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Lion Links: 8/23/18

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Chris Mueller visits Wisconsin, Orlando City and Pride injury updates, Ashlyn Harris understands importance of Chicago match, Pride players get national team call-ups, and more.

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

What’s going on, everyone? I hope you guys are enjoying your Thursday and are getting prepared for game day tomorrow against Atlanta United. Today there is plenty going on in the world of Orlando City, Orlando Pride, and other soccer happenings. Let’s get right into the links for today.

Chris Mueller Visits Alma Mater During Bye Week

Chris Mueller has been a busy guy in his rookie season with Orlando City, but after training at IMG Academy, Mueller took the liberty of heading to the University of Wisconsin over this past weekend. Mueller had been planning on returning to Madison but time constraints prevented him from going. While in Madison, Mueller was able to watch the Badgers’ 3-1 victory over the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“I wanted to go back and see how the team is coming together. There’s a lot of new faces. I have a lot of friends who are still on the team and [I wanted] to see my coaches, as well. It was a good reminder, kind of getting to see your roots and where you’ve come from. You never want to forget those kinds of things.”

Mueller was the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2017 and was welcomed back by players and fans with open arms. He signed autographs for fans and talked with some former teammates. Mueller will try to help lead Orlando City to victory against Atlanta United tomorrow night.

Orlando City and Orlando Pride Training Updates

Ahead the match tomorrow against Atlanta, there were plenty of social media updates from training on several Orlando City players.

The above came out before yesterday’s session, which included everyone except RJ Allen (concussion) per Jordan Culver of ProSoccerUSA.com. Both Sacha Kljestan and Jonathan Spector, as well as Lamine Sané, participated in the portion of training that was open to the media. New addition Carlos Ascues, per Orlando City officials, will be available for selection against Atlanta United after his international paperwork went through.

Culver also gave insight on Sydney Leroux, who is in concussion protocol. Leroux went down in the 85th minute of the Pride’s last match but returned against the Courage. She is day-to-day and will continue to be evaluated. The Orlando Pride face off against the Chicago Red Stars this Saturday.

Ashlyn Harris Knows Importance of Match Against Red Stars

After a 3-0 loss to North Carolina Courage last weekend, goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris knows the Orlando Pride must beat the Chicago Red Stars this weekend to get back into the playoff picture. The match is the final home game of the season for the Pride and with the Red Stars being a point ahead of Orlando, the Pride need a win. Harris said she believes the match this weekend could have implications on the off-season.

“I don’t know what direction the club is going to go in after this season,” Harris said after she was asked if missing the playoffs would mean a rebuild for the club. “It’s probably going to be determined by this game. I think the great thing about football is, when you win and we go into the playoffs and have a good run, no one cares how shitty the season was. No one talks about that.

Orlando defeated the Chicago Red Stars 5-2 back on May 26, but are 4-5-3 since. We will see if the Pride can keep their playoff hopes alive this weekend and, if so, Harris will need to contribute to that.

Pride Players Selected for International Duty

Speaking of Harris, she and Alex Morgan, as expected, were among the 23 players selected for training in California ahead of the USWNT’s upcoming friendlies against Chile. These are the final tuneups before World Cup qualifying in the Concacaf Championship. Additionally, Shelina Zadorsky was picked to join Canada for a friendly against Brazil. No word yet officially, but we expect Marta, Camila, Monica, and Poliana to get the call as well for the Brazilians. These matches should not affect availability for league games.

Free Kicks

That’s all for today, folks. Enjoy your Thursday and get ready for the Lions’ Rivalry Week clash with Atlanta and the Pride’s must-win match again Chicago.