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Lion Links: 4/28/18

Orlando City getting set for set pieces, Cash gets noticed, a familiar face awaits Jason Kreis, and more.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Saturday, folks. It’s an Orlando Pride match day, as the women in purple are set to take on the visiting Seattle Reign at Orlando City Stadium tonight at 7:30 p.m. Our Scott Carnevale will be on hand to bring you full coverage of the event. However, don’t let that stop you from going out and supporting the team in person. There is no substitute for being there and you can still read about it when you get home.

The men return to action tomorrow out in Colorado, where they’ll take on the Rapids at 4 p.m. ET. The Lions traveled on Friday and will train today, play tomorrow, then train again on Monday before returning to Central Florida.

With the preamble out of the way, let’s head into today’s top stories.

Lions Get Set for Set Pieces

Orlando City’s defense has been pretty solid over the month of April with the exception of one pesky area that includes the entire team — dead ball situations. But it’s something the club is working hard to correct (which is music to every Orlando City fan’s ears). Here’s Will Johnson on the subject:

“We’ve missed man-marks. We’ve missed zonal responsibilities. I think guys are committed. I think we’re focused on the play but at the same time, we had a guy man-marked at the end of the last game and that fell through and nobody else picked it up or recognized it quick enough to do something about it.

“It’s on all of us and it’s something that we’ve addressed a lot throughout the week. Luckily, we’re still winning games while these mistakes are happening and we’ll correct them. It’s a new group. We’ve all got to learn our responsibilities on the field and jell together and figure these things out as we go.”

Mueller Gets Love from the Dugout Video Series

We’re not the only folks who have been digging what we’re seeing from rookie Cash Mueller on the soccer pitch this season. The folks putting together the Dugout video series have added Mueller to their MLS Rising Star series. Mueller himself speaks in the piece, as well as Dom Dwyer and Sacha Kljestan, as the Wisconsin product is enjoying a great run of form early in his first season. Give it a look.

Colorado’s Martinez Presents a Familiar Face for Jason Kreis

Back in 2012, Enzo Martinez was drafted by Real Salt Lake, while Jason Kreis was at the helm. But the No. 17 SuperDraft selection didn’t see MLS action in two seasons under Kreis. The midfielder no doubt was in a frustrating situation and will want to show his old coach what he can do when the Rapids host the Lions tomorrow. It’s possible that Martinez just wasn’t ready, but after dropping down to the USL level, he played his way back into the top flight. Kreis said he was happy for the Rapids’ midfielder.

“I’m pleased for Enzo, he’s a terrific young man, and I’m also pleased for what that means for all the players that are coming up as professionals in our league,” said Kreis. “I’m also finally pleased that it shows something about the developmental process and the system that we have in place where a player can drop down to the second level for a little while and come back up.”

USWNT to Play Pair of Friendlies vs. Chile

While folks are enjoying their Labor Day weekends at the end of the summer, the United States Women’s National Team players will be hard at work. The USWNT will face Chile in a pair of friendlies on Aug. 31 and Sept. 4. The matches add to a typically busy international schedule for the U.S., which piles on games in every available window, in addition to special events such as the upcoming Tournament of Nations. But it’s pretty awesome that the USWNT continues to play different opponents. By the end of 2018, the U.S. will have played such nations as England, Germany, France, Brazil, Australia, Japan, China, Denmark, and Mexico, in addition to Chile.

Free Kicks
  • We may not have the Avengers in real life, but Orlando’s First Lady of Soccer is still out there, doing good work.
  • Speaking of comic book heroes, Dark Horse Comics has created hero personas for Portland Timbers and Thorns players. I’d love to see that for Orlando City and Pride players.
  • Where will Arsene Wenger wind up after he’s done at Arsenal? PSG and the Chinese Super League are lining up for his services, reportedly.
  • After President Trump’s tweet the other day about the World Cup bid, FIFA had the audacity to talk about ethics. Yes, that FIFA.
  • Those born on this date include the fifth president of the United States, James Monroe (1758), Oskar Schindler (of ‘list’ fame — 1908), automobile creator Ferruccio Lamborghini (1916), Saddam Hussein (1937), Ann-Margret (1941), Terry Pratchett — one of my all-time favorite writers — (1948), Jay Leno (1950), golf’s John Daly (1966), hockey’s Nicklas Lidstrom (1970), Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone (1970), Lost and Hawaii Five-0 actor Jorge Garcia (1973), Jessica Alba (1981), Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata (1988), and Blake Bortles (1992).

That’s all my time for today. Check back here later for full coverage of tonight’s Pride match.

I’ll be listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon today in honor of it reaching No. 1 on this date in 1973 — a whopping 45 years ago! The album stayed on the charts for an unbelievable 741 straight weeks. If you own it (or have Spotify), give it a spin today.