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Lion Links: 2/21/19

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Lions win a trophy, OCB roster announced, Pride preseason news, NWSL TV deal ends, and more.

MLS: Orlando City Invitational-New England Revolution at Orlando City SC Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, Mane Landers. We’re almost a week away from the start of the new MLS season and I for one couldn’t be more excited. Only one more preseason friendly remains between us and opening day against NYCFC. As always there’s lots to discuss so lets get right into it.

Lions Crush Revs, 6-2

Orlando City won a trophy on Wednesday night with a decisive 6-2 win over the New England Revolution. Considering Orlando played some academy and OCB kids and a bunch of reserves while the Revs started guys like Teal Bunbury, Cristian Penilla, and presumed starting goalkeeper Matt Turner, it was an unlikely lopsided win. The Lions led 6-0 before the Revs grabbed a couple of late consolation goals. In all, six different players scored for City and the club grabbed the inaugural Orlando City Invitational trophy. It’s only preseason, but this team appears to have a spirit that was missing last year. Nani was introduced to the fans prior to kickoff.

OCB Roster Released

Orlando City B has announced its roster ahead of the start of its maiden USL League One season. In total, the roster comprises 22 players ranging from ages 15-23, with the average age being 19.5. There are a handful of players signed from the Orlando City Development Academy, as well as eight players that play for their youth national teams, with the likes of Senegal, Ghana, the U.S. and others represented. OCB will kick off its season on March 30 at MVA Athletic Complex on the Montverde Academy campus, where it will play home games this season. As far as how to watch Orlando City B games, USL League One has announced a streaming deal with ESPN+.

Orlando Pride Preseason News

With preseason for the Orlando Pride set to start two Mondays from now, there is finally a little bit of news about the team’s preseason plans. It was announced yesterday that the Pride will play in the inaugural Friendship Cup, hosted by North Carolina Courage in Cary, NC on Saturday, March 23. This will be the team’s first time facing off against an NWSL opponent in the preseason and will be the first of two games played that day, as North Carolina FC will square off against Liga MX’s Necaxa later that night. While that fixture is the only preseason game announced so far there is plenty of time for other tune up matches to take place, as the NWSL season doesn’t begin until April 13.

NWSL Ends Partnership With A&E

The NWSL has announced the end of its partnership with A&E Networks, one year before the end of a three-year deal. The NWSL schedule is set to be released later today, but part of the delay in the schedule dropping is uncertainty over how the games would be broadcast. There is reportedly an offer on the table from NBC Sports Network, which has done an excellent job with coverage of the Premier League, but there are apparently disagreements over whether or not to take the deal. For now, some games will be broadcast on Yahoo! Sports with all of the games accessible on the NWSL app and NWSL website.

NWSL Cheat Sheets

Speaking of the NWSL, the folks over at The Equalizer have come up with a quick briefing on all the teams ahead of the upcoming season. Their thoughts about the Pride echo many of the opinions voiced on this site by staff and readers alike: the Pride are a somewhat unknown entity as the NWSL preseason gears up. After all, it’s tricky to get a good read on a team that looked like a near shoo-in to make the playoffs during the summer only to have the bottom fall out and gift a previously winless team its only victory of the year. Also pointed out is the fact that some talent has been shed across the back line; although the author does seem to feel that the team will make some noise in the transfer window before the season kicks off.

Better Broadcasting for U.S. Open Cup?

During the USSF’s annual meeting in Arizona last week U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn gave hope to the possibility of better coverage and access to games in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, saying:

“This year we will expand our Open Cup broadcast coverage and will be soon announcing a deal with one of our partners that will provide an unprecedented level of access for fans during the entire competition.”

While no further details were provided, even the weakest of broadcasting deals (I’m looking at you, TNT Champions/Europa League coverage) will be a step up for the U.S. Open Cup. While it’s been easier to stream games in recent years, actual broadcast coverage of the games has been woefully lacking, with last year’s final being the only game of the 2018 competition shown live on national television.

Free Kicks
  • Marta featured in an ad for the new Netflix show The Umbrella Academy.
  • Tyler Turner has left the Orlando SeaWolves and joined USL Championship side Birmingham Legion.
  • Former Orlando City player Harrison Heath has a new team.

That’ll be all for me today. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Pride schedule as it’s supposed to be dropping later. Y’all come back now, ya hear?