Wow, what a Friday it was in the world of Orlando City news! I’m happy to be able to bring you my first-ever Lion Links after a chaotic day that saw tons of rumors and a couple of big reveals. Before you head down to the stadium for today’s inaugural Orlando City Invitational, I’ve got plenty of news to tide all of you Mane Landers over until we can finally get our first look at the 2019 Lions.
Without further delay, have at it!
Nani Likely on the Way to Orlando City
As first reported by Paul Tenorio and confirmed by The Mane Land yesterday, former Manchester United standout and current Sporting Lisbon captain Nani is very close to signing a deal with Orlando City. Through some sort of minor miracle, the club might even be able to pull this off on a free transfer, although a current DP (likely Sacha Kljestan) will need to be bought down. Nani should be able to slot into the lineup as a winger, but Head Coach James O’Connor could choose to pair him with Dom Dwyer up front. Either way, Orlando City will be adding some world-class firepower to its fledgling attack, as long as the deal is finalized.
Orlando City Reveals New #BringtheNoise Kit
After several leaks over the last few weeks, Orlando City finally held its 2019 Kit and Face of City Fan Reveal event at Lion’s Pride in downtown O-town on Friday evening. An exciting #BringtheNoise promotional video was shown before introducing the new Face of City participants, each rocking the beautiful Bring the Noise home kit. The reveal was also simultaneously televised on FOX35, the club’s recently announced local broadcast partner. Those in attendance were then able to be among the first to purchase the new kit, with the first 500 purchasers receiving a limited edition Bring the Noise patch.
Minnesota United Stirs Up Orlando City Invitational Streaming Drama
Thanks to some not-so-subtle shade from this Minnesota United tweet, Orlando City once again found itself involved in some unnecessary drama Friday afternoon. As Mike Gramajo tweeted in response, Minnesota wanted to stream its Orlando City Invitational matches using only one camera. Since that is below the MLS broadcast requirements, Orlando City officials denied the request. The unfortunate problem with this latest kerfuffle is that it’s one more thing neutrals, and Orlando City haters, can and will use against the club. Though we appear to be in the right this time, we did not need any more negative press. On a positive Orlando City Invitational note, the trophy was shown off in this clip:
What's on the line starting tomorrow.— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) February 15, 2019
Tickets for the Orlando City Invitational are available starting at $15: https://t.co/AZxny08pCN
STM will receive complimentary tickets by making a donation of a minimum of $5 to the @OrlandoCityFnd. #VamosOrlando pic.twitter.com/Kn1nb8A6uj
Orlando SeaWolves to Play Florida Tropics After Short Break
Orlando City vs. New York City FC won’t be the only Orlando soccer happening tonight, as the Orlando SeaWolves of the MASL travel to the RP Funding Center in Lakeland to take on the Florida Tropics. The SeaWolves went on a short break after going away to beat the St. Louis Ambush back on Feb. 2. Since February is American Heart Month, the Tropics will be sporting some unique jerseys in support of the American Heart Association.
The team will be sporting speciality red jerseys for the 2nd annual American Heart Association night tomorrow vs Orlando. Download the @livesource app and select Lakeland to bid on your favorite players starting at 7pm tomorrow through Monday at 5pm. Tix: https://t.co/9XVmz8EuGg. pic.twitter.com/WkCuYLrlIz— Florida Tropics SC (@FLTropicsSC) February 15, 2019
Kickoff time for the match is 7:05 p.m. and Austin David has more about it in his preview here. Go SeaWolves!
- Former Lion Kevin Ellis has himself a new job.
- The Orlando City Foundation started its #KickingItBack campaign this past week.
- Orlando City Foundation President Kay Rawlins attended the Go Red for Women event to raise awareness for women’s heart health.
- Three Orlando Pride players received all-W-League honors, while another got an international call-up.
- The united Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay bid for World Cup 2030 was confirmed.
- Elsewhere in MLS, the Vancouver Whitecaps brought back former MLS All-Star Fredy Montero...
- ...while the Seattle Sounders went even more green...
- ...and San Jose Earthquakes Head Coach Matias Almeyda had this to say about MLS in Copa Libertadores.
- Brazilian soccer club Flamengo played its first match after a tragic fire killed 10 of its academy players.
- Bradenton’s IMG Academy, which you might remember as the place where Orlando City started this preseason, will be hosting the 2019 Concacaf Under-17 Championship.
- Finally, Louisville City FC, former home of Orlando City coach James O’Connor and new signings Kyle Smith and Greg Ranjitsingh, beat the New England Revolution 3-1 in a preseason match.
Whew, that was quite of bit of news for my first time! I very much look forward to interacting with you fine readers in the comments — I only ask that you’re gentle with me just this once. Make sure you get out there and help the boys defend our fortress tonight. Go City!