We have got a lot of news for you today, so I’ll say a quick hello and hope you’re all gearing up for a great weekend of Cinco De Mayo and Orlando City going for win No. 6 in a row. Also, congrats to my modern GOAT, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Real Madrid for making it to their third Champions League final in a row — and fourth in five years — after yesterday’s victory in one of the best matches of the tournament against Bayern Munich.
We’ve got news on the Pride match later today, City focusing on language, transfer rumors, and so much more. So get to reading! Or read slowly and ignore work, really your choice. But let’s not forget to wish Orlando City Assistant Coach Miles Joseph a happy birthday as well!
Is Orlando a Legitimate Eastern Conference Threat?
MLS Soccer gave their take on Orlando City being a contender for their big question of the week:
Bobby Warshaw ends up on the fence knowing it’s early and the mitigating factors to this five-game win streak — the longest of any team this season. Which I think is the right take. City has had an easy run lately against lower teams and — other than the San Jose match — hasn't looked in control in most, but rather coming back in matches to grind out points (not bad to do but you can’t live on that).
The next month will give some clearer answers on where City stands as they face teams like Atlanta United, NYCFC, and Toronto. All the while trying to get Jonathan Spector and Uri Rosell into the mix after both have missed considerable time.
Morgan and Harris Questionable for Today’s Match; Ashlyn Not Suspended
The Orlando Pride travel to Chicago today to face off against the second-place Red Stars tonight at 7:30 p.m. However, they could be without two of their best players as Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris are questionable as of this morning. Morgan has a hyperextended left knee and Harris has a hyperextended left elbow, according to the latest NWSL injury report.
While both are losses, the Pride can hope to replace Morgan much easier with the depth across the front three. Sydney Leroux could be pushed to the central forward role with Rachel Hill most likely starting on the right side.
Harris would be replaced by Haley Kopmeyer who started for the Seattle Reign last season. She is no Aubrey Bledsoe, however, who has been nominated for NWSL Save of the Week every week this season, including winning for the second week in row.
One bit of good news is that Ashlyn, if healthy, will be available for selection. After her incident with Seattle Reign forward Jodie Taylor was reviewed by the league, it has been found that there will be no action taken. It was admittedly a rough challenge and could have gone in either direction. Personally I think the Pride got lucky.
Stay tuned to Twitter to get up to date information on both players.
Orlando City’s Off-the-Field Communication Work a Focus
Go read this article. It is a very good perspective in the area of psychology that is often ignored (by fans/media). Orlando City and its mental coach and Video Analyst Guillermo Sánchez have focused on communication to help build synergy is a vast multicultural element.
“When you have a team of a lot of cultures — I think we have around 12 … if you count coaching staff and staff, we have a lot more than that — it’s important for them to get to know each other so any type of communication can flow better,” said Sánchez, Orlando City’s mental coach and video analyst.
One can hope that all this focus is a contributing factor to the recent wining streak and one that will continue to help the team come together over the course of the season as City has some many new players learning English like Josué Colmán and Lamine Sané.
Ali Krieger Enjoying Her TV Work
If you’re not at the stadium watching, you should have seen Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger spending time with the local TV coverage breaking down some soccer.
“Right now, it’s a bit of a hobby, obviously my first focus is this team and getting in the playoffs and winning this season,” Krieger said. “When I do have time, I really enjoy going in and to hang out and chat and getting my little 10 minutes and still be a part of the game and doing anything for this wonderful club.”
I watched her work with BeIn Sports during USMNT World Cup Qualifying and very much enjoyed her a part of the crew. While it’s a hobby today, strong female voices in the media are always needed and hopefully this turns into a great post-playing career opportunity for her.
Tally Hall Finding a New Purpose in Orlando
Former Orlando City goalkeeper Tally Hall has been seen around the stadium as of late. If you've noticed him, you’d see he’s in a different type of uniform. A great story for a great guy finding his way after professional soccer.
Where Five Yanks Abroad Could be Heading This Summer
FourFourTwo USA recently looked at five hot names in the U.S. National Team pool that could be on the move from their current clubs:
- Christian Pulisic - Borussia Dortmund BVB
- Bobby Wood - Hamburg SC
- Emerson Hyndman - Bournemouth
- Geoff Cameron - Stoke City
- Tyler Adams - New York Red Bulls
These names breed interest on both sides of the pond as we may see the likes of Wood and Cameron back home while Adams should be going the opposite direction. Overall I think Wood moving to the Netherlands (think Jozy Altidore’s best European season) or MLS would be the right move. He needs some confidence after a rough year and either location would be great for him.
I think Adams and Pulisic are in different situations than Wood, albeit similar between themselves. These young rising stars need to be on the pitch. I have no issue if Adams stays for another year of seasoning in the MLS where he can get continual time. Although I will say if a team like Schalke could pair him with a U.S. national like Weston McKennie, that would be fun.
Pulisic is the name to watch this summer but he needs the same thing. Moving to a Liverpool where you’re battling the likes of Sadio Mané, Mo Salah, and Roberto Firmino for playing time isn't going to help. More time on the field at his age is the right move and one more year at Dortmund might not be too bad.
- Sporting KC midfielder Felipe Gutierrez, who has had a very good season, is out for two to three months after sports hernia surgery
- No USA, no problem for the World Cup with the U.S. still buying tickets better than most.
- Former Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath has won the Everton Giant Award, a legends-type of award given to one player each year.
That was a lot for you! So hopefully we were able to keep you away from work for as long as you needed. Go Pride tonight and City on Sunday. And don’t forget to have a margarita or two on Saturday. Cheers!