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Lion Links: 7/18/18

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Earl Edwards Jr.’s opportunity, the Pride welcome some new faces in training, U.S. Open Cup preview, and more.

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

Happy Hump Day, everyone! Hope you’re having a great week because I sure am enjoying the ICC Futures tournament down at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. If you don’t know what that is, check it out and head down to Disney some time this week to see some of the best U-14 teams in the world.

Today we’re talking U.S. Open Cup, Earl Edwards Jr., the Pride’s visitors, and much more.

Earl Edwards Jr. is Seizing His Opportunity

Earl Edwards Jr. got the start and win for Orlando City this past weekend at home against Toronto FC. Normal starter Joe Bendik was a healthy scratch and one that many of us were happy to see. Not that Joe is a poor goalkeeper, but he’s been inconsistent at best and has needed a wakeup call. Edwards performing very well is a welcome refreshment in goal and it was something he was hopeful for as well.

“For me I feel like it’s been a long time coming,” Edwards said Tuesday. “I got my MLS debut by default with Joe [Bendik] getting a concussion. I feel from my perspective to really earn the right and to be given that opportunity from a head coach has been very rewarding.”

Expect to see Edwards Jr. get some more time in the net. I expect to see him tonight in the U.S. Open Cup (he got the D.C. game as well in the tournament).

Pride Continue Squad Rotation During Playoff Push

OK, so Tom Sermanni is throwing all of us some mixed messages over these past couple of weeks. On one hand, he’s saying that the club needs more cohesion, and then on the other he talks about the continual squad rotation that's going to keep happening.

“It’s going to be fluid and people have to adapt,” coach Tom Sermanni said. “We did a little bit of a formation shift and wanted to refresh the team during a long road trip. We put in five new starters to give us the best look we could possibly put together and get a good shape. We get people in who haven’t started in a little while who were fresh.”

Rotation is part of the game but — not to be a broken record — you can't continue to keep rotating heavily and gain cohesion. This is going to be a detriment to the Pride in the long term as a true first XI isn't going to come out of this hitting its stride for the playoffs. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m skeptical at this point.

As part of that squad rotation and the heavy amount of players expected to play in the upcoming Tournament of Nations, some new players have been training with the Pride as Aussies Lisa De Vanna (a former Pride player), Mackenzie Arnold and Chloe Logarzo are in the U.S. preparing for the Tournament of Nations.

Eight Remain as Quarterfinals of U.S. Open Cup Kick off Today

Orlando City faces off against the Philadelphia Union in Open Cup action at Talen Energy Stadium tonight at 7 p.m. This will be a tough test for the Lions as the Union will be rested and looking to avenge the loss they took from the Lions earlier this season. The quarterfinals have a good mix of big names, rising clubs, and USL teams, which should lend itself to a quality round as the teams battle it out for the semis, a hopeful championship, and a spot in the Concacaf Champions League.

Miguel Gallardo Sits Down with James O’Connor

Miguel Gallardo sat down for an interview with new Orlando City Head Coach James O’Connor on a variety of topics regarding the club. Much of it has been said already, but it’s nice to hear from the new manger.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City Development Academy player AJ Seals was named to the Development Academy Best XI. Congrats!

That’s it! Have a great week with great beer, and here's hoping for a U.S. Open Cup victory tonight! Cheers!