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Lion Links: 7/4/18

Lions energized for second half of the season, Pride lacking cohesion, Bundesliga wonderkids to watch, your World Cup update, and much more.

Soccer: 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup-USA at Panama The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Happy birthday to the USA and very importantly, Captain America. Hopefully you’ve got plenty of fun planned for today as we all have to suffer for two whole days of no World Cup matches. Honestly, I don’t even know what to do as this World Cup has been the most exciting I have ever watched (starting with ’98).

Today we’re talking about the Lions and how they’ll look to gain some energy for a second-half push. We’ll also take a look at the Pride who seem to be lacking chemistry after two straight losses. I’ll recap you on the World Cup and we’ll also talk about the American invasion of wonderkids in the Bundesliga.

O’Connor Brings Confidence as Lions Look to Second Half

Orlando City has a new manager but that doesn't automatically help the current situation. The Lions still are on an eight-match losing streak in MLS and sit in ninth in the East, currently four points below the cut line. Forward Dom Dwyer gave his take on where the mindset of the club is.

“Everything seems to be stacking against us at the moment,” Dwyer said. “We’re on a poor streak of games. For us, we’re not looking at that. We’re looking at game to game, week to week. We have a big plus right now and we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re just focusing on ourselves as a club. We’re going to work for it and our first focus is trying to beat LA this weekend.”

That’s going to be a tough test going out to LAFC this weekend on the heels of Adama Diomande’s Player of the Week outing and the club’s first ever hat trick. However, with O’Connor’s arrival, the players already see a difference in the first-time MLS manager.

“He showed a lot of confidence and excitement, and that’s exactly what we need right now,” Yotun said. “So, it was a great day for the club that he was able to do that.”

Pride Lacking Cohesion in Consecutive Losses; Morgan Out at Training

After a 3-0 drubbing against the league-leading North Carolina Courage and a 2-1 loss to the Houston Dash, both at home, the Pride currently sit in third place with only three points separating places two through six on the table. The problem at hand seems to be a lack of chemistry among the players according to manager Tom Sermanni.

“We’re looking for chemistry,” Sermanni said. “We’re looking to get the balance of things right. It’s happened sporadically, and we need something to kick it off.”

Defender Poliana sees the same issue:

“Another thing, it’s hard for [Sermanni] to keep the XI every single game because we have so many great players that can be playing as starters.

“Because of that, it may be harder for us to play as a team in a game sometimes because we are not playing every single game together.”

At some point Sermanni needs to select a true first XI. Constant rotating can only hurt the team as everyone is seeing the varying lineups week to week are causing issues on the field. He’d best be served by clearly defining roles. You may argue that this is a good problem, but I view it as a team’s undoing if rhythm can’t be established.

In other news, Alex Morgan received treatment on her injured calf but it doesn't appear to be a serious injury, but more preventative at this point holding her out. Also, defender Lotta Ökvist was waived yesterday.

Bundesliga Names Four Americans as Wonderkids to Watch for 2018/2019

If you’re a USMNT fan, the league you need to be watching is the German Bundesliga. Yes the league is usually wrapped up by one team consistently, but it is arguably the best league at showcasing young talent. For American young talent, it is showcasing some of its best with four Americans named into a first XI of wonderkids — the league’s best young talent — to watch for 2018/2019.

  • Christian Pulisic - Borussia Dortmund
  • Weston McKennie - Schalke FC
  • Josh Sargent - Werder Bremen FC
  • Jonathan Klinsmann - Hertha Berlin
World Cup Update: England Finally Gets The PK Ghost Off Its Back

Sweden continues an improbable run where it’s knocked out countries like the Netherlands and Italy in the qualifiers, to then win its group over Mexico and Germany, and now move on past the Swiss. The Swedes will be looking to continue their run against the favorites on the right-hand side of the bracket, England, on Saturday at 10 a.m. ET in the quarterfinals.

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