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Lion Links: 5/15/18

Pride move up in NWSL power rankings, Pride players up for weekly awards, Amro Tarek named to preliminary Egypt roster, and more.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, readers. Unfortunately this weekend was a mixed bag, with the Orlando Pride emerging victorious over the Portland Thorns but Orlando City’s win streak sadly ended against Atlanta United. It had to come to an end sometime, but that doesn’t make losing feel any better. Anyhow, there’s a whole bunch to talk about today, so on to the links.

Tarek Named to Preliminary Egypt Roster

Amro Tarek has been named to Egypt’s 29-man preliminary squad for the team’s pair of warm-up friendlies ahead of the 2018 World Cup. The team will play Kuwait and Belgium in its final preparations ahead of the upcoming tournament. With only one cap to his name thus far, a place in the World Cup squad would be a great step for Tarek. As an Orlando City fan who’s watched him perform well, it would be nice to see him get recognition for his play, even though it would mean losing him for at least a few weeks in the summer.

Suspensions Coming For Item Throwers

Joe Kepner has reported that multiple fans who threw things onto the field during Orlando City’s Sunday match against Atlanta United have been identified and will receive one- or two-year bans from the stadium. The club is also reviewing game and security footage to determine any other people who might have thrown things onto the field during the game and will take similar action against those people as well. I won’t say any more other than that I hope none of you reading this were among those who decided to express their frustration in that manner.

Pride Rise in Power Rankings

Following a draw with Utah Royals and a 2-1 win over Portland Thorns, the Orlando Pride rose to the No. 3 spot in the NWSL power rankings. Not only was the win over Portland the Pride’s first ever victory over the team from the Pacific Northwest, but it also extended the team’s unbeaten streak to five games. The team gets the week off following its road trip out west, but will be thrown right back in the thick of things against the undefeated North Carolina Courage on May 23.

Harris and Nairn Up for Awards

Ashlyn Harris has been nominated for the NWSL Save of the Week for her 52nd-minute save of a Tobin Heath curler during the Pride’s weekend victory over Portland. The save came only a few minutes after Harris took a cleat straight to the chest, making the diving one-handed effort all the more impressive, not to mention the fact that it preserved the Pride’s lead.

Meanwhile, Christine Nairn was nominated for the NWSL Goal of the Week for her 21st-minute bomb that gave the Pride a 2-0 advantage. I’m not sure exactly how far out she was when she hit it, but it was an absolute stunner and is surely a deserving candidate for the GOTW. Make sure you vote!

Gold Cup Venue News

The opening match for next summer’s Concacaf Gold Cup will be hosted at Allianz Field in St. Paul, MN. The match will be the first competitive one for the USMNT following its failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup last October. It has also been announced that LAFC’s Banc of California stadium will also host matches in the tournament.

Unlike the 2017 edition, it is expected that next year’s tournament will see participating countries send their “A teams,” providing a more accurate yardstick of where the confederation’s teams actually stack up against one another.

Free Kicks
  • If you like hot sauce, then I’ve got good news for you: Orlando City has teamed up with Tijuana Flats to make some Orlando City hot sauces.
  • Some very big news regarding gambling in American sports:

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Don’t forget that while the Pride have the week off, OCSC has a Friday game against Toronto FC at 8 p.m. sharp. Keep it here for all your Orlando soccer news. Ciao.