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Lion Links: 6/17/18

The Pride host Sky Blue FC, the World Cup is exceeding expectations, Inchy speaks on the Kreis firing, and more.

Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers! With the World Cup in full swing, I find it difficult to express my pure joy for life right now, especially with that Portugal vs. Spain thriller going down the way it did in the most dramatic of fashion. Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat trick lifted his country to a well-earned draw with the Spaniards, while Lionel Messi’s failure to finish from the spot mired his country in a 1-1 draw against a far out-matched Iceland team.

Iceland held on for what may be one of the country’s most memorable World Cup results, and the stats really show you how incredible the feat was.

Meanwhile, France opened their account with a 2-1 win over Australia, Peru (OCSC’s Yoshimar Yotún’s home country) fell 1-0 to Denmark, and Croatia downed Nigeria, 2-0.

I’ve been so distracted by these enthralling World Cup matches that I’ve barely had the chance to reflect on the firing of Orlando City Soccer Club’s now former head coach, Jason Kreis. It doesn’t feel prudent to me. Why make this change now, after a franchise-record winning streak was on tap just a few weeks back?

It baffles me, and it worries me as a supporter. I want a coach that has the opportunity to install their system, acquire their preferred personnel, and then is given time to iron out the kinks over the course of the season’s journey to the playoffs. I would have been much more understanding of a sacking come the end of a playoff-less season, but these sorts of changes mid-season are good for nobody involved, and I can only hope that the next manager appointed to the hot seat is treated better, by both club and supporter. Things take time. But hey, that’s just me. (More on this later.) Who might replace Kreis? Well, Taylor Twellman says the Lions want to go Brazilian.

Scolari will turn 70 this fall.

With that said, here’s your Sunday helping of Lion Links:

Orlando Pride Defeat Sky Blue FC

Amidst the star power of the World Cup fixtures currently behind held in Russia, the NWSL had a major match last night that featured some of the world’s best women footballers pitted against each other on the same pitch. The Orlando Pride hosted Sky Blue FC in a bout that saw Alex Morgan, Marta, Carli Lloyd, and a plethora of world-class ladies take the field in an exciting match that ended in a 3-2 Pride win. Our very own Scott Carnevale has your in-depth match recap.

Be sure to check back later for Michael Citro’s five takeaways from the match and a photo gallery from the game.

Inchy on Kreis Firing

Original Orlando City boss Adrian Heath called the firing of Kreis a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ by the club.

“They’ve had a complete roster overhaul, a third of the season in, they’re above the playoff line. I think it’s a little bit of a knee-jerk reaction,” Heath said. “When you’re on that six-game losing streak, it’s not nice for everybody, and I get that. Ownership groups not just in Orlando but all over the U.S., it’s not a nice feeling, and with social media now, the pressure mounts up on the coach because everybody’s an expert. People who’ve never been involved in football have their little five minutes of fame because they’ve got a blog ... and unfortunately, people listen.”

I’m not sure bloggers have quite that much power, but it’s understandable that Inchy would feel that way given that he was let go by Orlando City while a spot out of the playoffs and Kreis’ 2018 squad was still above the line.

Yoshimar Yotún and Peru Fall to Denmark, 1-0

In what turned out to be a surprisingly physical World Cup opener for the Danes and Peruvians, Denmark held on to a second-half lead to put the match away and gain its first three points of the tournament. Orlando City’s Yotún was, as usual, impressive on the day and served as a lynch pin for the Peruvian midfield. Unfortunately, La Blanquirroja were unable to capitalize on a bevy of chances, one even coming from a spot kick that Christian Cueva sent into Russian airspace. Denmark has won four of its five World Cup openers, while Peru is winless in seven straight World Cup fixtures, notching its last win in 1978. Despite the poor result,’s Dylan Butler wrote up a nice piece on Yotún’s performance, noting that he was one of the best players for his country on the day — and the stats don’t lie.

Peru and Yotún next face off against a stacked France side on Saturday, June 21 in Yekaterinburg.

Sam Stejskal’s Perspective of the Jason Kreis Sacking

Stejskal, a well-informed and talented sports journalist over at wrote up his thoughts on the firing of Orlando City’s second-ever MLS head coach, and if I may say, I completely agree with his assessment. As I mentioned earlier, the timing of the move really doesn’t make sense, and Stejskal’s assertion that the firing indicates that the club lacks a long-term vision is something that, personally, bothers me greatly. As Stejskal states in his piece, Kreis was given full control over the off-season moves, bringing in what was essentially a brand new team with a core of 14 fresh faces. He was given just 15 matches with that new group before he saw the chopping block. To be fair, head coaches are brought in and paid the big bucks to produce results. Even Kreis himself said that in an interview following his final match in charge of the Lions. Here’s his response following the defeat to Montreal when asked if there were any positives from their Canadian road trip:

“Zero. Zero points means zero positives really. I still think we’re doing some things right in the game but at the end of the day, we get paid to get points and we didn’t get the job done.”

Unfortunately for Kreis, he didn’t “get the job done,” and he won’t be getting paid to get points anymore. At least not by Orlando City. *sigh*

Philadelphia Union and Levi’s Partnership Adds Pride Patch to Collection

In honor of Pride Month, the Philadelphia Union and Levi’s have added a Pride patch to their growing collection of patches that supporters are able to use to customize their personal Levis clothing. The partnership — just one of three in existence between Levi’s and soccer clubs on the planet, the other two being France’s Paris Saint-Germain and Germany’s St. Pauli — is a unique way for the club to engage with their supporters. The club and apparel partnership is also adding patches that celebrate Military Appreciation Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and even rivalry matches. Cheers, Union and Levi’s. Classy move.

Free Kicks
  • Congratulations are in order to Orlando City right back RJ Allen: she said yes!
  • Brazil’s manager Tite claims that superstar striker Neymar still isn’t quite 100%, but fully expects him to start and perform well in their opener today (the only questionable Brazilian right now is Fred, who is working his way back from an ankle injury).
  • After Iceland’s impressive draw against powerhouse favorite Argentina, why not check out what your Icelandic name would be? Personally, I’m Álekór Ingi Pierceson, and I love it. Check out how to find your own Icelandic name here.
  • Lionel Messi feels responsible for the shock draw with Iceland, blaming the negative result on his surprising miss from the spot.
  • Despite the opening round loss, Peru and Yotún will have an endless source of support from Orlando City and his teammates, and former Orlando City players, back in Central Florida.
  • And if you’ve made it this far, here’s one more for fun:

If we’re talkin’ MLS, I’d probably go green, swapping (insert best Lion here) for Sebastian Giovinco. If we’re talkin’ any other sporting league, I’m probably going orange and building the future. Which button are you pressing?

Well, that’s about all I’ve got for you this beautiful World Cup Sunday. Keep in check with The Mane Land for more news and updates, and then enjoy today’s fixtures: Costa Rica vs. Serbia, Germany vs. Mexico, and Brazil vs. Switzerland: the latter of the three almost guaranteed to live up to their lofty expectations of explosive offensive showings. You’ve got some great football to witness today, Mane Landers...make sure you do so.

Other than that, have a great week! Try your best not to let your boss catch you eyeing the matches too often...and definitely don’t stand up and celebrate when your country puts one in the back of the net. That might look weird to your co-workers.