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Lion Links: 2/17/19

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Lions beat the Pigeons, Brian Rowe close to signing, Pride players dominate the W-League, and more.

MLS: Orlando City Invitational-New York City FC at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. The season is less than a month away, and we’re finally starting to get a look at some of the boys in purple. One name in particular, of course, is still yet to be officially announced...but if you’re like me, you’re refreshing your “Nani Orlando City” browser search every five minutes. In due time, Mane Landers, in due time.

For now, let’s take a dive into your Sunday helping of Lion Links. Bon appétit.

Lions Kick Off Orlando City Invitational with 2-1 Win Over NYCFC

The Lions got off to a great start to their Orlando City Invitational run, beating New York City FC, 2-1 in a close bout that saw several bookings and even an NYCFC player being sent off. (In a friendly? Come on, dude). It was Tesho Akindele who started the scoring, latching on to a headed ball from Sacha Kljestan. Then it was Chris Mueller who wowed the fans in attendance with a strong shot off of the left wing, assisted by none other than Tesho himself. Despite a goal coming from NYCFC’s Maxi Moralez early on, the boys were able to find the win, and take all three points to start off this tournament the right way.

Check back this afternoon for Scott Carnevale’s five takeaways from the match and his photo gallery as well.

Lions to Add Veteran Goalkeeper Brian Rowe

With the departure of both Joe Bendik and Earl Edwards, Jr., many City fans were left wondering if the club would be adding another shot-stopper to the stable. While Adam Grinwis performed admirably for the club, there’s a belief that the inexperienced 26-year-old isn’t quite ready to take over the spot in between the sticks. Then there’s Greg Ranjitsingh. Regardless of what decision the coaching staff makes, adding an experienced and well-traveled leader such as Rowe will not only provide additional depth at the position, but will also provide Grinwis and fan favorite Mason Stajduhar with a mentor. Rowe also was handed the start in last night’s 2-1 win.

Pride Stars Shine in W-League Final

It was Sydney FC yet again that took down the Perth Glory and the W-League to claim the crown. Led by the Pride’s Alanna Kennedy, Sydney FC ran away with the match, notching four goals in an impressive 4-2 victory. Sam Kerr of the Glory and the Chicago Red Stars got her name on the score sheet as she converted a first half spot kick to level up the score. Unfortunately for Kerr and her teammates (including Orlando’s Rachel Hill) Sydney proved too much to handle, with Savannah McCaskill netting a brace and Alyssa Mautz, also of the Red Stars, adding a late fourth to seal the championship for Sydney. Former Pride players Lisa De Vanna and Aubrey Bledsoe also helped lead Sydney to the 2019 championship.

The play of the two current Orlando Pride players in the match stuck out to Sydney FC coach Ante Juric.

“But with Sam Kerr and (Rachel) Hill, they keep getting patches where they attack and they’re dangerous,” Juric said.

“So I thought Alanna Kennedy, Liz (Ralston), actually the whole back four were sensational to stop that. They’re never out of the game so, when we got the fourth and there was a minute to go, I was confident.”

Congrats on the win, but mind your head, Alanna!

USMNT Players Star Abroad

It seems with each passing week, Americans abroad are making more of an impact in top tier leagues. Josh Sargent of Werder Bremen won a vital free kick at the end of his club’s match against Hertha Berlin, which was ultimately converted, earning his side a point in a contentious back-and-forth affair. Meanwhile, Tyler Adams notched his first assist for RB Leipzig in an impressive way, collecting the ball in his own defensive half, beating a man down the line while showcasing his pace, and then sliding a beautifully placed through ball to his teammate. Everyone’s eyes should be on the upcoming USMNT friendly that’ll be hosted in Orlando City Stadium. I’ll certainly be trying to snag some tickets, and I’d recommend you do the same.

SeaWolves Prevail in Florida Derby, 10-6

Can you say 10 goals? The Orlando SeaWolves can. That’s two wins in a row for the fledgling club. Gordy Gurson and Eduardo Cruz each netted a hat trick as the SeaWolves dumped the Florida Tropics, 10-6. Mario Alvarez notched a brace, and Osvaldo Rojas and Thiago Freitas also scored for Orlando, which improved to 5-5 on the season and 2-1 against the Tropics. Not too shabby, fellas! Keep it up!

Free Kicks

All right, folks, that’s all I’ve got for you today. I’ve personally got a big Sunday planned. It’s our club’s first match in the Central Florida Soccer League! Our side, Revolver FC, will be playing against Red Dragons FC (St. Andrews XI), a team that won its opening match, 6-2. It should be a blast, and hopefully we can take home the full three points. I’d ask for your support, but that’d be more than unfair. Plus, we kick off at 9 a.m.

That wasn’t a typo. 9 a.m. Whew...it’s going to be a long day.

Have a good one, Mane Landers, and an even better week.