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Lion Links: 7/17/18

Recognition for Orlando players, confidence boost for OCSC, Lions focused on USOC match, and more.

MLS: Toronto FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, Mane Landers. I wrote today’s edition of Lion Links from Florida for the first time after managing to mostly get myself moved into my new apartment. Add that with the fact that both Orlando soccer teams won over the weekend, and it’s been a good last couple days. Plenty to talk about today, so let’s get down to the news.

Orlando Players Recognized

Players from both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride were rightfully recognized after both teams were victorious in their weekend matches. Dom Dwyer was named to the MLS Team of the Week, ending a long barren run of no OCSC players appearing in the squad. Dom played a key part in Saturday’s game, scoring what would be the eventual game winning goal in the team’s 2-1 win over Toronto FC. Kristen Edmonds meanwhile, was nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week. Edmonds’ nomination comes for her superb 52nd-minute chip of Utah Royals goalkeeper Abby Smith, a strike that won the game for the Pride. Congratulations to both players. Keep up the good work.

Confidence Back for Orlando City

Winning is always good for a team’s confidence, especially when that team lost nine matches in a row before getting that win. The nature of OCSC’s win over the weekend did even more to instill confidence in the team. Specifically, scoring the game’s first goal and scoring it in the first half helped set the tone for the Lions, as opposed to being forced to chase the game as Orlando so often has had to do in recent weeks. The excellent turnout from the home support didn’t hurt matters either, and left new coach James O’Connor very impressed after his first home match. Truly, the confidence boosting win couldn’t have come at a better time considering the stake’s in the team’s next match.

Orlando City Focused On Quarterfinal Clash

O’Connor and Orlando City are already focused on the team’s U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match with the Philadelphia Union. Since the Lions have never before reached the semifinals of the competition, everyone involved with the team is aware of the importance of the match, with O’Connor saying of reaching the semifinals, “It would be incredible.” The extra midweek match certainly makes for a packed schedule for the Lions, and as such none of the starters from Saturday’s win other than Earl Edwards Jr. trained on Monday. Additionally, there are no updates on possible dates for the return of Jonathan Spector, Scott Sutter, and Lamine Sané.

Pride’s Kennedy, van Egmond Named to Australia’s ToN Roster

As expected, Orlando Pride midfielders Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond have been named to Australia’s Tournament of Nations roster for the tournament that kicks off next week in Kansas City. Joining the Pride duo are former Orlando players Lisa De Vanna and Steph Catley, along with a host of NWSL stars from down under. The Matildas will face Brazil in the tournament opener and will face both the USWNT and Japan during the round-robin tourney. Australia’s team will assemble, Avengers-style, on Monday, July 23, meaning Kennedy and van Egmond will not have to miss the Pride’s match on Saturday afternoon.

Fiat’s Ronaldo Strike Flops

In case you didn’t hear, a small independent union of Fiat workers in Italy planned a strike yesterday in protest over Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer to Juventus. It didn’t exactly go as planned though, with only five workers out of approximately 1,700 workers participating in the strike. The strike was initially organized due to reports that Fiat might help subsidize Ronaldo’s salary, while many of the workers were dealing with various hardships and making sacrifices simply to survive. At any rate, Ronaldo completed his medical and was subsequently unveiled, so it seems that is that.

Free Kicks
  • Our own Ethan Smith wrote a guest feature for E Pluribus Loonum about his game-day experience at a Minnesota United game.
  • A match was held at Orlando City Stadium last night. River Plate and Independiente Medellin fought to a scoreless draw in friendly competition before River Plate won a penalty shootout, 4-3.
  • If any of you have a white Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid jersey, don’t do away with it just yet. Here’s how to convert it:
  • Usain Bolt is reportedly joining A-League side Central Coast Mariners for a six-week trial to see if the 30-year-old former sprinter can be signed to a professional contract.
  • Australia’s all-time scoring leader, Tim Cahill, has announced his retirement from international play.

Remember that Orlando City takes on the Philadelphia Union tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET at Talen Energy Stadium in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals. With any luck, the team will advance to its first ever semifinal berth in the competition. Vamos Orlando!