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Lion Links: 5/16/18

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Meram silencing the haters, Pride players racking up awards, fan issues, and more!

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Mane Landers, and happy hump day! I hope all of you locals are staying dry as today is set to be another hot, rainy day. If the weather has you down, just remember that the Lions sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and the Pride are in third in the NWSL! Now, here are some links.

Meram Silencing the Haters

After having the most shots in MLS among players that hadn’t scored, Justin Meram finally found the back of the net on Sunday. That goal took some pressure off but means nothing in the long run to the Iraqi who would’ve preferred that the team gained some points from the match. Hopefully it helps to kick-start something and Meram can find the back of the net more often moving forward, starting with Toronto.

Pride Players Racking Up Awards

Two Orlando Pride players won awards yesterday. Christine Nairn won the Goal of the Week on a strike that helped the Pride to their first ever win against Portland.

Ashlyn Harris also won an award, picking up the Save of the Week. Her one-handed, diving save came about a minute after she was injured and it didn’t look like she was going to be able to stay in the game.

Fan Issues

Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Atlanta was a good game. Yes, the good guys lost, but Orlando played well and it was overall a well contested game. The officiating? That’s a different story and led to many other issues.

The Orlando Sentinel’s David Whitley wrote a piece on how acting like a passionate fan is not the same as acting like a child, and it’s a must read. Whitley hits the nail on the head and he ends with a message that should not be ignored.

Instead of booing the officials next time they blow a call, boo those who are throwing junk on the field. Point them out to cops.

Tell them they’re an embarrassment to the club they supposedly love, and there is a difference between passion and hooliganism. One is not an excuse for the other.

Fans that are identified from Sunday’s match could be banned for at least one year.

Original Lion Finds a New Team

Central Florida has a new Major Arena Soccer League team called the Orlando SeaWolves and they’re building their roster for their inaugural season, which starts in December. As of yesterday, the club started adding players, including former Lion Lewis Neal, who was announced as the team’s first ever signing.

“This is the first of many exciting announcements as we begin to build our roster,” said SeaWolves General Manager Chris Kokalis. “Lewis Neal was selected in the MLS Expansion draft by Orlando City and scored their first ever goal. Now he has a chance to help establish the SeaWolves among the ranks of the thriving Central Florida soccer community. Additionally, his experience and leadership will be invaluable in the locker room even though he is new to the arena game.”

Neal has played in 95 games for Orlando City and OCB, registering 12 goals and 12 assists in four total seasons. He was part of the inaugural Orlando City USL team, the inaugural Orlando City MLS team, the inaugural OCB, and he will look to have a similar impact with the SeaWolves as he had with the Lions.

The club also announced that it agreed to terms with Gordy Gurson from the U.S. National Futsal Team.

Kaká Has Some Post-Retirement Plans

Do you have plans at noon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays? If not you may want to check out Kaká’s sports variety show that will be covering the World Cup. Kaká joins Su Dong — a well-known soccer commentator in China — and Gao Xiaosong as they visit Moscow, Sochi, St. Petersburg, and Kazan as they attempt to connect culture through soccer and music. The first episode aired Monday.

Free Kicks
  • What’s better than Uri’s Vlog, you ask? Well, adding Dom Dwyer and an off day, of course.
  • There is an update on the captain, Jonathan Spector:
  • If you haven’t heard of Amro Tarek’s story before, here is a short video on his love for soccer.
  • U.S. international Alfredo Morales signed with newly promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf in the German Bundesliga on a three-year contract.
  • Here is a visual guide of MLS teams’ salaries.
  • Calgary has a new Canadian Premier League team!
  • Orlando City is down to No. 8 in MLSsoccer.com’s power ranking.
  • MLS academies and their Homegrown Players are often far from home.
  • Ahead of Orlando’s game against Toronto, TFC’s Ager Aketxe could face a four-year prison sentence.