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Lion Links: 7/20/18

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Orlando City can learn from U.S. Open Cup exit, Kopmeyer prepares to start, U.S. Open Cup controversy, and more.

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

Good morning, Mane Landers! I hope you have had a good week as we start to get ready for the weekend. Both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are playing tomorrow after big league wins last Saturday. But before we can get to some soccer action, we have to get through today. Let’s start the day on the right foot with some links!

Lessons From Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup Loss

Orlando City’s U.S. Open Cup run has come to an end after its 1-0 defeat to the Philadelphia Union, but Head Coach James O’Connor was able to learn a lot about his new club. Yoshimar Yotun is incredibly important to the club’s performance, Shane O’Neill can be a useful piece moving forward, and O’Connor is getting a much better look at what he is working with. The players may have tired legs at this point, but now O’Connor can focus entirely on MLS games as he gets a better sample size of what his players bring to the field.

Haley Kopmeyer is Ready for Action

While Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris is away on international duty for the Tournament of Nations, backup Haley Kopmeyer is ready to step up and fill in. Kopmeyer has only started one game this year when the Pride traveled to Seattle to face her former club. In that match, Kopmeyer kept a clean sheet in the 0-0 draw and she will hope to perform well again when the Pride face the Reign again tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. ET. A starting-caliber goalkeeper in the NWSL, Kopmeyer admits she gets frustrated with little playing time, but is ready to make the most of her time on the field.

“Yes, my goal is to get a No. 1 job and be a No. 1 somewhere. What goalie doesn’t want that or isn’t working for that? In the same token, I knew coming here there would be a role for me. I have an opportunity to go out and get really good training and focus on myself a little bit more, just in terms of my personal development, and learn a lot.”

USWNT Tournament of Nations Camp Roster Revealed

To no one’s surprise, the Pride’s Ashlyn Harris and Alex Morgan have both been called up for USWNT Head Coach Jill Ellis’ camp in preparation for the Tournament of Nations next week. Both Harris and Morgan have been called up to play for the U.S. earlier this season so the Pride shouldn’t be too out of sorts without them this weekend. Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond were both named to Australia’s roster, but the two won’t need to assemble with the rest of the Matildas until Monday, July 23. Brazil has yet to announce its roster but Marta is practically locked in to make the cut. The Tournament of Nations starts next week on July 26 in Kansas for the first round of games.

Kristen Edmonds Scores NWSL Goal of the Week

Last week, Kristen Edmonds was the difference-maker for the Pride when she found Utah Royals FC goalkeeper Abby Smith out of position and scored a beautiful goal by chipping the ball over Smith and into the back of the net. It was a sensational goal that gave the Pride the lead and eventual win over Utah as well as winning Week 16 NWSL Goal of the Week honors.

U.S Open Cup Controversy

The U.S. Open Cup draw to determine hosts for the semifinal round has been postponed as the U.S. Open Cup Adjudication and Discipline Panel looks into protests by the Portland Timbers regarding the number of foreign players used by Los Angeles FC.

That U.S Open Cup game between the Timbers and LAFC also caught some more negative attention as LAFC forward Adama Diomande has claimed that he was called a racial slur while on the field. The Portland Timbers released a statement as they look into the claims.

“The club is aware of the accusations posted on Instagram following Wednesday night’s U.S. Open Cup game and is in direct communication with LAFC management, league officials and internal staff to gather more information,” the statement said. “At this time, we are awaiting more details as we actively continue to investigate the matter. The club will provide further information when it becomes available.

”The Timbers and those associated with the club do not tolerate discriminatory, disrespectful or offensive behavior of any kind, under any circumstances, and it does not reflect the values of the club or the community which it represents.”

Free Kicks
  • Voting has opened for the MLS WORKS Community MVP. Orlando’s finalist is Grace Bowman, who has done incredible work teaching children with autism soccer skills and raising money to cure child brain cancer.