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Lion Links: 10/9/19

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Muzzi’s plans, Burdett wins save of the week, Leroux’s comeback, and more.

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

Good morning, Mane Landers! It’s been a wild a crazy week, and we’re only starting off our Wednesday morning. While Orlando City’s front office searches for a new head coach, let’s jump right into the links to get your day started off right.

Making Sense of Losing James O’Connor

MLSSoccer.com had some thoughts on why Orlando City chose to part ways with James O’Connor and what is yet to come. Namely, the points came back to what everyone has been saying: O’Connor wasn’t a Luiz Muzzi-appointed position. With the new training and academy facility coming, it makes sense for the club to clean house and give Muzzi a blank slate with which to work for what will be an important year for the Lions.

Meanwhile, Bobby Warshaw maintains that Orlando City would have made the playoffs if it hadn’t tried to be more than what it was. Heading into the final stretch of the season, the Lions tried to improve by introducing Mauricio Pereyra and reinserting Dom Dwyer.

“They tried to be... better, which I think anyone could understand. But as sometimes happens in life, as they tried to get better, they instead got worse. It turns out, with all of the other teams around them in the East collapsing, the Lions didn’t need to get better. They could have averaged their way into the playoffs.”

Muzzi Hints at Next Coach Qualifications

We know that Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi is looking ahead and focused on finding the ideal coach and wants everyone to be on the same page. He’s hoping to highlight and maintain a style and identity that was not evident in the game-to-game play of this season. Muzzi is looking for an offensive-minded coach who will create an entertaining brand of soccer in Orlando and emphasized that there will be plenty of time for the club to make personnel changes. As far as his thoughts on Dom Dwyer?

“We trust him,” said Muzzi. “He’s a forward and they’re streaky, right? You saw at the end he started scoring goals. We think that he can turn it around. I think that Dom feels a little disappointed by this season. He feels like he let people down, if you ask him. At the end of the day, he’s a competitor. He wants to win. He came back here because he feels like he needs to deliver something to the city.”

Lainey Burdett Earns NWSL Save of the Week

We shared yesterday about Lainey Burdett’s debut with the Orlando Pride this weekend and the rookie’s first career save on a shot from distance won her NWSL’s Save of the Week. The goalkeeper faced 12 shots during the home match against the Washington Spirit, as the Pride ultimately lost 3-0.

Sydeny Leroux Wants More

Only three months after giving birth to her daughter, Sydney Leroux was back in competitive game play. The journey has been long, hard, and emotional for Leroux and she admitted to feeling like she wouldn’t be able to take return this season at times. But she did and has become a veteran leader on a team that needs it with many players on international duty or injured.

“I think I just wanted to get it over with because it felt like such a long time coming,” Leroux said of her return to the pitch. “It was super emotional. It was a hard journey, so I think just being able to be like ‘Okay, I’m here now, this is what I want to do, this is what I set out to do,’ and being able to do that was really special for me.

In other Leroux-Dwyer news, the parents disagreed on proper school picture day attire:

Free Kicks
  • Chicago Fire’s Bastian Schweinsteiger has announced his retirement.
  • In true Zlatan fashion, a statue of the Swede has been unveiled in his hometown.
  • If you thought OCSC was a revolving door as far as coaches are concerned, AC Milan has fired Marco Giampaola after only seven games in charge. Stefano Pioli will be the ninth coach in five years.
  • Minneapolis City FC gave 2020 members the chance to vote on the 20-21 home kit.
  • Reign FC’s Bev Yanez will miss the final regular season match against the Pride after the NWSL issued her a one-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • It’s official, the Chicago Fire are moving back to Soldier Field, where their 2020 home opener will be March 21 against Atlanta United.
  • The USMNT’s Jozy Altidore has been forced to withdraw from the upcoming Concacaf Nations League matches against Cuba and Canada after suffering an injury.

That’ll do it for me this morning, Mane Landers. As always, here’s hoping the rest of the week is gentle on everyone.