Mane Landers! Overall this was a great week with both the Lions and the Pride getting three points. We also had international competitions to pass the days, including Champions League semifinals. Oftentimes it’s difficult to pick out the topics for this column, and sometimes the bad is ugly or vice versa. However, this week it was really quite easy, and I think you’ll agree.
With its 3-2 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, Orlando City extended its winning streak to four. In those games the Lions have scored 12 goals, while allowing seven. Almost as important, they haven’t allowed a goal in the run of play in 336 minutes. That’s a long time. The last five opponents’ goals have all come from set pieces. While that might not seem good, it is something that the team can work on. The revamped defense is keeping opposing offenses out of the net even without Jonathan Spector and Scott Sutter. With Dom Dwyer and Chris Mueller on multi-game scoring streaks, the offense is on fire. I’m not saying that things can’t get better, but enjoy this while it lasts, because runs like this help make playoff runs possible.
Nazis are bad. I suppose I could end this section right there, but I’ll go ahead and expound a bit. recently we found out that there are neo-Nazi football hooligans in Russia. It sounds like a bad B-movie plot, but it’s all too real. It is less than two months until the World Cup starts in Russia, and those hooligans are already there. While the Russian state might be trying to crack down on such behavior, it’s a good bet that we’ll see this rear its ugly head this summer. The first match is between Russia and Saudi Arabia. How do you think neo-Nazis will react to Muslim Saudi Arabian soccer fans? There’s already enough tension between various countries when it comes to soccer matches, but throw in religious and political ideologies, and it’s a recipe for bad, bad things.
Last Sunday the Orlando Pride defeated the Houston Dash, 1-0, for their first win of the season. Unfortunately, there were only a record low 3,890 supporters in attendance. There are potentially many reasons for the low turnout. The Lions played the night before and people may have decided to spend their money that weekend on the MLS squad. Stars like Marta and Alanna Kennedy were away with their Brazilian and Australian teammates at the Copa América and the Asian Cup, respectively. The NWSL isn’t as popular as MLS. While all of these things might be true, they are still just excuses.
The Pride still had the third highest attendance in the NWSL over the weekend, and they weren’t far behind being number two. Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux were still in the starting lineup. The match started at 5 p.m., not 8 p.m. on a school night. We like to say that Orlando is the soccer capital of the South, but if we’re going to make such claims we need to back that up with attendance at matches.
That’s going to do it for this week, everyone. I look forward to reading your comments below. Go City! Go Pride!