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Lion Links: 4/6/18

Alex Morgan scores twice for USWNT, Kreis compares season starts, Pride players abroad, and much more

Hey Mane Landers, I hope you’re having a good week so far. Thank gosh it’s Friday, right? Just a couple hours away from kicking back and relaxing for the weekend. We’ve got some Orlando City soccer this Sunday to look forward to and hopefully the Lions can get a win streak going. In the meantime, here are loads of links from yesterday to start your Friday off right.

Alex Morgan Scores Twice in U.S. 4-1 Win Over Mexico

If you watched last night’s U.S. Women’s National Team’s 4-1 win over Mexico then you probably have a hangover this morning because the game featured a lot of Captain Morgan. Wearing the armband for the USWNT, Morgan was giving Mexico fits with great runs and scored twice in the second half. Morgan’s first goal came after drawing and converting a penalty, her first penalty scored for the USWNT. Her second came only two minutes later where she beat her defender and fired a beautiful shot off the post and into the goal.

Mallory Pugh scored her fourth goal in 2018 to open the match’s scoring and Carli Lloyd scored quickly after Morgan to secure the win for the USWNT. Mexico’s only goal came off a good chip shot by Sky Blue FC’s Katie Johnson.

Kreis Prefers Orlando’s 2018 Start Rather Than Last Season’s

Let’s not beat around the bush here, obviously Orlando City’s 2017 MLS season start (6-1-0) is more desirable than Orlando’s current record in 2018 (1-2-1) if you’re looking at it from a raw stats perspective. But Head Coach Jason Kreis believes the team is off to a much better start this season compared to last year, and he might just be on to something. Sure, Orlando was at the top of the table early in the 2017 season, but the Lions frankly fell apart and missed the playoffs for the third straight time. It’d be great if Orlando could win every game, but I think success can be traced further than points and records. Here’s what Kreis said on the matter, let me know what you think in the comments:

“I felt like last year, we started out with tremendous results, but the truth of the matter is I don’t know if we necessarily deserved all of those results. I don’t know if we were a team that had more to give and to improve on [in] those performances.

“This year, I feel the exact opposite. I feel that our performances have been very good, haven’t gotten the results we deserve, and the fact of the matter is we have a lot of room to improve still. I think, for me, that bodes for incredibly positive things.”

Lions Loosen Up After First Win

Anyone in Central Florida could practically hear the collective breath taken by fans, players, and coaches the day after Orlando City’s 4-3 win over the New York Red Bulls last Saturday. The Lions came into the 2018 season with high hopes after a busy off-season, but a slow start had everyone a little on edge. Luckily, those nerves have been calmed after an impressive showing in last week’s match, which was the first time that all three of Orlando’s Designated Players were on the pitch at the same time.

Josué Colmán Settling in After First Orlando Goal

Piggybacking off of the previous link a bit, I don’t think any player was more relieved after last week’s win than forward Josué Colmán. Things haven’t been easy for the 19-year-old Paraguayan since coming to Orlando City. Colmán has had to adapt to his new team and league while dealing with both a nagging quad contusion and a significant language barrier. His hard work paid off Saturday when he not only started his first home game for Orlando City but scored his first goal as well. Okay, so maybe he didn’t conventionally score, but at the end of the day his name is on the stat sheet and he has something to laugh about with teammates at training. And he may not know much English, but he knew enough to accurately describe what it’s like playing in front of Orlando’s faithful: “crazy.”

Orlando Pride Focusing on Defense During Bye Week

With a whopping 10 players gone on international duty all over the world, the Orlando Pride are a little shorthanded at training and are focusing on individual drills to prepare for the April 15 road match against the Portland Thorns. After losing 2-0 to the Washington Spirit, both midfielder Christine Nairn and defender Toni Pressley are focusing on shoring up the Pride’s defense and becoming better in one-on-one situations.

Marta, Brazil Defeat Argentina 3-1 in Women’s World Cup Qualifying

In the 2018 Copa América Femenina in Chile, Brazil was able to open its tournament in impressive fashion by beating Argentina, 3-1. Orlando Pride players Marta and Monica both started for Brazil, while Pride defender Poliana was an unused sub. Neither Marta nor Monica found the score sheet, but it was a solid team effort from the Brazilian team, which will take the field again tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. ET.

Abby Elinski Capitalizing on Time as National Team Replacement Player

In order to replace the players serving their countries, the Orlando Pride signed four National Team Replacement Players. One of the four was midfielder Abby Elinski, who was originally drafted by the Houston Dash. With only nine teams in such a competitive league, Elinski has had to fight hard to get to where she is and her hard work is being rewarded so far.

U.S. U-20 Women Dispatch Sweden U-23 4-1

Over in Spain, the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team defeated Sweden’s U-23 team 4-1 in its first game of the 2018 U-23 La Manga Tournament. Forward Sophia Smith bagged a brace as she continues to impress in preparation for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup only four months away. On the other side of the game, Orlando Pride’s new Swedish defender Lotta Okvist started for her country and played the full game. You can catch the U.S. again tomorrow when the team takes on England’s U-23s. Okvist will also have a game tomorrow when Sweden faces off with France’s U-23 squad.

Zlatan Ibrahimovich Wins MLS Goal of the Week

Was there really any doubt who would win goal of the week? Zlatan rocked the country in his MLS debut after scoring an incredible volley for the LA Galaxy. Finishing second was Orlando City forward Dom Dwyer, who earned 13% of the vote for his strike against the Red Bulls. If Zlatan wasn’t Zlatan we would probably be celebrating Dwyer right now.

Free Kicks
  • Head to Orlando City Stadium to get some merchandise to represent the legendary Orlando Cty Sea Cows.

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Phew. That was a lot of links, but now you’re all caught up in everything from a busy day in soccer. I’ll send you off with the trailer for Alex Morgan’s upcoming film, Alex and Me.