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Lion Links: 2/22/19

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Orlando City gets a B, Pride schedule revealed, Pride players to represent Australia, and more

Australia v Thailand - AFC Women’s Asian Cup Semi Final Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

What’s up, Mane Landers? I’m sure you all are still riding the high from Orlando City’s big Orlando City Invitational and taking that energy into a weekend filled with even more soccer. The Orlando SeaWolves will be on the road looking for points this weekend and the Lions will play their final preseason game tomorrow against Adrian Heath and Minnesota United. It’s crazy to think that we are just a little over a week away from the season opener. But before we get lost in the excitement of the future, let’s get to the links!

Orlando City Gets Graded

In another off-season filled with turnover and plenty of new faces joining the team, the Lions earned a B grade for their off-season according to Joe Tansey of ProSoccerUSA.com. Most of the team’s signings were overshadowed by the late addition of Nani, but the Lions got much faster and younger compared to last season’s roster. Even if Nani doesn’t match the high expectations, Orlando City improved in many areas it needed to and set itself up with a solid core of players in the future.

Orlando Pride Schedule Revealed

The Orlando Pride will open the season at home against the Portland Thorns on Sunday, April 14 at 5 p.m. ET. The game will take place at Orlando City Stadium and will be the third time in four seasons that the Pride will open their campaign against the Thorns, although the first time they’ll be doing so at home. It’s a tough stretch right out of the gate for the Pride with their first three games happening in the span of eight days and it could set the tone for the season early.

For the rest of the season, make sure to have these games circled on your calendar for you not to miss a moment of the best Pride action this season.

Australia Calls Up Pride Players

While attention here in the United States will be on the SheBelieves Cup next Wednesday, Feb. 27, soccer fans in Australia will be focused on the inaugural Cup of Nations. The Matildas will be hosting the event and have named the 23 players who will be representing Australia for the tournament. Pride players Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond will both be part of the roster along with Sam Kerr, Steph Catley, and Princess Ibini. The Matildas will begin the tournament on Thursday, Feb. 28 when they take on Tom Sermanni and the Football Ferns of New Zealand.

SeaWolves Prepare For Grueling Road Trip

The Orlando SeaWolves are riding forward momentum after beating their rival Florida Tropics, 10-6 last weekend as they head into a road trip with two games in three days. Their first game is tonight at 8:35 p.m. against the St. Louis Ambush and Head Coach Tom Traxler is having the team focus on it rather than Sunday’s bout with the Comets in Kansas City, KA.

“It’s a mammoth contest that will feel a lot like a playoff game,” Head Coach Tom Traxler said after practice on Wednesday, “We’re going to focus everything we have on Friday and then we’ll start focusing on Kansas City. We’re preparing for Kansas City, but the first game is probably where most of the emphasis is going to go right now.

Free Kicks
  • Former Orlando City goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo has won the state championship as an assistant coach for Lake Highland Prep. Congrats on the big win, Miggy!
  • The eMLS season rolls on as the the top players in the country plan to head to Boston for the eMLS Cup at PAX East on March 30. No idea what any of those acronyms mean? No worries, this preview has you covered with everything you need to know and how Orlando’s FIFA Abe can make the playoffs.
  • Nashville SC unveiled its logo and colors for MLS, playing into the city’s music theme with a logo featuring sound waves and sharp lines. I like it, it’s not too busy but still portrays those feelings of excitement and energy that comes from joining the league.
  • Speaking of MLS colors, a rather bland trend is taking over MLS away jerseys as almost all are white.
  • The final 16 of the Europa League are set with Arsenal, Chelsea, Napoli, and others moving on to the next round. The draw for the next round will be held today where we will learn each team’s fate.
  • Following Juventus’ 2-0 defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo decided to taunt the team that kept him scoreless by reminding them that he has won five Champion’s League titles while Atletico has never won.

That’s all for now, folks, I hope you all have a wonderful day and a great weekend. Go Orlando!