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Lion Links: 8/25/18

Orlando City hosts Atlanta United, Spector returns, Timbers hire an ex-OCSC coach, and more.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Happy match day, folks. The Orlando Pride must win tonight to keep their playoff hopes alive and so we’ve more or less got a home playoff game against the Red Stars this evening. It’s the last Pride home game of the year so get out to the stadium and support the team once more in 2018.

Let’s get to what you came for: today’s helping of Lion Links.

Orlando City Dealt Another Loss

Last night’s game was a reminder that the off-season isn’t all that bad, actually. I kid, but this has been a brutal season and that’s the word that Scott Sutter used in post-game interviews to describe the string of poor results. Orlando City played a pretty good 45 minutes but failed to mount much of anything after halftime in a 1-1 game, and Atlanta went on to win, 2-1. Once again, mistakes were a problem. This time it was a miscue by Joe Bendik that led to Atlanta’s first goal. If you’re mad today, you’re not alone.

Check back later today for player grades from the bearded guy and five takeaways from Sean Rollins.

Specs Returns! Ascues Debuts!

Last night’s match featured the surprise return of captain Jonathan Spector to the starting lineup. Specs had been out with a hamstring injury since July 7, when he was hurt in the first half at LAFC. Spector was pretty much his usual self, although you could see the lack of recent games take its toll on him as the game wore on.

Carlos Ascues, the newest Lion, made his debut last night as well, starting in the defensive midfield next to Uri Rosell. Ascues looked pretty darn good to my eyes, despite playing just days after arriving in Orlando. He went 67 minutes and did tire noticeably in the second half, but once he gets 90-minute match fit, he looks like he’ll be a nice addition.

Former OCSC Assistant Joins Timbers

Miles Joseph has joined the Portland Timbers coaching staff, occupying the position that current Orlando City Assistant Coach Sean McAuley occupied for the Cascadia club. Joseph was an assistant in Orlando under Jason Kreis from 2016 until the mid-season coaching change this year that brought James O’Connor back to Orlando. In a strange way, it’s like the clubs traded assistant coaches.

U.S. Youth Teams Get Results

The U-18 USMNT has advanced to the Vaclav Jezek Youth Tournament final after a 1-1 draw with the Czech Republic. The Baby Nats can win the tournament today with a victory over Japan. Let’s go get that trophy, boys!

Speaking of trophies, the U.S. U-15 girls clinched their tournament with a 5-0 drubbing of host China in in Weifang. Amelia White netted a hat trick for the U.S. The United States still has a match to play, so it’s been a good tournament for the Stars & Stripes. The U-15s will close the tournament Sunday with a match against the Czech Republic.

Free Kicks
  • Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was arrested for what the Brits call “drink driving” ahead of Sunday’s match against Manchester United.
  • Man City lost another major player this week.
  • Those born on this date in history include Ivan the Terrible (1530), composer Leonard Bernstein (1918), Let’s Make a Deal host Monty Hall (1921), Sean Connery (1930), Regis Philbin (1931), baseball’s Rollie Fingers (1946), Kiss bassist Gene Simmons (1949), Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford (1951), Yes and Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes (1952), Elvis Costello (1954), and director Tim Burton (1958).

That’s all my time for today. Be sure to check back throughout the day as we provide full coverage of the Orlando Pride vs. the Chicago Red Stars.