Happy July, Mane Landers. The heat is sweltering, the rain is random, and the humidity is borderline oppressive...but we do live in Florida, so this is to be expected. I trust that you’ve all been having a great weekend, maybe some of you are in preparation for your Fourth of July plans?
It should be a nice and relaxing break on my end, so I hope you all enjoy your plans, family, and friends in this time of patriotic celebration. It would have been much cooler to be celebrating this weekend with a Round of 16 fixture featuring the USMNT, but alas, we don’t have that. Regardless, it’s been a fantastic treat to have the World Cup back in our lives. Not only that, but there’s been obviously club-altering decisions announced with the appointment of the new head coach, James O’Connor. I can’t wait to see what he brings to the club, and I hope the supporters are patient and show their full support. We’ll see what happens.
Anyway, here’s your Sunday serving of Lion Links, Mane Landers. Enjoy.
Lions Drop Eighth Straight MLS Match
In what was interim head coach Bobby Murphy’s last match in charge, the Lions started on the back foot but were solidly in the game at halftime before getting blown out, 4-0, at Atlanta United. The game was pretty much summed up with Will Johnson missing a wide-open empty net from just a few yards out. The team has been shut out in three straight MLS matches, getting outscored 9-0 in those games.
- Scott Crumbly has your match recap.
- Ben Miller dished out player grades and Man of the Match.
Also keep an eye out for our very own bearded guy’s Five Takeaways this afternoon.
Pride Drop 3-0 Home Match vs. North Carolina Courage
The Pride did their best imitation of the Lions, turning the ball over three times in a four-minute span and watching all of them turn into North Carolina Courage goals in a 3-0 home loss. The Courage were the better side, but Orlando also couldn’t finish, rattling the woodwork twice — once via Marta and once through Alex Morgan. Scott Carnevale has your match recap and highlights.
Jason Kreis Says Goodbye to Orlando City
After taking some time to decompress, former OCSC gaffer Jason Kreis posted his goodbye to Orlando City on Twitter yesterday.
Thanks, good bye, and good luck! pic.twitter.com/ejCbzth3nM— Jason Kreis (@JasonKreis) June 30, 2018
The things that stick out are his obvious regrets about not getting to see this season through as he was let go just as guys were returning from injury and prior to Yoshimar Yotún’s return, as well as his class in thanking literally everyone involved in his time in Orlando.
Orlando City’s New Head Coach to be Missed in Louisville
James O’Connor will be missed tremendously in Louisville, that’s for sure. Speaking briefly at the official groundbreaking ceremony on FC Louisville’s new stadium, O’Connor emphasized his gratitude for the opportunity granted to him by the city, even going as far as to state that he wanted his gratitude “on record.” His message was well received, and his legacy of bringing silverware to the city will never be forgotten. Now he’s on to bigger and better things, and the supporters would be wise to throw their full support behind him as he makes his transition into the nuances of coaching an MLS club.
O’Connor’s old club built a 2-0 lead but fell behind New York Red Bulls II last night, before dramatically pulling back a late equalizer in his final match in Louisville. The game ended in a 3-3 draw.
World Cup 2018: The Round of 16 Begins
Well folks, the Round of 16 is here. It started with fireworks, too, as France came back from a second half deficit to win a thriller against Lionel Messi’s Argentina side, 4-3. Kylian Mbappe was truly the star of the show though, as his brace was crucial in his country’s triumph. France (which I picked to win it all in our bearded guy’s World Cup piece) advances to the quarterfinals now, and will play Uruguay; which was carried by Edison Cavani’s brace to a 2-1 win over Portugal. Cavani may have picked up a knock in this one though, so that’s something to keep an eye on in the quarterfinal.
Today’s fixtures include Spain (which I have winning the tournament in my office bracket pool) playing Russia, and Croatia (my secret dark horse) playing Denmark. Ah, what a time to be alive. This tournament still feels wide open, and I love it.
- Think you’ve got what it takes to play professional soccer? See below.
Looking for an opportunity to play pro soccer? July 21st & 22nd in Orlando at @XLSoccerOrlando with 20 year Head Coach of the U.S. Men's National Futsal Team Keith Tozer in attendance evaluting talent. Winningest coach in North American soccer history. https://t.co/hjMvgVLi9X. pic.twitter.com/sl9OcYcTIW— Orlando SeaWolves (@MCOSeaWolves) June 30, 2018
- Christine Nairn...I love you so much. Just keep being you, please. You’re a role model in so many ways.
"I'm done with living the life that is acceptable to someone else's standards of 'normal'." -Christine Nairn pic.twitter.com/K46mlZrc5W— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) June 29, 2018
- France star Mbappe is donating his World Cup earnings to a charity, Preiers de Cordees, a charity that aims to organize sporting activities for children with disabilities. Kudos and cheers, Kylian, especially after yesterday’s breakout performance!
- FC Cincinnati has formally announced a timeline for the construction of their new stadium in Cincinnati’s West End. The name of the stadium and its official capacity has yet to be revealed, but a range of 21,000-30,000 seats was unveiled. FC Cincinnati will begin its MLS journey in 2019, but the stadium isn’t expected to host matches until 2021.
- FIFA is planning on reviewing the current rule that decides a tie in a World Cup group stage — much like the one that occurred in Group H between Senegal and Japan — which saw Japan advance because of fewer bookings over the course of their matches. FIFA has already indicated that the measure is unlikely to change.
- Brazil will be without Douglas Costa and possibly Marcelo (my favorite player still playing) for the clash against Mexico in the Round of 16.
- After Argentina’s Round of 16 exit at the hands of France, 4-3, Javier Mascherano has urged global superstar Lionel Messi to remain with the national team and not make any rash decisions about international retirement. Messi has yet to win a major tournament with Argentina. Mascherano, however, has retired from international duty, along with Lucas Biglia.
- Russian and Mexico are the latest countries to be he hit with fines due to their supporters. For Russia, the country was fined $10,100 for the display of a discriminatory banner by the team’s fan base. For Mexico, it was a $15,149 fine for crowd disturbance during their 3-0 loss to Sweden.
- I’ll end with this excellent Sydney Leroux reaction to a recent booking.
Well, that’s all that I’ve got for you today, Mane Landers. Remember to check back in periodically for news and updates regarding all things Orlando City and Orlando Pride. See you next time, folks, and have an excellent week; and enjoy this beautiful World Cup!