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Lion Links: 8/12/18

Pride and Thorns meet in pivotal game, PC savors his minutes, the Premier League is back, Zlatan is unhappy with his one-match ban, and more.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-D.C. United vs Orlando City SC Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. I’m here tasked with distracting you for a bit while we all wait for the the Lions to face off against D.C. United at Audi Field at 8 p.m. Depending upon when you’re reading this, that could feel like a century away — especially if you’re as excited as I am (there’s a bit of shame here when I say this) to see Wayne Rooney pick apart an inexperienced back line. I’ll do my best to bring you some juicy links so that you have something to sink your teeth into while you wait. It could get nasty tonight though folks, so in that regard, you have been forewarned.

That said, here’s your Sunday helping of Lion Links:

Orlando Pride Drop Pivotal Match vs. the Portland Thorns

The Orlando Pride hosted the Portland Thorns in an important match that had major playoff implications and it did not go well. Orlando played great from the jump but around the half hour mark the Thorns started to find their way into the game. We were scoreless at the break but Portland was the only team that showed up after the interval and the Thorns built a 2-0 lead and won by that score even though it could have been worse.

The loss left Tom Sermanni searching for answers in a late-season push that seems to be unraveling. How could the same team that started the first half come out that way in the second half? Neither Sermanni nor the players had an answer for that. Orlando has just one win in its last five outings.

Victor “PC” Giro Savors His Chances

The Brazilian defender and midfielder has been one of the players on the roster that’s benefited most from the appointment of new head coach James O’Connor, as his playing time and involvement in both the defense and attack has only increased in the passing weeks. He isn’t taking anything for granted it seems, as he’s publicly expressed his gratitude towards his new coaching staff and the playing time being awarded to him.

“For me, personally, it’s very good to come back and play,” PC said. “I like to play, you know? James is giving me an opportunity. For me, it’s a little bit hard because I was a long time and I didn’t play. Now I’m playing, so of course I have a good relationship with [O’Connor], Daniel [Byrd] and the other guys that came with them,” PC said. “He gives confidence for everybody, he’s open for everybody, he helps everybody – he’s good for us.”

The left back started the season with a controversial red card, and then subsequently wasn’t handed another start until the appointment of O’Connor. This is something that PC knows can not be taken for granted. When asked about his thoughts on his increase in minutes, he responded with:

“I think it’s getting better,” he said. “I hope I can go and play more games for the rest of the season.”

We do too, PC. As long as you’re helping the club win three points. We do too.

USMNT Star Defender DeAndre Yedlin Suffers Apparent Knee Injury

In a time typically celebrated by Premier League, Newcastle United, and USMNT supporters alike, dire circumstances have set in for the Magpies’ DeAndre Yedlin, who suffered what looks to be a serious knee injury yesterday during the waning minutes in the first match of the Magipes’ 2018-2019 season.

Zlatan Ibrahimović Unhappy with MLS All-Star Game-Related Ban

The enigmatic striker didn’t hold back in a recent interview with ESPN when speaking on his one-match ban for choosing to sit out the MLS All-Star game.

“It think it is ridiculous, but yeah, no comments. They do whatever they want. I come from a different world, I come from the real world. It is what it is. I respect in the end, and I’m sorry for my teammates only that I could not help them in the game. But yeah, people are interested in different things. They lose on it, and for me it doesn’t matter.”

The rule is a bit silly, especially considering Zlatan had just recently played three matches over the span of nine days (he’s 36, remember), but a rule is a rule I guess. The Swede could have helped his team during his suspension, too, as the Galaxy fell to the Colorado Rapids, 2-1.

The Premier League is Back

The Premier League’s opening day did not disappoint. With a few familiar sides picking up points (I’m looking at you, Chelsea), others dropped them. Tottenham Hotspur beat Newcastle United, 2-1, AFC Bournemouth beat Cardiff City (2-0), Crystal Palace beat Fulham (2-0), Chelsea won handily against Huddersfield Town (3-0), Watford beat Brighton & Hove Albion (2-0), and Wolverhampton drew with Everton (2-2).

Today’s fixtures include Liverpool hosting West Ham United, Southampton hosting Burnley, and Aresenal hosting Manchester City. Enjoy, folks!

Free Kicks

Well, I hope that I did enough to distract you in the least bit while we all wait for the Lions to march out onto Audi Field and...well, play. The pessimist in me is still winning, folks. Enjoy the match, and then, regardless of the (potentially catastrophic) result, have a great week!