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Lion Links: 6/1/18

Orlando City bans Atlanta United supporters’ groups, RJ Allen and Jason Kreis return to New York, Pride players win NWSL honors, and much more!

MLS: Portland Timbers at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What’s up, Mane Landers? It’s crazy to think that it’s already June, yet here we are. Almost half of 2018 is done and gone. We’ve got a lot to catch you up on as far as Orlando soccer news, so I’ll skip most of the chit-chat so you all can scroll right down to the juicy bits below.

Orlando City Suspends Atlanta United Supporter Groups

For the next three games that Atlanta United will play in Orlando City Stadium, Atlanta’s supporter groups will have their privileges revoked. This decision comes after Orlando City shared video footage of Atlanta supporters throwing debris with Atlanta United and the club did not respond appropriately in Orlando’s eyes. Here is Orlando’s statement on the reasoning behind the ban:

“On May 15, Orlando City SC shared video footage and images with Atlanta United FC of five of its fans throwing objects during the match. Atlanta United failed to respond with the names of the offenders or ask for an extension within the appropriate window of time.”

However, Atlanta disagrees in a statement of its own according to Dirty South Soccer, stating that it did ask for an extension and that Orlando’s decision is premature.

We disagree with the unsubstantiated and premature position that the Orlando City SC organization has taken regarding our visiting fans and have asked for an extension to further investigate alleged supporter involvement. We feel this action is inconsistent with League policy and practice and as such we will be calling for League review.

We continue to assist Orlando City SC with their follow-up on incidents of Atlanta United fan misconduct and believe in accountability for these behaviors, as well as for the misconduct displayed by OCSC fans at the conclusion of the May 13 match.

With a league review looming, this is far from the end of this feud as the search for the truth continues. Regardless of where you stand, let’s make sure we continue to make Orlando City Stadium a safe and welcoming place for all fans, no matter what colors you’re wearing.

RJ Allen Preparing for Rematch Against New York City FC

Orlando City right back RJ Allen will have more than just winning on his mind when the Lions take on New York City FC tomorrow night (7:30 p.m. ET). Allen will return to New York to face off against his former club for the second time this MLS season. In the game earlier this March, Allen played 76 minutes but the Lions ultimately fell to NYCFC, 2-0. Now, the New Jersey native is ready for this weekend’s task of defeating NYCFC and his former teammates.

“This weekend is a big test, an emotional one for me, going back to New York,” Allen told “To have the opportunity to play against some old friends, which you never want to lose to your brothers or close friends. I have some good relationships on that team, and I’m looking forward to seeing them and battle it out between the lines.”

Mohamed El-Munir Balancing His Passion and His Faith

A practicing Muslim, Orlando City left back Mohamed El-Munir is one of many people in the world who observe Ramadan, a month that has Muslims fast from early in the morning to late each night. However, observing Ramadan while also playing professional soccer in MLS is a careful balancing act for El-Munir as he strengthens both his faith and fitness. This isn’t Orlando City Head Coach Jason Kreis’ first time managing a Muslim player during Ramadan and he and the rest of the Orlando City coaching staff are openly communicating with the Libyan defender to ensure that he can practice his religion while also staying in form as the MLS season wears on.

Patrick Vieira Praises Kreis Before Match

It’s no secret that NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira and Jason Kreis are far from best friends. However, there is a mutual professional respect between the only two NYCFC managers in the club’s history. Things may have gotten heated between the two coaches last season, but Vieira had kind words for Kreis before the two clubs clash tomorrow night.

“He’s doing a really good job in Orlando and he won the title here and you don’t win it just like that,” Vieira said, referring to the MLS Cup Kreis won with Real Salt Lake in 2009. “He’s, I believe, one of the most experienced and one of the coaches who know better the league and he’s doing a really good job for Orlando.”

Pride Players Win NWSL Weekly Awards

The Orlando Pride are starting to find their groove in the NWSL after a slow start and players are beginning to be recognized more and more. Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris’ knee save against the phenomenal Sam Kerr to deny the Chicago Red Stars an equalizer earned her Save of the Week honors.

Meanwhile, Sydney Leroux won Goal of the Week for her diving header to start the Pride’s second half scoring spree. It was the first of two goals within a few minutes for Leroux and the forward’s first goal as a member of the Pride.

But that’s not all. Orlando Pride fullback Poliana was featured in the NWSL’s “Three Moments” from the week for her last-ditch defending.

A Tale of Two Brazilian Midfielders

It’s the best of times and the worst of times if you’re an Orlando Pride fan. Okay, so maybe it’s not that dramatic, but the latest injury news coming out of training comes with some good and some bad. The good is that Brazilian midfielder Camila is nearing her season debut after a knee injury from last season has kept her sidelined so far in 2018. Head Coach Tom Sermanni even said that Camila could start soon if necessary, but that the club is understandably letting her get to full strength.

The bad news is that five-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta was notably absent from training due to a reported calf strain. Hopefully, it’s nothing too serious and she can still play in the Pride’s road match against the Seattle Reign this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

Free Kicks

That’s all I’ve got for you today, Mane Landers. I’ve got a birthday between today and next Friday so I’ll see you guys when I’m older. Have a great Friday everyone! We leave you with news that Alex Morgan appearsin a Maroon 5 video.