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Lion Links: 9/22/18

O’Connor discusses roster decision timing, Hill returns to Australia, Nairn shows her techniques, DP slot may disappear, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Happy match day, everyone. At least, I hope it’s a happy one. It’s been since July 14 since Orlando City has given us one of those.

The Houston Dynamo make their biennial visit to Orlando tonight at 7:30, so I hope to see you in the purple palace tonight. There are only a couple more of these left after tonight before the long, cold off-season, which is always dark and full of terrors. Hey, at least there are only 100 days left until 2019.

To help you waste time between your morning routine and your tailgating ritual, I’ve provided some reading material for you.

JOC Says Roster Decisions Will Come at Season’s End

When Jason Kreis was fired, one of the things I was most concerned with was having to completely rebuild a team that had just been completely rebuilt from the rebuilt team that was rebuilt after Adrian Heath was fired. That’s a lot of rebuilding in a short period of time. Now that James O’Connor has seen his team go 1-8-2 in MLS since his arrival, it’s left a lot of questions about the current group of players. JOC himself has openly criticized the effort and character of players after the Chicago game. However, he’s not sure just yet that a complete rebuild is necessary. That decision will come later, he said.

“I think decisions like that will be made at the end of the season,” he said. “I think the important aspect is to make sure that you’re very diligent in how you go about things. I think, at the moment, everything is really negative, but there’s so much to be positive about.

“When you look at the atmosphere in the home games, when you look at the passion that our supporters bring, when you look at the stadium that we have, we have everything here to be able to go and be successful. For us, it’s analyzing everything to make sure that we get the level of success that we all want. Rest assured, we’re going to get there.”

I would respectfully say that having passionate supporters and a gorgeous stadium is nice, but it isn’t what ultimately brings success to the pitch. The Lions must play with more desire and quality than we’ve seen in recent weeks. Maybe that’ll happen tonight.

Pride’s Hill Returns to W-League’s Perth Glory for Off-Season

Orlando Pride forward Rachel Hill, who took Australia by storm last fall, is returning to a land down under. Hill re-signed with Perth, where she finished third in the league in goals last year, with nine. She also led all W-League players with six assists. Her breakout season in Australia had many people expecting big things out of Hill for the 2018 NWSL season but a nagging groin issue and Tom Sermanni’s desire to use her as a super sub off the bench limited her minutes. Hill still managed to finish tied for third on the Pride in 2018 with four goals. Good luck to Rachel in Oz and we hope she comes back to Orlando healthy for 2019.

MLS Considering Eliminating or Altering Third DP Slot

According to Sam Stejskal, a freelance writer who contributes often for, his sources have told him Major League Soccer is considering tinkering with Designated Player rules. The most likely outcome would be the elimination of the third DP slot for teams or a limit on its cap. Stejskal said if this happens it would likely start in 2020 and the league would likely increase Targeted Allocation Money. The idea would be to improve quality in the middle of the roster. But here, let me allow Sam to explain it.

Nairn Drops the Knowledge

Orlando Pride midfielder Christine Nairn — who for some reason has one of the most often misspelled names on the team despite it being only five letters — has done some impressive things with her feet over the course of her NWSL career. In this video, she talks to Miguel Gallardo about her technique for both spraying the ball across the field and trying to beat the goalkeeper from distance. If technique interests you, give it a look.

Free Kicks
  • Do you like kids? Do you like soccer? If the answer is yes to both of those questions, perhaps you can help out with this:
  • In a bit of a surprise, Lindsey Horan captured the NWSL Most Valuable Player Award, beating out Golden Boot winner Sam Kerr. I’m certainly not arguing with the selection, though.
  • Spain’s football association reportedly will not approve the plan for Barcelona and Girona to play a regular-season La Liga match in Miami. On the one hand, I can’t blame Spain for protecting its domestic league inventory and keeping it at home. On the other, it’s a missed opportunity to grow the game to an audience with disposable income.
  • Among those born on this date: legendary baseball manager Tommy Lasorda (1927), former NBA commissioner David Stern (1942), Whitesnake singer David Coverdale (1951), Concrete Blonde vocalist Johnette Napolitano (1957), Joan Jett (1958), Scott Baio (1960), and Brazil and PSG star defender Thiago Silva (1984).

That’s all my time for today. We’ll have full coverage before, during, and after tonight’s Orlando City match against Houston, so check back at The Mane Land throughout the day and follow us on Twitter.

I leave you with Dom Dwyer, Chris Mueller, and Uri Rosell calling season ticket holders to thank them for renewing.