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Lion Links: 9/3/18

Orlando City looking to improve, USMNT roster released, Canada defeats Brazil, and much more!

Soccer: International Friendly Women’s Soccer-Canada at USA Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! It’s a sad state of affairs that a 2-2 draw is cause for celebration, but that’s the world we live in. It might be a bit off topic, but I want to put out my theory on why soccer is the greatest sport in the world.

A hot take, I know, but the simple answer is there’s no off-season. As the MLS season winds down, the European leagues ramp up, and months later it happens in reverse. I got to thinking about this because of the start of college football. It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to watch our favorite teams on the gridiron. Fortunately, that’s never the case win soccer. Anyway, let’s get to the links!

Orlando City Looking to Improve

It might be that the Lions don’t make the playoffs. Again. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking to improve. The 2-2 draw against the Philadelphia Union might have been a step in the right direction. Poor movement off the ball, injuries, and inconsistent lineups have all contributed to a stalled Lions attack, but Head Coach James O’Connor is looking for more. O’Connor hasn’t been shy in trying new players and formations. Against Philly, he moved Jonathan Spector to left back, and paired Carlos Ascues and Shane O’Neill in the center of the back line. He brought on speedy Chris Mueller and Stefano Pinho late to give the Lions an attacking lift. Seeing as Orlando City got a point out of the match, I suppose some part of it worked. Hopefully, Orlando City will continue to get better.

USMNT Roster Announced

USMNT interim coach Dave Sarachan has decided on the players for the upcoming friendlies against Brazil on Sept. 7 and Mexico on Sept. 11. While Christian Pulisic won’t be making it due to injury, we will get to see Tim Weah and Weston McKennie. The team will be taking on a Bazil squad with Neymar in attendance, so it’s no easy task for this young squad. However, it will be good experience as the U.S. builds back to making the 2022 World Cup.

Canada downs Brazil

Orlando Pride defender Shelina Zadorsky and the Canada Women’s National Team defeated Brazil. Both Monica and Camila started but were unable to make a difference in the 1-0 loss. It was an important win for Canada as it hosted the Brazilians in Ottawa and gave the home fans a win. Nichelle Prince gave Canada the only goal in the 49th minute. Next up for Canada is the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship in the United States. The official draw for the competition takes place tomorrow night at 10 a.m.

Aubrey Bledsoe Sets Record

Former Pride goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe added five saves in the Washington Spirit’s 1-1 draw with Sky Blue FC. The saves gave Bledsoe 108 on the season, setting a new NWSL record. The Spirit’s season may have ended, but at least Bledsoe had a good year. Of course, one might wonder if a team with a goalkeeper needing to make that many saves might be in trouble. Regardless, congratulations to Bledsoe on the record.

English Premier League Recap

Watford continued its unexpected run to start the season with a 2-1 win against Tottenham, it’s first time winning against Tottenham since 1987. On the flip side, Burnley stayed winless with a 2-0 loss to Manchester United. Perhaps now Jose Mourinho can relax a bit. Liverpool continued its winning ways with Sadio Mane maintaining his early season form in the Reds’ 2-1 win over Leicester City. Manchester City also stayed on track with a 2-1 win over Newcastle, despite DeAndre Yedlin scoring his first Premier League goal.

Free Kicks
  • If you thought that Cristiano Ronaldo was good at scoring goals, you should check out his son. Junior scored four goals for Juventus U-9s, while his dad hasn’t been scoring much since his move.
  • Evidently, Justin Meram is able to score winning goals while wearing yellow, but not purple. We do wish him all the best, but it would have been nice to have more moments like that when he was with Orlando City.
  • Check out this goal from Fabio Quagliarella for Sampdoria in their 3-0 win over Napoli.

That’s going to do it for my first September Links. Don’t duck your responsibilities, and no mallard...meh. I can’t think of any good mallard jokes. If you think of one, let me know in the comments.