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Lion Links: 9/20/18

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James O’Connor wants to reward supporters, three Lions approaching milestones, Pride players picked for USWNT, and more.

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

How is it going, Mane Landers? I hope you all are enjoying your week as summer closes and fall slowly approaches.

Without further ado, let’s get into the Lion Links for today.

James O’Connor Wants Supporters to Be Rewarded

The season has been rough for the Orlando City faithful and we all know that. James O’Connor has made it his personal mission to thank fans after every home match, and he wants those supporters to be rewarded. The Lions have kept a consistent amount of fans in the stadium, with the lowest recorded attendance being 22,337 against the Portland Timbers back on April 8.

“I think the biggest thing is that we will reward them. The best analogy I can give is that the club has gone through a period where we’re sick. Like anyone who is sick, you need to make them better. We understand what’s needed to make us better and we will do that, and we will give the supporters what they want, for sure.”

O’Connor came into arguably the hardest possible position, becoming the leader of a bottom-five team in the Eastern Conference in the middle of the season. The Lions play three more home games, with the Houston Dynamo coming to Orlando City Stadium this upcoming Saturday.

Dwyer, Kljestan and Johnson Approaching Milestones

Dom Dywer, Sacha Kljestan, and Will Johnson are all nearing career milestones as the end of the season approaches. To start with Dwyer, he is currently tied with Cyle Larin with 33 shots on goal during the season, so his next shot on target will set the club single-season record. Kljestan’s next assist will be the 91st of his long MLS career, and with that assist he will tie Cobi Jones for eighth in MLS history. Will Johnson’s next appearance for the Lions will be his 50th, which will make him the ninth player to pass that milestone with the club. As you watch Orlando City finish out the season, watch as these three players approach big milestones in their respective careers.

Pride’s Morgan, Harris Make USWNT Roster for Concacaf Championship

The USWNT announced its roster for the Concacaf Women’s Championship, the qualifying tournament for the 2019 World Cup. The Orlando Pride’s Ashlyn Harris and Alex Morgan are both on the roster with regulars Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd featuring in the team as well. This roster went down three players from the pair of friendlies vs. Chile. A 20-player roster is also three fewer than would feature on the World Cup roster next year. The news about defender Tierna Davidson’s injury (see below), along with McCall Zerboni’s injury, could be factors in a small roster. The USWNT kicks off the tournament against Mexico on Oct. 4.

Tierna Davidson Out 10-12 Months with Injury

Tierna Davidson will be sidelined for about 10-12 months after fracturing her left ankle in her match with Stanford University on Sept. 9. The 20-year-old Stanford product (her birthday was yesterday) has earned 12 caps with the USWNT this year, all starts. She also leads the USWNT in minutes played this year, with 1,049. Davidson picked up her first goal for her country in the 3-0 win over Chile on Sept. 4. This news will mean Davidson’s chances of participating in the World Cup next year are in serious jeopardy, meaning the USWNT will continue qualification without the youngster on the back line.

Free Kicks
  • Get to know Orlando City’s opponents for Saturday, the Houston Dynamo.
  • The second day of group stage action in the UEFA Champions League offered some intrigue. Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off in his UCL debut for Juventus, but despite this the Italian superpower defeated Valencia, 2-0. Referee Felix Brych showed Ronaldo a straight red card and a possible suspension could be in his future. Meanwhile, the betting favorites, Manchester City, fell to French side Lyon, 2-1, creating an interesting scenario in Group F. Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United came away with victories to finish off the day.
  • Toronto FC fell 3-1 to Tigres in the inaugural Campeones Cup.
  • FC Cincinnati broke ground on the club’s future training center, Mercy Health Training Center.
  • Inter Miami CF released a video that portrays the process behind the design for the team crest.

Thanks for reading today and have a wonderful Thursday and weekend everyone. Peace!