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Lion Links: 10/13/19

The Pride end their season, Pressley returns, James O’Connor thanks the supporters, USMNT milestones, and more.

SOCCER: OCT 05 NWSL - Washington Spirit at Orlando Pride Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. I hope you’re all doing well in your inevitable recoveries from what was a highly disappointing season for the Lions and Pride. It’s tough to pull out the silver linings, but as the cliche goes, “there’s always next year.” Sheesh.

All right, let’s do this. Here’s your Sunday serving of Lion Links. Enjoy.

Pride End Disappointing Season with 2-2 Comeback Draw vs. Reign FC

The Orlando Pride drew Reign FC 2-2 last night to close out an abysmal season in which the Pride went 4-16-4 overall and, again, failed to even come close to sniffing postseason action. Head Coach Marc Skinner’s side started off well in last night’s match, scoring first and looking impressive at times. That ended quickly. Reign FC fought back and earned a lead after goals from Darian Jenkins and Jodie Taylor, who both scored before halftime. In dramatic fashion, however, Marta found the back of the net off of a deflected corner kick that fell conveniently to her feet. She didn’t disappoint. The Pride took a consolation point from the last match of the season, and head into an off season of uncertainty, but with an obvious goal of growth in all aspects of their play.

Pressley Returns from Breast Cancer Treatment

Of course, the Pride’s draw was overshadowed by the return of Toni Pressley to the pitch. Pressley subbed on for Julie King in the 72nd minute to a standing ovation, marking her return after missing three months to undergo breast cancer treatment. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris handed the defender the captain’s armband in a show of solidarity.

“For her to hand that over to me in that moment was so special,” Pressley said. “It was a special moment and it’s something that I’ll never forget. It felt amazing to have everyone be behind me and give me that extra push to get on the field. I think it’s a testament to how wonderful our fans are. Just to have them, it means the world.”

James O’Connor Thanks Supporters

You will be missed, James...you will be missed. And guess what, he’ll miss us, too. In an open letter penned by the Lions’ former gaffer, James O’Connor thanked the supporters, and left Orlando in the classiest of manners.

Orlando,

I have and will always bleed purple – first as a player, then as a coach. I’d like to thank Orlando City for the opportunity to come back to lead the Lions on the pitch. While the results weren’t what we had hoped – yet, I know we were progressing toward the success we all – coaching staff, medical and performance staff, and supporters – wanted for the club. The foundation is set and, along with the vast amount of cap space now available, my hope is the club can go on to fulfill its ambitions.

I owe a special thank you to the players, and to the diehard supporters that have stood by us through thick and thin. Your commitment to this club is unwavering, and our squad knows every time they put on the jersey – they’ve got you right behind them as the 12th man.

Thank you always,

James O’Connor

The search for O’Connor’s replacement is on. Stay tuned.

USMNT Milestones and Looking Ahead to Canada

The U.S Men’s National Team’s rout over Cuba was historic for many reasons, so where should we start? Hat trick hero Weston McKennie scored the second-fastest goal in USMNT history (Clint Dempsey has the fastest) in the first minute, but then went on to score two more before the 13th minute to score the team’s fastest ever hat trick from the start of play. Jordan Morris tied the single-match assist record, helping McKennie notch his first two goals in the opening five minutes. The team as a whole scored six in the first half alone — also a new record for the program. Up next? A young Canadian squad which shouldn’t be underestimated. Grab some intel on them now before the match is at our doorsteps. Unfortunately, the U.S. is down a man for that match with the news that Miles Robinson has had to withdraw due to a strained hamstring.

Free Kicks
  • Let’s show our support for a good cause, led by one of our very own.
  • Join the conversation:
  • Manchester United looks set to break a world record with the club’s next shirt deal.
  • (Insert expletive to complement this play here.)

All right folks, that’s all I have for now. Enjoy the remainder of your Sunday and have an excellent week!