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Lion Links: 6/2/18

Marta injured, Pride sign two players, Lions honored, Carson Pickett an inspiration, Kaká goes to Harvard, and more.

Colin Ziemer, The Mane Land

Happy match day, everyone. We’ve made it through the work week and it’s time for some soccer. The USMNT gets us started at 3 p.m. at Ireland and the Lions square off against New York City FC in Yankee Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

While we wait, let’s all wish Orlando Pride forward Danica Evans a happy 23rd birthday. With all the forwards out for the Pride (more on that below), perhaps Evans will get a run out at Seattle tomorrow night.

Now let’s get to today’s linking activities.

Marta, Rachel Hill Out; Pride Sign National Team Replacement Players

We got warning signs earlier this week when reports out of Pride training mentioned Marta experiencing calf pain and she is indeed out for Sunday’s match at the Seattle Reign. To make matters worse, Rachel Hill is also out with the return of a nagging groin injury. Meanwhile, Monica (knee soreness) and Toni Pressley (quad) are questionable and both Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris are away on international duty.

The Pride tried to mitigate the absences of Morgan and Harris by signing a pair of National Team Replacement Players yesterday — midfielder Abby Elinski and goalkeeper Sarah Shimer. Elinski played two matches as an NTRP earlier this season for Orlando but Shimer is new to the Pride, having played collegiate soccer at the University of Washington. With Morgan, Hill, and Marta all out, Tom Sermanni is probably glad that Sydney Leroux finally got on the score sheet (twice) last weekend.

MLSSoccer.com Writer Singles Out Several Lions

Andrew Wiebe over at the official MLS website picked various MLS All-Star teams by theme and singled out multiple Orlando City players for inclusion. Among the Lions selected included:

  • Mohamed El-Munir — Pure Entertainment XI
  • Dom Dwyer — All-Domestic XI.
  • Chris Mueller — All-#PlayTheKids XI.

Speaking of Wiebe, he also selected Orlando City as one of his top five MLS expansion clubs of all time.

Pride’s Carson Pickett an Inspiration to Others

Orlando Pride left back Carson Pickett was born without a left forearm and hand, but she never let it hold her back and she’s played professional soccer on two continents. Carson talked about her situation in this excellent piece by Matthew Hall of The Guardian. My favorite part was the story intro, when Alex Morgan got a taste of what it’s like to be Pickett.

“I can’t wash my hair properly!” Morgan yelled from the showers. “I can’t lift my left arm!”

Carson Pickett, Orlando Pride’s-left back, yelled back: “Welcome to my world.”

Pickett understands that she can serve as a role model for kids who may think that physical limitations could hold them back.

“I have the ability to impact a lot of people,” Pickett acknowledges. “My parents tell me all the time to use the platform God gave me. I can use my arm for something greater than myself. I’m able to impact so many kids and people who may not see a way out. It doesn’t have to impact them through soccer. To see that I am succeeding in life and happy in life can go a long way for some people.”

Kaká Goes to Harvard

Back in 2015 we found out that Kaká was enrolled at Full Sail University. Well, things must have gone well, because he’s apparently now studying at Harvard. The former Orlando City captain and Nuri Sahin, Edwin van der Sar, Mario Melchiot, and Dani Alves are all at Harvard Business School taking a sports management course under professor Anita Elberse. Best of luck to the captain.

U.S./Mexico/Canada World Cup Bid Outshines Morocco’s

FIFA’s technical assessment didn’t reject Morocco’s bid, but did find serious concerns with the country’s ability to host the 2026 World Cup. The united bid by the United States, Mexico, and Canada received a 4.0 rating out of 5.0 and Morocco got just a 2.7. The 4.0 rating is considered “very good.”

The Moroccan bid received a rating of 2.7, considered “sufficient” under FIFA guidelines.

The North American bid received extremely high marks for infrastructure. The only risk component on which it scored lower than Morocco was “government support.”

Let’s hope FIFA votes for the best site this time, not the best bribes.

Free Kicks

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Keep clicking themaneland.com for full coverage of today’s USMNT match and tonight’s Orlando City game. Enjoy your Saturday.