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Lion Links: 2/2/19

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Lions take on the Red Bulls, Pride’s Nairn leads her W-League side to top spot, SeaWolves at St. Louis tonight, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Saturday, everyone. And happy match day! The Lions will take to the pitch today against the New York Red Bulls over in Bradenton at IMG Academy but we won’t be out there. It’s a closed session and normal training rules apply, so access is limited. Still, it’ll be good for the lads to get a run-out before heading back to Orlando to continue preseason camp.

The USMNT and Orlando SeaWolves are also in action today. We’ll have as much coverage as we can bring you. Unfortunately, I’m still without internet in my brand new neighborhood (sans internet infrastructure) so I’m a bit handcuffed but I’m bringing you these Lion Links via my phone’s hot spot which I can use in short bursts after writing in the old fashioned way — in Word.

Let’s get to the news of the day.

Lions Take on Red Bulls

As mentioned above, the Lions take their first test of the preseason with a closed-door scrimmage against the New York Red Bulls at 10:30 a.m. at IMG Academy today. There will be no stream or TV available and even media access is limited. But I’m sure the club will release some info and the team’s Twitter feed should be buzzing. The Red Bulls have one scrimmage under their belts already, a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday. All we really want here is everyone to get through without picking up any knocks.

Pride’s Christine Nairn Starring with First-Place Melbourne Victory

Veteran Orlando midfielder Christine Nairn has helped lead her W-League team to first place in the regular season and into what they call the “finals” down under (their version of playoffs). FOX Sports did this great profile on Nairn, who scored a rare (for her) header goal this past weekend. Nairn would have preferred if the header had counted for more than just one goal, though.

Here’s a look at Nairn’s goal.

Speaking of Nairn’s (and Dani Weatherholt’s) Melbourne side, they’ll face Rachel Hill’s Perth Glory in the semifinals, while Chioma Ubogagu and Carson Pickett and their Brisbane Roar teammates will face Alanna Kennedy’s Sydney FC next weekend.

Orlando SeaWolves Look to Stop Skid

The SeaWolves are back in action tonight at St. Louis, looking to get their first win against the Ambush and snap a two-game skid. The match kicks off at 8:05 p.m. ET tonight and you can stream it on the MASL website. I wish I could stream it but, alas, no internet. Maybe I’ll hang out at Panera for a couple hours if my wife gives me a break from painting the living room. Anyway, Orlando Head Coach Tom Traxler is optimistic about where his brand new team sits at this stage of the season.

“In our division, we’re still in the thick of things,” Head Coach Tom Traxler said after practice Wednesday, “We go in, have good success against St. Louis, that puts us to 4-5, it puts St. Louis to 6-8 and then we have everything to play for. Within our division, we’re still very much alive in the playoff hunt.”

Toronto FC Responds to Giovinco’s Parting Shots

An unhappy Sebastian Giovinco left TFC and headed to the Saudi Arabian league this week and he didn’t hold back about his thoughts on how his contract situation was handled and how much he had wanted to return to the Canadian city for 2019. TFC General Manager Ali Curtis and Head Coach Greg Vanney had their own side of the story.

“My understanding is that they presented us with a number and that they didn’t want to negotiate off of it and it was, more or less, take it or leave it,” said the former New York Red Bulls executive, “so that information and that understanding contradicts what was in the post.”

Free Kicks
  • Qatar won its first ever Asian Cup, stunning Japan to do so. Japan, a four-time winner of the event, fell 3-1 in Abu Dhabi.
  • In case you missed any of the transfer madness, you can catch up here.
  • D.C. United players and coaches are doing their best to pick up Luciano Acosta after the disappointment of nearly signing with PSG only to see a possible deal crumble.
  • When the USMNT plays Costa Rica today, it will mark the return to the place where Sebastian Lletget injured his foot the last time he played with the national team.
  • Those born on this date include famed football coach George Halas (1895), novelest Ayn Rand (1905), CSN&Y’s Graham Nash (1942), Farrah Fawcett (1947), Star Trek: The Next Generation star Brent Spiner (1949), Journey bassist Ross Valory (1949), Christie Brinkley (1954), Shakira (1977), and Spain/Barcelona defender Gerard Pique (1987).

That’s all my time for this morning. Check back with us later for full coverage of the USMNT’s match against Costa Rica and for any breaking news that comes out of today’s friendly scrimmage between the Lions and Red Bulls.