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Lion Links: 7/27/18

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Orlando City swept, Alex Morgan’s hat trick, the Pride take a break, and more.

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

Last night was Orlando City’s first Thursday night game and now I can see why Orlando City never does them. Spending a Friday morning fresh off of a loss sucks. Thankfully, the Lions weren’t the only ones playing yesterday and we at least have some good news from Alex Morgan and the United States Women’s National Team in the Tournament of Nations. Let’s get to the links!

Orlando City Falls to NYCFC in Thursday Night Action

Unable to find score for the third time against New York City FC this season, the Lions lost 2-0 in a game where they just couldn’t find their footing. Now swept in the season’s series with their expansion partner, Orlando City will be thankful not to have to play them again this year. Overall, the Lions didn’t play too poorly and were simply unlucky and sloppy, missing the goal by inches at times and picking up a red card.

Check back later today for Alek Pierce’s five takeaways from last night’s loss and a photo gallery from Nick Leyva.

Alex Morgan Shines as Tournament of Nations Begins

Despite the Tournament of Nations’ first goal coming from an own goal by Brazilian and Orlando Pride defender Poliana, the first night of the event showcased some excellent work by many Pride players. In the match between the United States and Japan, Alex Morgan took over and scored her fourth career hat trick in the USWNT’s 4-2 victory. It was an incredible performance that reminded everyone just how big of an offensive threat she is.

Her first goal came from quality team play between her, Megan Rapinoe, and Christen Press that ended with Morgan finding the back of the net for the 87th time in the red, white, and blue. Check out the recap in the link above for full highlights, including video of all three Morgan goals.

In the earlier match, Australia ended up defeating Brazil 3-1 in a match that pitted Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond against fellow Pride teammates Marta, Monica, Poliana, and Camila. Friendships were put to the side in a physical match that even included van Egmond getting a yellow card for a hard foul on Marta. The scoring opened with the aforementioned own goal by Poliana, but the second goal came off a well-placed corner kick by van Egmond that caused enough chaos that the Matilda’s were able to double their lead. Sam Kerr was able to score in the second half to put Australia comfortably ahead, but Marta worked her magic to get Brazil some consolation. A nice run down the wing allowed Marta to slip the ball into the box for Debinha to score Brazil’s lone goal of the game.

Pride Players Resting Before NWSL’s Final Stretch

With the Orlando Pride not set to play another National Women’s Soccer League game until Aug. 5 when they take on winless Sky Blue FC at Orlando City Stadium, Head Coach Tom Sermanni is advising players to take a break from the game while their teammates participate in the Tournament of Nations.

“It’s a good time for people just to get away and get some time where they don’t have to think about football,” Pride coach Tom Sermanni said in a phone interview with Pro Soccer USA. “They don’t have to think about routine. They just get some time just to kind of chill out. Normally, they’d come back really kind of eager to get started.”

During the break, Sermanni will head to Miami to see some of the top women’s teams in the world at the International Champion’s Cup. With only five games left, the players will be completely rested and ready for the closest NWSL playoff race ever when they return.

Lions Named to Unified Sports All-Star Roster

Yoshimar Yotún and Cameron Lindley won’t be the only Lions taking part in this year’s All-Star festivities. The rosters have been announced for the fifth-annual Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Showcase and two Orlando City standouts have been selected for the game. Freddrick Johnson and Colby Kinter were both selected for the Eastern Conference roster and you can see them and the rest of the players this upcoming Tuesday night at 6 p.m. ET, streamed live on MLS YouTube and ESPN+.

Free Kicks
  • I’m sure last night wasn’t the way Dom Dwyer wanted to celebrate his anniversary as a Lion, but it’s nice to see him remembering the good times from when Orlando City traded for him last summer.

Well that’s all I’ve got for you today, Mane Landers! Don’t fret too much about last night and just focus on finishing the week strong. Vamos Orlando!