What’s up, Mane Landers? It’s another great day here in the Sunshine State as the Lions continue their preseason training and we have some indoor and national team soccer to look forward to this weekend. Let’s get to the links!
Fullbacks Prepared to Impress in Preseason
Although Orlando City right back Kyle Smith has never been in MLS, he is one of the only players on the team with experience going through Head Coach James O’Connor’s preseason training. So it makes sense that many of the Lions turned to him for advice on what the weeks leading up to the season would be like.
“I try to help them and tell them you’ve got to be ready,” he told Pro Soccer USA. “I know it’s going to be challenging, but just push through because there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s just very intense. It starts off hard. It continues to be hard throughout the entire preseason. You’ve just got to keep pushing and eventually you will make it through.”
Regardless of the tough task in front of him, Smith is prepared to make the most of the opportunity presented to him. The same goes for left back Danilo Acosta who is joining Orlando on loan after losing his starting job with Real Salt Lake last season. Acosta hopes to not only impress O’Connor, but himself, as he works on improving his fitness and adding new facets to his game.
Hill Scores and Helps Sets a Record
The Perth Glory had kicked Round 13 in the W-League off on the right foot by dominating the Western Sydney Wanderers in a 5-1 rout. Australian forward Sam Kerr stole the show with a brace and an assist in the affair, setting the W-League record for most goals scored in a season after Orlando Pride forward Rachel Hill found her in front of goal in the 70th minute.
Hill found the net herself in the 84th minute. Her goal took some effort to get past the Wanderers goalkeeper, but the third time was the charm. The 23-year-old now has five goals this season, seven behind Kerr’s record 12, and leads the league in assists with six.
Orlando City B Signs Defensive Standout
Speaking of Hills, let’s give a warm welcome to Jordan Hill, who was recently signed by Orlando City B. A four-year starter with Davidson College, Hill was noted for his ability to anchor a back line and for winning balls in the air. He joins an exciting OCB team that is ready to take the USL League One by storm when the season starts late in March.
Atlanta United Ready to Throw a Pity Party
One of the most talked about rumors this season came to fruition with Atlanta United signing Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez from River Plate in Argentina. The 25-year-old attacking midfielder was named South American Player of the year in 2018 and will bring his expertise to an offense loaded with talent.
Possibly too loaded however, as Atlanta now has one too many Designated Players on its roster and will have to work that problem out before the season begins. It may be a good problem to have, but it is a problem that Head Coach Frank de Boer will have to solve nonetheless.
- Orlando Pride draft pick Marisa Viggiano and other NWSL newcomers gave some insight into how excited they are about playing with and against some of the best players in the world.
- The Orlando SeaWolves are looking to turn back-to-back wins into a streak when they take on the St. Louis Ambush tonight at 7:35 p.m. and it seems the team has a surprise in store for those in attendance.
If you thought the league's Landon Donovan announcement was big.....we have a HUGE surprise for you tomorrow night! SeaWolves vs. @stlouisambush Friday night 7:35pm Silver Spurs Arena @OHP_Venues! You don't wanna miss this! pic.twitter.com/DrAsi3IuFL— Orlando SeaWolves (@MCOSeaWolves) January 24, 2019
- Soccer Institute at Montverde Academy teams took home some silverware in the FC MAST as OCB General Manager Mike Potempa continues to develop players.
- The United States Men’s National Team will take on Chile on March 26 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, TX.
- In tragic news, the search for Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has been called off by police. Our thoughts go out to Sala’s and Ibbotson’s family during this difficult time.
- Real Madrid may have had to say farewell to Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018 but the year was still incredibly good for the Spanish club as it has become the highest-revenue club in soccer.
- The rumored transfer of New York Red Bulls midfielder Kaku to Mexican club America has reached new levels of drama. Not only has America Head Coach Miguel Herrera publicly balked at the Red Bulls’ asking price, but Kaku himself has spoken out about the price being unreasonable. But Kaku’s agent takes the cake for his sudden and outlandish statement about the ordeal.
Kaku's agent – Gustavo Casasola – went off, aired some dirty laundry, and even referenced Hitler and Maritn Luther King to boot, to explain why he and the player want to secure a move away from the New York Red Bulls to join Club America.#RBNY #MLS pic.twitter.com/pH28Yt3rh7— Franco Panizo (@FrancoPanizo) January 24, 2019
That’ll do it for today, folks. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with fun and joy. Here’s a quick video from training as O’Connor whips the Lions into shape. Vamos Orlando!