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Lion Links: 8/8/18

El-Munir transitioning up the pitch, the Pride are already in playoff mode, U.S. women’s soccer gets its final draw news, and more.

MLS: New England Revolution at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Greetings, Mane Landers! Happy Wednesday. Let’s talk some Orlando city, Pride and U.S. Women’s National Team news. Today isn't too crazy, which is weird, so it’ll be a quick update for you today!

Mohamed El-Munir Focused on Improvement

Under new Head Coach James O’Connor, starting left back Mohammed El-Munir has been transitioned to the left wing for no specific reason.

“For me there’s no big difference in left back or left wing,” El-Munir said. “Just in the attack part that you have to attack every time when you play left wing because you’re an attacker.”

Since the beginning of the season, El-Munir has shown very good aptitude and has struggled with certain defensive aspects, so this move isn’t largely surprising due to the lack of depth that exists at the position.

“I’m trying to get used to the position. I don’t want to say I feel confident 100 percent as I play left back because I’ve been playing this position for a while, but I think with a few games I will start to be confident and I can do much more than what I did the last few games,” he said.

Weatherholt and the Pride Ready for Playoff Atmosphere

The Pride have only four matches left and currently sit in third in the NWSL (the top four make the playoffs). That doesn't mean much as the Pride will face three of the other top four teams in first-place North Carolina, the fourth-place Portland Thorns, and the fifth-place Chicago Red Stars. Midfielder Dani Weatherholt relishes the finish to the season.

“It just goes to show, you need to beat those teams to be in the playoffs, so I’m happy that they’re top caliber teams. We’re going to have to play our best and I’m really looking forward to it. We need the win, and they’re going to be championship games. It’s playoff mode already.”

I’m not a huge fan of saying games are must-wins, but the Pride (30 points/20 games played) are dangerously close to must-win for the rest of their season. Portland (29 points) and Chicago (28 points) have one and two games in hand, respectively, meaning when everything is even they both could easily sit above the Pride. North Carolina has wrapped up the No. 1 seed, so that leaves four teams for three spots (Seattle is currently in second with 33 points in 19 games played). If the Pride are going to earn a playoff appearance for the second straight year, it could mean a four-game winning streak is needed to secure that spot. Expect an exciting finish, people.

Ashlyn Harris Wins NWSL Save of the Week

In what seems to be a weekly occurrence, Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was awarded the NWSL’s Save of the Week with this great effort against Sky Blue FC’s Carli Lloyd.

Other NWSL awards included:

Concacaf Women’s Final Draw is Set

The draw for the Concacaf Women’s Championship is now set to be held in Miami. The draw will take place on Sept. 4, 2018 and will determine the final eight teams and their groups as the nations look to qualify for the 2019 World Cup. Additionally, U.S. Soccer has released its premier of The Journey, season 2, with Julie Ertz taking the spotlight.

Free Kicks
  • Meet Christine Nairn and Haley Kopmeyer today!
  • Christine Nairn hopes to repeat her last outing against the Thorns with this beautiful goal.

There you have it! Not the craziest of days, so I apologize for not being able to distract you for a longer period of time. I guess that means we’ll all just have to get back to work that much sooner. Cheers!