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Lion Links: 7/10/18

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Marta up for Goal of the Week, strength of schedule rankings, MLS watchability rankings, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Los Angeles FC Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning and happy Tuesday, everybody. A mixed bag of results over the weekend made for a variety of emotions. However, I am happy to say that this time next week I’ll be moving from up in Maryland to a new place and a new job in Florida. Perhaps I’ll run into some of you fine people on game days. There’s a lot to discuss, so let’s get to those links.

Marta Up for Goal of the Week

Marta has been nominated for the NWSL Goal of the Week for her 86th-minute, game-winning strike in the Orlando Pride’s 2-1 victory over the Washington Spirit over the weekend. Things were all level between the two teams heading into the last few minutes of the match when Marta brought the ball into the box, cut back not once but twice, and rifled the ball into the roof of the net. Not only was it an impressive goal, but it was also an important one, as it snapped the Pride’s two-game losing streak to give the team a much needed win.

Updated Strength of Schedule Rankings

Major League Soccer has updated the strength of schedule rankings that it released at the beginning of the year. New England Revolution tops the list with a 1.58, and the bad news is that Orlando City doesn’t rank far behind with a score of 1.45 (the higher the score is, the tougher the schedule). The good news is that of the eight teams ahead of Orlando in the Eastern Conference, five of those teams have tougher remaining schedules than the Lions do. While that won’t matter if the team doesn’t start winning games soon, it does provide a semi-bright spot in what has been a trying couple of months for Orlando supporters.

MLS Watchability Rankings

Speaking of rankings, The Guardian has released a list ranking MLS teams from best to worst in terms of viewing pleasure. Keeping in mind that the list is not solely ordered in terms of the quality of product on display, I can report that Orlando City comes in at No. 5. The reasoning has to do with wild swings from winning streaks to losing streaks, a good home atmosphere, and tasteful jerseys. Atlanta United is rather unsurprisingly ranked first, while the Colorado Rapids are unlucky enough to be put in the bottom spot.

Fernandinho Endures Unjust Fallout After Error

It’s equal parts ridiculous, sad, and unacceptable, but Brazil national team midfielder Fernandinho has been the subject of racial abuse and death threats following his unfortunate own goal in Brazil’s quarterfinal loss to Belgium over the weekend. People on social media called the player a monkey, among other things, and also stooped as low as insulting the player’s wife and mother. The Brazilian soccer federation released a strong message of support for the under-fire midfielder in the wake of the remarks made towards him. The individuals so heavily criticizing him are perhaps overlooking the fact that while the stats appear to show a strong Brazilian performance, those who watched the game know it was one the the South Americans very rarely looked like winning.

Free Kicks
  • Congratulations are in order for an Orlando City youngster:
  • Jesse Marsch has joined Red Bull Leipzig as an...assistant coach?
  • Bobby Wood has completed a loan move:

That’ll do it for me. Don’t forget that Orlando City takes on Toronto this Saturday at home in a battle of the Eastern Conference cellar dwellers. The Pride, however, are in action tomorrow when they travel out west to take on the Houston Dash. Not to mention all of the World Cup action going on the rest of the week. Definitely a busy one, so keep an eye on The Mane Land for all your Orlando soccer news. Ciao.