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Lion Links: 8/26/18

The Pride crash out of the playoff picture, James O’Connor hands his younger players minutes, a brief USMNT update, and more.

Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. Or, well, Sunday. Last night was a tough pill to swallow, as the Pride fell, hard, to the Chicago Red Stars and crashed out of the playoff picture. Meanwhile, the Lions are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference table. Ah, what a time to be an Orlando supporter.

Whatever. There’s always next season, right? You can’t see it or hear it, but I just let out a deep, elongated sigh.

That said...here’s your Sunday helping of Lion Links. Do your best to enjoy them.

Pride Crash and Burn in Must-Win Match vs. Chicago

In a must-win match with major playoff implications, the Orlando Pride went gently into that good night, losing 3-1 at home to the Chicago Red Stars. Mother nature struck yet again, and after just a few minutes of wide open play, the officials called for a weather delay due to lightning. Thanks, Florida. Eventually, the match got back underway...and it wasn’t pretty. The Red Stars were all over the Pride and, despite some early heroics from the Pride’s Ashlyn Harris, the Red Stars scored twice just before the end of the first half. It didn’t get any better during the second half, either, as the Red Stars scored again. Unfortunately for the Pride, the playoff picture is broken...and is impossible to reassemble.

Orlando City’s Youngsters See Minutes Against Atlanta United

With things looking increasingly bleak for the Lions, Head Coach James O’Connor made the bold decision to field some of the youngest players on his roster against the club’s red hot rivals. Pierre Da Silva saw his first MLS minutes on the season, Josué Colmán was handed a start, and even Jose Villarreal got on for the last few minutes. Sure, O’Connor’s hand was forced due to suspensions and injuries, but I’d love to see more of the younger players on this roster. I’m a proponent of building a club through Homegrown or young players — not just by adding marquee names to the roster. I hope O’Connor continues to allow his younger stars opportunities to shine: it can only brighten the future of the club. The future is purple...remember?

U.S. Men’s National Team Updates

In a time in which there isn’t even a manager of the USMNT yet, there’s still a lot going down and a lot to be updated on. First of all, center back John Brooks scored his first goal with Wolfsburg in the team’s 2-1 victory over Schalke 04. Funny enough, Brooks found the back of the net in his 100th Bundesliga appearance (remember that, because it’s bound to crop up in a trivia night somewhere). Have a gander.

Meanwhile, Tottenham’s Cameron Carter-Vickers has officially become a Swan, sealing a season-long loan deal with Swansea City AFC. This move in particular is exciting for everyone involved: CCV gets minutes, the Swans get a capable center back (they currently have only two on the roster), and the Spurs get to let their young talent develop without having to compromise their 18. It’ll be exciting to see CCV with the Swans, and even more exciting to potentially see him partner with the aforementioned Brooks for the USMNT. Now, about that manager...please find an appropriate one. Please.

Hope Solo Sues U.S. Soccer Over Pay Gap

The former U.S. Women’s National Team keeper has made the decision to continue her pursuit of justice against the U.S. Soccer Federation, taking the organization to court over what she claims is an unlawful difference in compensation that exists between the USMNT’s players and the USWNT’s players. Highlighted in the suit includes claims that the men were paid significantly more than the women when it came to World Cup matches, Olympic matches, friendlies, and sponsor appearances, and money from ticket sales. It’ll be interesting to see where this one goes.

Free Kicks
  • A major congratulations are in order to Orlando City midfielder Richie Laryea and Melanie Pace, as they’ve just found out they’re expecting a bouncing baby boy! Something tells me this young lad will have a ball in his hands fairly soon after entering this world: just as it should be. Here’s the reveal, and just look at that form from Richie!
  • Los Angeles FC’s captain, Laurent Ciman, may be moving abroad sooner rather than later. Having been left out of the 18 for his current club’s critical clash with rival side LA Galaxy, reports are indicating that Sporting Dijon and an unnamed Belgian club are after his services, with Dijon having attempted to acquire him just a year ago.
  • The Washington Spirit hope that Audi Field serves in their favor when it comes to attendance and performance, both now and later. It truly could, especially when you consider how young and talented their roster is. They’ve under performed severely this season, but Audi Field seems to have lifted everyone’s spirits (no pun intended). The club drew more than 7,000 fans last night, so that’s a good start.
  • The Atlantic’s Brooks Peck wrote up an interestingly comical piece detailing the MLS clubs he thinks could pick up and move in an instant. He names Orlando City, which seems absurd. But hey, crazier things have happened (but no, I don’t see it happening, and I definitely don’t see Disney buying the stadium and naming it Kaká’s Castle, but you should get a good laugh from the article at the very least).
  • Check out Maneul Veth’s piece on his journey from Canada to Russia to cover the World Cup. He had quite the adventure!
  • Kyle Beckerman’s got the jams. I’ve always been a fan of his, but gaining insight into what’s on his music playlist makes me like him even more.

Well, that’s all I have for you today folks. Be sure to check back in periodically to stay up to date on your Orlando City and Pride news. Enjoy your college football, if that’s your fancy, and also start preparing for the upcoming NFL season! Today is Draft Day for me and my money league. I’m coming for the silverware. I won one of my two leagues last year (thank you, Todd Gurley), and I’m ready for this season. As legendary coach Herm Edwards would say:

Until next time, Mane Landers. Have yourselves an excellent week.