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Lion Links: 10/19/19

Orlando’s scouting plan, MLS and NWSL playoffs, SeaWolves make a trade, and more.

SOCCER: AUG 23 MLS - Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What’s up, Mane Landers? Playoff time is finally here with Major League Soccer action both today and tomorrow and the National Women’s Soccer League playoffs tomorrow as well. I don’t have any teams in particular that I’m rooting for, although there are a few I’m rooting against, but I’m still excited for eight games of great soccer this weekend.

But before we get to that, let’s wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris as she turns 34 years young today. Now, let’s get to the links.

Orlando’s Scouts Focus on Smart Spending

The off-season has just started, but Orlando City Director of Scouting Ricardo Moreira has been planning for this winter for the past seven months. While the front office searches for a new head coach, Moreira is on the hunt for good players that can fit the system the future coach envisions for the team. With a database filled with thousands of players and most days spent watching film or travelling to watch games across the world, Moreira is well equipped to find quality players without breaking Orlando City’s bank.

“I know the fans, they care about the expensive players, they want to see the numbers, but all that matters is performance,” Moreira said. “If the guy’s gonna bring us something that we need technically and tactically, it doesn’t matter where he’s coming from, it doesn’t matter the price, it doesn’t matter if the guy is famous or not.”

MLS Playoffs Begin

You only have a few hours left to make sure your brackets are looking their best because the playoffs kick off at 1 p.m. A collection of experts weighed in on which teams will advance and here’s a good guide on what to look for in each match. Sporting Kansas City’s Benny Feilhaber thinks the home teams will rule the weekend while Andrew Wiebe ranks each underdog’s chance at an upset.

The most exciting game in the first round will be the last one, with Minnesota United hosting the LA Galaxy Sunday night. Between the battle of Ike Opara and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a Loons offense that can feast on the Galaxy’s defense, and the chance to see Adrian Heath win a playoff game, I’ll be glued to my screen for this one.

NWSL Playoffs Ready to Roll

Even though the Pride missed out this time around, the NWSL semifinals tomorrow afternoon will give fans plenty of reasons to tune in to ESPN2. The North Carolina Courage will have their title defense challenged by visiting Reign FC in a duel between two different coaching minds. In the other match, the Portland Thorns travel to take on the Chicago Red Stars. Most focus will be on Red Stars forward Sam Kerr, who won the NWSL Golden Boot and was named the NWSL Players Association Player of the Year. There is also a chance this is Kerr’s last game in the NWSL, so try not to miss it.

SeaWolves Trade for Veteran Midfielder

In a move with the rival Florida Tropics, the Orlando SeaWolves traded for midfielder Enzo Marangoni in exchange for a player to be named later. Marangoni brings a lot of experience in futsal and beach soccer to the team and is great in one-on-one opportunities and creating chances on offense. However, he did suffer a leg injury that kept him sidelined for a good chunk of the 2018 season with the Tropics.

Free Kicks
  • Don’t miss Ashlyn Harris and her fiancée and Pride teammate Ali Krieger when they join the Men in Blazers podcast for the NWSL final next weekend.
  • In other Pride news, Alex Morgan grouped up with Megan Rapinoe and Kelley O’Hara for a fun car trip with late night host Katie Nolan, who provided orange slices and juice boxes as soccer mom.
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The Wall in front of the Wall.

A post shared by Seb Hines (@seba_hines) on

That’s it from me, I hope each and every one of you have a great Saturday and that you end up happy with the weekend’s results. Have a great day!