Happy back to playing soccer week! After that long hiatus for Orlando City, I’m happy to get a game week featuring both Orlando teams. While it’s been a tough season, I’m still excited to be inside the stadium as the Lions can hopefully pull off some magic against one of the hottest teams in MLS.
Today we are talking that Atlanta match, Chris Mueller’s attacking drive, some youth national team news, and plenty of free kicks to dive into as well.
Atlanta’s Road Success Looks to Continue this Week in Orlando
It’s no secret that the two teams’ seasons couldn’t be much different, as 10th-place Orlando hosts first-place Atlanta United. If anything has been more of a tell for how great Atlanta has been this season, it would be its road record of seven wins out of 11, giving United confidence where most in MLS struggle.
Those seven wins would be tied for the most out of any team since 2014. In a league that is notorious for road struggles, Atlanta is bucking the trend. The last time these teams played in Orlando it was a 2-1 loss for the Lions, but that was back in May when the team was coming off a six-match win streak with Jason Kreis.
Now James O’Connor gets his first crack at the club’s southern rival. This team is very different now, and Sacha Kljestan knows it when it comes to the coaching change:
Orlando City's Sacha Kljestan on the Max and Herc ESPN podcast, speaking about James O'Connor: "I think we're all still getting used to each other. I think James is a good coach and he's very demanding, and I think that's exactly what we needed, but things don't change overnight.— Daniel Karell (@DanKarellTLH) August 21, 2018
Ashlyn Harris Wins Another NWSL Save of the Week
I think I need to go back and do some counting, because it seems this is at least an every-other-week occurrence. Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris came up with the NWSL Save of the Week for this reaction save against North Carolina last weekend:
Stopping set pieces in their tracks.@Ashlyn_Harris takes home the Week 21 #NWSL Save of the Week! pic.twitter.com/6T6IFRso13— NWSL (@NWSL) August 21, 2018
- Portland Thorns’ Christine Sinclair won Goal of the Week.
- Sky Blue FC’s Katie Johnson won player of the week after scoring a brace.
Chris Mueller Talks His Offensive Style
Rookie Chris Mueller talked with Miguel Gallardo a little bit about his offensive style of play. The rookie started off well but hit the proverbial rookie wall. Still with games to play, it’ll be interesting to see if he can put together a late push for MLS Rookie of the Year.
Kick it with @cmueller1662 and @migallardo01.@Audi | The Drive Progress Series pic.twitter.com/3vy2cxPt3I— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) August 21, 2018
Youth National Teams in Action Yesterday
The U.S. U-18s began their tournament run in Prague yesterday with a 2-1 result over the United Arab Emirates.
The U-18 #USMNT began its Vaclav Jezek Youth Tournament run with a 2-1 victory vs. UAE today. Roberto Hategan scored both goals. pic.twitter.com/dSJVsa64wO— U.S. Soccer YNT (@ussoccer_ynt) August 21, 2018
The women’s U-17 women’s side fell down early but came back in a match against South Korea.
The U-17 #USWNT played the second of two matches vs. today in South Korea and drew 2-2 as Maya Doms & Sunshine Fontes scored. USA came back from two goals down to score twice in 2nd half. pic.twitter.com/NozrlPjdwx— U.S. Soccer YNT (@ussoccer_ynt) August 21, 2018
Washington Spirit End Ties with Head Coach and General Manager
The eighth-place Spirit have parted ways with Jim Gabarra immediately, pushing Assistant Coach Tom Torres into the interim role to finish the season as they look to begin their search. It’s an interesting move in my opinion because the Spirit have been hit heavily with the injury bug and have one of the youngest collections of talent across the board. Stars Mallory Pugh and Rose Lavelle have both missed chunks of the season, not helping their situation at all.
But with young USWNT members like Ashley Hatch (U-23s), Taylor Smith, and Andi Sullivan to go along with the aforementioned two, the Spirit look primed to make a jump in the next few years.
- Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan gets a brief cameo in FIFA 19’s trailer.
I'm in the game. Let's go Kim Hunter! @EASPORTSFIFA #FIFA19 pic.twitter.com/BsESNqjpBS— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) August 21, 2018
- Bordeaux FC is looking to hire former USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann as sporting director.
- Miami FC owner David Beckham is set to be awarded a UEFA President’s Award for his work on and off the field.
- Young USMNT rising star Tim Weah is unlikely to move from PSG on loan this season as they want to see him get minutes with the first team.
- Portland Thorns midfielder Lindsey Horan is next up in U.S. Soccer’s “The Journey” series as she talks her unusual path of going straight professional in France.
- Former Ajax talent Appie Nouri has woken up from a coma after over a year.
- Congrats to OCYS’ Boys ECNL on their season-opening tournament title.
Congratulations to the 2005 Boys ECNL - Champs at @fcprime Brevard Season Opener this past weekend pic.twitter.com/nIJYwScf6D— Orlando City Youth (@OCYouthSoccer) August 21, 2018
That’s it! Have a great Tuesday, see you on Friday against Atlanta and, as always, have some good beers along the way. Cheers!