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Lion Links: 5/23/18

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Pride face off tonight against North Carolina, Weston McKennie talks USMNT, ESPN’s most famous athletes, and much more.

Carlos Romero, The Mane Land

I am jacked up for this Wednesday! I don’t know about you, but the holiday weekend combined with two home matches this week has me flying high. Not to mention the Champions League final on Saturday — that’s a full weekend of awesomeness right there.

Today is a bit slower on the docket, but there’s still plenty to read below like the preview on tonight’s Pride match against the North Carolina Courage and a few soundbites from around City and the U.S. Men’s National Team.

Pride Look to Continue Their Streak While Ending the Courage’s

Last week I gave my thoughts in a preview of tonight’s match between two teams riding hot streaks and clashing for the first time this season. The Courage are undefeated on the season while the Pride are unbeaten in their last five, which means tonight should have plenty of fight. North Carolina is coming off another win where Crystal Dunn was named NWSL Player of the Week and goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland won NWSL Save of the Week. This promises to be a tough battle between two of the NWSL elite, and you don’t want to miss this match. In fact, you should go see it live if you can as the game will feature as many as nine U.S. Women’s National Team players.

If I’m being brutally honest, I expect this to be a tough match for the Pride. The Courage are firing on all cylinders and match up great against the Pride. A draw could be a huge result tonight. Regardless, I’ll be there in the stands enjoying $4 wine down Wednesday! There’s always a silver lining people.

Player Updates for the Weekend

If you watched last Friday’s match, it was one that you'll want to forget if you’re a Stefano Pinho fan — or, you know, if you’re him. He wasn't able to hold the ball up and consistently lost physical battles all over the pitch. To be fair, it was just a day he needs to move on from and he knows it.

“It was a bad day for me [in Toronto,]” Pinho said. “You have to keep working. Everybody has a bad day, you know? You can’t always be perfect. I’m [working] for a new chance to start. I think I have to improve every day, every training, so I’ll keep doing that.”

But with Dom Dwyer questionable for this Saturday, Pinho and the team have to be ready to avoid dropping three matches in a row. Pinho says they are hungry.

In other news:

Dom and Lamine trained inside on Tuesday, but Head Coach Jason Kreis is expecting both to be available this Saturday.

ESPN Lists 100 Most Famous Athletes

ESPN engaged in its annual ranking of the World Fame 100 and, no surprise, there are plenty of soccer players listed. In fact, Cristiano Ronaldo takes the top spot, Lionel Messi comes in third, and Neymar sits fourth as soccer dominated with seven of the top 25.

ESPN determines the rankings based on how often the athlete is searched, their endorsements, and their social media following. So to be fair, there’s not much gray area to argue with.

Alex Morgan made an appearance on the list as the seventh-most famous female and the 88th-ranked athlete overall.

Weston McKennie Looks to Make an Impact in Second USMNT Camp

We all know of the teenage superstar in the making over in Germany competing week in and week out in the Bundesliga. But for those that don’t know, there’s another teenager getting as much time, only a stone’s throw away from Christian Pulisic. 19-year-old Weston McKennie has already made his USMNT debut, but he’s looking for more in his second camp.

In a side with an average age of 22 years and 286 days, McKennie may be one the youngest players, but that's not going to stop him.

I’m very excited for next week’s match against Bolivia. The combination of McKennie and Pulisic in the middle of the park should excite all fans for the future of the U.S. midfield. These are two dynamic and creative players honing their skills in one of the best leagues in the world. Some may say these matches are meaningless, or that they don’t care. That would be a mistake. The future is bright and this is the first time we really get to see a majority of the youngsters together.

Brandi Chastain’s Hall of Fame Plaque Draws Plenty of Jokes

Many know of Cristiano Ronaldo’s statue debacle, but now we have a new one to discuss as former USWNT player Brandi Chastain got her own “treatment” in the form of an interesting plaque.

While it will be redone, that hasn't stopped the internet from doing what the internet will do. Enjoy!

Free Kicks

So that’s it! Come out to the game tonight, come out to the game on Saturday. But most of all, have a safe holiday weekend! Cheers!