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Lion Links: 9/13/18

James O’Connor knows high demand for winning, praise for El-Munir, Colmán speaks on failed expectations and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Sporting KC William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Hello all, and welcome to today’s Lion Links. I hope you are all enjoying the work week as it is almost over. For those of you being affected by Hurricane Florence, I hope you are in a safe and reliable place as the storm approaches. Let’s get right into today’s links, everyone.

James O’Connor Knows Winning Will Be in High Demand

Head Coach James O’Connor knows the importance of winning and the mentality that comes with it. He also knows the demand for a winning culture will grow over time. O’Connor has always been a firm believer in looking at himself in the mirror before critiquing his players, allowing him to create a high-demand environment for the club.

“There’s a few of the guys that have got good understanding of what expectations are,” he said. “There’s a few that we think, he understands what’s required in training. He understands, in the game, what’s needed. He’s got a great attitude. He’s got a burning desire to win and when you don’t win, it really, really hurts.”

O’Connor has been constantly pushing forward and continuing to do so will improve performance for this season and next. The Lions take on the Chicago Fire this Sunday.

O’Connor Gives High Praise to El-Munir

Mohamed El-Munir has been one of the more surprising additions for Orlando City and he recently gained praise from O’Connor.

El-Munir has made 21 appearances with the club, starting in 18 of those appearances. He has recently been placed in a winger position, presenting a versatile option for O’Connor. El-Munir recently played with the Libyan national team, playing all 90 minutes of the match, so he may not see the start this Sunday. O’Connor has stated he hopes to see El-Munir finish the season strong and grow as the season comes to a close.

Josué Colmán Speaks on Rough Season

Midfielder Josué Colmán has had an interesting first season with the Lions, ranging from ever-changing minutes played to a coaching change in the middle of the season. He knew expectations were high, but believes they were never met since signing with the Lions in January.

“I knew when I first arrived, there was high expectations of me, but things just didn’t go the way I hoped for, especially for the team and for me personally,” Colmán told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “There were some positive moments that I think served as lessons since things didn’t go as we expected, but all we can do is look to finish the season strong and come back even better next season.”

Despite the coaching change, Colmán used that as the start of a new beginning. He wanted to impress O’Connor and the rest of the new staff, yet the Paraguayan has only started two of the last 10 games in MLS for the Lions. He could possibly see more playing time as the season closes.

Dom Dwyer in Running for Custom FIFA 19 MLS Cover

EA Sports’ release of its annual soccer game, FIFA 19, comes out later this month and the company wants fans to vote on who should grace the custom cover from MLS. Orlando City’s Dom Dwyer is among the candidates, with Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez and LAFC’s Carlos Vela being on the list as well. Dom is behind in the voting, so he could use the help. Voting ends at 5 p.m. ET on Sept. 21.

Free Kicks
  • Earl Edwards Jr. and Donny Toia took some time to visit Arnold Palmer Hospital and spent some time with kids.
  • It’s safe to say Orlando Pride goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer had an interesting flight yesterday.
  • SIMA adds Andrew Douek-Pirotte to its coaching staff. He’ll coach the Orlando City U-12 boys academy team in addition to a SIMA team.
  • Nick Rimando’s dog seems to be playing his way towards a contract.