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Lion Links: 7/22/18

The Lions travel to Columbus, the Pride host the Reign, a look into the life of Pride fan-favorite Dani Weatherholt, and more.

Gabrielle Feulner, The Mane Land

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. We’ve got a lot on the docket today, so I say we just jump right in. You ready? Let’s do this.

Here’s your Sunday helping of Lion Links! Bon appetite.

Orlando City Done in at Columbus by Late Penalty, Rocket

The Lions fell 3-2 in Columbus after being just moments away from victory. Leading 2-1, Orlando City fell victim to a late penalty call that seemed softer than anything you’d see on a toilet paper commercial. The resulting tying goal from the spot gave the Crew a boost and Wil Trapp’s laser shot from 30 yards out in stoppage ripped out what was left of Orlando City fans’ hearts.

Check back later this morning for Dave Rohe’s five takeaways from the match. Spoiler: it might contain something about officiating decisions.

The Pride Draw the Reign Yet Again, 1-1

In what’s become a draw-fest over the years, the Orlando Pride and Seattle Reign played to their fifth consecutive draw in a 1-1 match at Orlando City Stadium yesterday afternoon. A few notable stars from both sides, namely the Pride’s Alex Morgan and Reign’s Megan Rapinoe, were not in attendance as they’ve been called up to the U.S. Women’s National Team to represent their country in the upcoming Tournament of Nations. Toni Pressley put the Pride ahead early in the first half, but a second-half surge from the Reign was imminent, and you could sense that a goal for the Reign would just be a matter of when, and not if. Jodie Taylor proved to be the difference maker, and it was her 70th-minute goal that stole a point for the Reign on the road. The fight for second place in the NWSL standings will come down to the wire with only a few fixtures left to play. Here’s a few words from Pressley, the only Pride player to find the back of the net on the day:

Pride Spotlight: Dani Weatherholt

I’m not sure there’s a better teammate than Dani Weatherholt. In this excellent write-up from OrlandoCitySC.com’s (and former TML writer) Meg Van Dyk, fans gain insight into not only the type of player Weatherholt is, but also the type of person she is off the field. Drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 NWSL Draft out of Santa Clara University, Weatherholt was largely a mystery to Tom Sermanni and his staff, but they took a chance on the young midfielder anyway, and boy has it paid off. Weatherholt herself even explains how much it meant to her that the club would put their faith and valuable draft pick on her name.

“For him to believe in me before I even got here was big,” Weatherholt said. “Being a fourth-round draft pick, they never held that against me. I was able to prove myself just like everyone else and make the team.”

And Weatherholt has certainly brought much more than just talent to the pitch for the Pride. Her determination and work rate is second to none on the the squad, something she says she displays to inspire her teammates.

“I try to bring a work rate that inspires others to work harder, both on and off the pitch,” Weatherholt said. “I think that is what people respect about me and it allows me to have that connection with my teammates, to push them and encourage them.”

The Pride are lucky to have Weatherholt, and she’s proven crucial to this season’s push for a playoff appearance. She’s the ideal teammate, and all of the young men and women out there playing should take note of how she conducts herself both on and off the field. I mean, who else would stay back after playing 90 minutes for 47 additional minutes just to greet each fan individually, signing autographs and taking countless pictures in the process?

SIMA Bounced from USL PDL Playoffs

The SIMA Aguilas fell 2-1 in the Southern Conference final last night in extra time to The Villages SC. The two Central Florida clubs met and couldn’t decide the match in 90 minutes, with each side finding the net once. The Villages scored in the 105th minute through Alvaro Macias Raimundo, and held on from there to advance to the national semifinals. Leonardo Novaes scored for SIMA. Congratulations to the Buffalo. The Villages seemed pretty amped about the win.

The Pursuit of Alphonso Davies

With reports abound that Davies has been targeted by the German powerhouse Bayern Munich, speculation has been rising that the move is concrete and just a matter of time before made official. Davies was given permission from his current club, the Vancouver Whitecaps, to sit out yesterday’s match against the Seattle Sounders (and that attack sure did miss him). It’s been rumored that Bayern has offered $12 million for Davies’ services, and I think we’ll be seeing an official announcement in the coming days.

International Champions Cup Update

Bayern Munich started off on the right foot in their pursuit of the International Champions Cup by beating Paris Saint-Germain, 3-1. Despite the poor result for the Parisians, fans of the U.S. Men’s National Team are swooning over a beautiful goal from Tim Weah. Weah’s pace was on full display as a chipped through ball, won by Kevin Rimane off of an errant Bayern pass, found its way into the goal courtesy of Weah’s right boot. It was certainly an exciting moment for Weah, PSG supporters, and USMNT supporters alike, and can only serve as a springboard for Weah into more meaningful minutes. With that said, his attempted sliding celebration didn’t quite go as planned, but at least he found the humor in it:

Bayern took control of the match in the second half, and goals from Javi Martinez, Renato Sanches, and Joshua Zirkzee sealed a comfortable win. Dortmund also held off Manchester City, thanks to a goal from Mario Götze the day before. American sensation Christian Pulisic has impressed his new head coach, which isn’t the least bit surprising really. Enjoy today’s fixture, which features Dortmund and Liverpool — which is bound to have some flavor since Jürgen Klopp managed Dortmund before darting for an opportunity to manage Liverpool.

Free Kicks
  • The Portland Timbers have withdrawn their protest over the allegation that Los Angeles FC had one too many international players on the match day squad following their defeat in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
  • The Seattle Sounders have followed a strange trend this season with MLS clubs and recent international signings by waiving Norwegian midfielder Magnus Wolff Eikrem, who was signed on Jan. 30.
  • Didier Deschamps has praised Paul Pogba following their country’s triumph at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, specifically highlighting Pogba’s maturity in dealing with the constant media pressure.
  • Speaking of the World Cup, Neymar’s compatriot and teammate, Dani Alves, has come to his friend’s defense following Brazil’s crashing out of the World Cup and meteoric emergence of anti-Neymar memes, mocking the striker’s dramatics displayed in Russia. I love Neymar, but the memes and challenges that were birthed from his theatrics truly are hysterical.

That’s all I’ve got for you today, folks. Be sure to check back in periodically to remain up to date on all things Orlando City and Orlando Pride. And before I go, I just wanted to leave you with this little nostalgic gem, with a little bit of Rex Orange County mixed in. I know, I’m a Rex fanboy. Wanna fight about it?

You’ve got a friend in me, Mane Landers. Have an excellent week, and cheers!