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Lion Links: 6/27/18

Pride players take home awards, Orlando City feels freedom, Atlanta loses an MLS All-Star, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

Happy Wednesday! We’re down to the two last days of the World Cup group stages and I, for one, can’t wait to celebrate a solid week of Fourth of July shenanigans, because what else is there to do with a Wednesday holiday? You celebrate both weekends, of course.

Today we’ve got Pride players taking down some league awards ahead of their match today, Orlando City looking to bounce back against Atlanta United with some interesting availability news, and your daily World Cup update.

Orlando City Feeling Free for the Atlanta United Rematch

This Saturday the Lions make the trip up to Atlanta hoping to end the seven-game skid they are on. According to Interim Head Coach Bobby Murphy, he’s hoping they play like they have nothing to lose:

“It is what it is. I see it as a huge challenge and a great opportunity to go up there in front of a hostile crowd,” Orlando City interim coach Bobby Murphy said on Tuesday. “Hopefully, the players will take it as a great opportunity and play with a bit of freedom, knowing nothing is really expected of them to go in there and get a result… sometimes you can surprise people when that happens.”

I have to disagree with Murphy. The pressure is on with all eyes on the skid and an Orlando team that still has playoff aspirations, direct from the CEO. While I want Murphy to be right, I think going away to the best team in MLS on a losing streak doesn't make me think the Lions will play free.

What will help, however, is MLS All-Star Darlington Nagbe will now be out two to three months with a groin injury. He terrorized the middle of the field last time out against Orlando, and this will be a big miss for Atlanta.

Pride Looking for a Complete Match

The Orlando Pride face off against the Houston Dash tonight at 7:30 p.m. at home. According to Head Coach Tom Sermanni, they’ve yet to find the consistency they need despite being second in the NWSL.

“I don’t think we are playing, consistently, over 90 minutes, at the level that we can,” Sermanni said. “I think we are in games, doing some stuff that’s really, really good. But then, we need to do some stuff better. I think if we can meld both of those we’ll be quite a formidable team.

Pride Take Two Out of Three NWSL Weekly Awards

Alanna Kennedy’s beautiful long-distance strike took home Goal of the Week honors.

And Ashlyn Harris did what she does and won another Save of the Week.

North Carolina Courage’s Crystal Dunn was awarded NWSL Player of the Week to round out the weekly awards.

World Cup Match Day 13 Exciting as Argentina Moves On
Free Kicks

That’s it! Enjoy a great day of Group E and F play. I’m rooting for Mexico and Germany to move on, but who knows in this crazy tournament. Until next week, cheers!