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Lion Links: 6/8/18

Orlando’s next U.S. Open Cup opponent set, Spector reflects on return, Krieger recognized, and more!

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Orlando City vs Miami United Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

What’s up, Mane Landers? It’s nice to be writing after an Orlando City win again, even if it wasn’t an MLS victory. Hopefully our boys in purple can ride that momentum into their trip to Canada when they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps tomorrow night at 7 p.m. ET. As for us fans, let’s ride this high into the weekend and support Orlando as best we can. But for now, we’ve got one last workday to get through. Thankfully, you can start your day the right way with some Lion Links!

Orlando City Paired With D.C. United for U.S Open Cup Round of 16

The Lions are fresh off a 3-0 win over Miami United FC in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup and their next opponent in the tournament has already been decided. Placed in the East Region, Orlando City will play D.C. United at Maryland Soccer Complex. The time and date will be officially decided in the coming days. The winner of the match will have a date with the winner of the Philadelphia Union’s bout with the New York Red Bulls. This was the last draw of the tournament and you can now check out the final bracket.

Jonathan Spector Excited About Return

Although winning was certainly nice to see, the best part of Orlando’s aforementioned win Wednesday night was seeing center back Jonathan Spector back on the field for Orlando City. After being sidelined for two months thanks to consecutive concussions, Spector performed well in his 45-minute performance and is glad to be working himself back into the starting team.

“Center back is a position you don’t really want to change unless you absolutely have to during a game,” noted Spector. “So it’s pretty important that I’m fully match fit for 90 minutes and I do think I am close to that. I think it was probably a smart decision to get 45 minutes under my belt here and continue to move forward.”

Ali Krieger Cracks NWSL Team of the Month

Orlando Pride defender Ali Kreiger may be out for four to six weeks from an MCL injury, but that didn’t stop her from being named to the NWSL’s Team of the Month for her strong performance in May. The right back impressed throughout the month, with an assist, 15 clearances, 10 interceptions, and seven blocks. Krieger is the only Pride player to make the Team of the Month while the North Carolina Courage led with three members. Congrats Ali!

United States Women Top China on Morgan’s Goal

In a late match last night under the lights of Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT, the United States Women’s National Team defeated China PR, 1-0 in an international friendly as the USWNT prepares for the Tournament of Nations and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying. Alex Morgan scored the only goal of the game when she got her head on the end of a beautiful free kick from Megan Rapinoe.

U.S. General Manager Must Solve Problems

New U.S. General Manager Earnie Stewart will have his work cut out for him when he starts his job in August. The USMNT hasn’t missed a World Cup since 1986 and is in a rare period of rebuilding. Many people have suggested ways the U.S. can bounce back, but few seem to be focusing on the positives and opportunity that comes from this chance to look back and tackle the problems that plague U.S. youth soccer. It’ll be up to Stewart to find a new USMNT coach and figure out the answers to the U.S. soccer’s most pressing questions.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando Pride goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer is having one heck of a week. She had a shutout draw in Seattle against the team that traded her and won NWSL Save of the Week. Now she has debuted “Fun Chicks, a YouTube series with teammate Christine Nairn.
  • The World Cup is right around the corner so if you’re missing out on the hype this year, enjoy these rankings assembled by the folks at Sports Illustrated.

That’s all I’ve got for you folks! I hope you all have a wonderful Friday. Vamos Orlando!