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Lion Links: 10/1/19

Benji Michel’s development, Ashlyn Harris recognized, SeaWolves schedule out, Bundesliga finds new home, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at FC Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Mane Landers. It was definitely a mixed bag of emotions over the weekend. While Orlando City was officially eliminated from the playoff chase, all three Orlando teams did earn at least a point. And as Dave Rohe pointed out yesterday, that’s the first time that’s happened in over two years. Although, now that I think about it, that’s a pretty depressing statistic. Best not to dwell on it, and move on to the links.

Michel’s Growth

Rookie Homegrown forward Benji Michel has had a promising season, notching his fourth goal of the season on Sunday and each of them has been important. He scored the winning goal against Columbus, tied Sunday’s match up in stoppage time, and his other two goals came in draws and gave Orlando a lead at the time. Benji’s growth in 2019 was part of ProSoccerUSA.com’s “three things we learned” piece from Sunday’s draw at Cincinnati.

“When you look at Benji, look at his development throughout the course of the season, that’s a major plus for us,” O’Connor said. “His ability to get some goals and his ability to drive at people, he’s someone we’re very pleased with his development.”

Harris Recognized

Ashlyn Harris has been nominated for the latest edition of the NWSL Save of the Week. In the 95th minute of the Pride’s road match against Sky Blue FC, Harris was faced with an oncoming Elizabeth Eddy in a 1-v-1 situation. Sky Blue had already scored a late goal through Carli Lloyd to draw level with the Pride and an Eddy goal would surely have seen Sky Blue take all three points. But, Harris made herself big, got something on the shot, and did well to keep her composure after sustaining contact. Though she ultimately spilled the ball the whistle had blown for a foul on Eddy. The save was instrumental to the point on the road and a well-deserved nomination.

SeaWolves Schedule Released

The 2019-2020 MASL schedule has been announced, and that means that the Orlando SeaWolves’ schedule has been announced as well. Orlando will host the Florida Tropics at home on Nov. 22 to kick off the new season, and will play its neighbors from Lakeland two more times at the start of the season and six times overall in 2019-2020. Another highlight is the visit from the San Diego Sockers, the team that Landon Donovan played for last season. A tough stretch to keep an eye on will be during the tail end of the season in February and March, with seven of the team’s last 13 games being road contests.

New Bundesliga Broadcast Home

The Bundesliga will be heading to a new home for its broadcasts starting next season, with the announcement that ESPN+ will be the new home of the German top flight when a multi-year deal begins in 2020. ESPN+ will show more than 300 top-flight games, the DFL Supercup, and relegation playoff matches. The deal represents a big gain for ESPN+, as a number of bright young American players are currently playing in the Bundesliga, resulting in American interest in the league beginning to grow. The deal will also include highlights and games being shown across the variety of ESPN networks, online, and the ESPN app.

Boca Chief Talks Up Zlatan Move

Boca Juniors board member Jorge Anro is claiming that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is interested in a move to the Argentine giants. After Ibrahimovic’s agent shut down rumors that he was trying to arrange a transfer for the big Swede, Anro doubled down and said that not only was Zlatan interested, but a deal was still possible. Boca already managed to recently bring in Daniele de Rossi on a free transfer, and if Ibrahimovic were to come to La Bombonera following the conclusion of the MLS season it would represent another big acquisition for Boca. Not to mention it would mean that Zlatan would stop tormenting Orlando City and the rest of MLS. Only time will tell.

Free Kicks
  • Nani weighs in on missing the playoffs and Orlando’s final game of 2019 this Sunday.

That’ll do it for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.