Hey there, everybody! We made it to another weekend, and this one means there’s only seven more days until our beloved Lions take the pitch to kick off the 2019 season. For those of you getting ready to run (or crash, if you already ran) the Purple Pride 5K this morning, remember to drink lots of water and have a great time! Some interesting news happened in the world of Orlando City yesterday, so let’s check it out.
Orlando City Officially Signs Veteran Goalkeeper Brian Rowe
Considering former LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper Brian Rowe has been involved in a majority of the Lions’ preseason, it came as no surprise to anyone that Rowe officially became a man in purple yesterday. Appearing in 69 career Major League Soccer matches so far, Rowe has led his team to 16 shutouts while allowing 94 goals and making 214 saves. He’s most known for his stellar 2016 season with the Galaxy — a year that saw nine of his 16 clean sheets in 31 total appearances. It remains to be seen how the four goalkeepers currently on the Orlando City roster — Rowe, 2018 fan favorite Adam Grinwis, Homegrown Player Mason Stajduhar, and former Louisville City standout Greg Ranjitsingh — will fit into Head Coach James O’Connor’s 2019 plans. Adding a proven, more or less, veteran like the 30-year-old Rowe to a mix of young, exciting keepers certainly isn’t the worst idea the club has ever had.
2019 Orlando City Broadcast Team Revealed
We’ve known for a couple of weeks now that the Lions would be returning to FOX35 and My65 for the broadcast of locally-televised matches. What we didn’t know yet was who would be anchoring those broadcasts, at least not until yesterday afternoon, when the club officially announced the full talent lineup. Color analysts Paul Shaw and Miguel Gallardo will return to your TV screens, along with everyone’s favorite sideline reporter, Jenny Chiu. The newbie to the TV crew is play-by-play announcer Evan Weston, formerly the voice of the Lions’ English radio play-by-play. Make sure to give Weston a follow on Twitter, and read all about the rest of the 2019 broadcast team here.
Injuries Creeping Up Again During Orlando City Training
If there’s one thing that’s remained consistent throughout Orlando City’s time in MLS, it’s the fact that the Lions tend to get injured in training. A lot. Often. Way too much. We were all hopeful that bringing in some new training staff would finally alleviate this problem for the 2019 campaign, but anyone who follows Orlando City beat writer Jordan Culver on Twitter knows it hasn’t helped much yet. Take a look at this tweet from Friday morning’s session:
Back out at Orlando City training. Kyle Smith (quad) is back out here and is no longer day-to-day.— Jordan Culver (@JordanCulver) February 22, 2019
João Moutinho (hamstring) not out here. Ruan is day to day, being told he’s receiving “extra treatment.”
Nani is training to the side. pic.twitter.com/luREXn2LdP
Here’s hoping that the players get it all out of their systems now and manage to stay healthy and on the pitch more this year. At least nothing seems too serious at the moment.
SeaWolves Grind Out 7-6 Overtime Win in St. Louis
If you haven’t watched the Orlando SeaWolves yet, you should definitely check them out whenever they play the St. Louis Ambush. The two teams have met four times, with the Ambush winning in a penalty shootout in Orlando’s opener after regulation and overtime failed to separate the teams. St. Louis also won a game with just a few seconds left in the final minute and Orlando similarly beat the Ambush in the final 30 seconds. Last night, the SeaWolves evened the season series at 2-2 with a 7-6 win in overtime in a game that was back and forth all night. Thiago Freitas scored a hat trick and Gordy Gurson was credited with the game winner.
New England Revolution Owner Robert Kraft Charged with Heinous Crime
In the ugliest piece of news I have to bring you fine Mane Landers today, the owner of the New England Revolution and New England Patriots, 77-year-old Robert Kraft, was charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution here in Florida on Friday. While we of course aren’t rooting for the Revs, and many people are over the Patriots’ dynasty, the circumstances surrounding Kraft’s alleged crime are disgusting, revolting, and positively inhumane. A six-month investigation into sex trafficking throughout the southern half of the state led to law enforcement issuing hundreds of arrest warrants, including one for Kraft. Further details about Kraft’s charges are expected to be released in the coming week. Please keep the victims of this horrid situation in your thoughts.
- In addition to being confirmed as part of the 2019 broadcast crew, club legend Miguel Gallardo had a cool announcement about an upcoming partnership with Orlando Health:
I’m very happy for this partnership to bring you a series of very useful health and wellness tips from doctors and professionals of @orlandohealth en Español ! Stay tuned !! #saludesvida #Healthandwellness #orlandohealth pic.twitter.com/CeEqgXRDAn— Miguel Gallardo (@migallardo01) February 22, 2019
- Orlando City majority owner Flavio Augusto da Silva introduced us to the story of Ivanildo.
- United States Men’s National Team forward Josh Sargent got his first Bundesliga start for SV Werder Bremen.
- Speaking of the Bundesliga, MLS club Minnesota United announced it will be hosting a friendly against Hertha Berlin on May 22.
- It should bring a smile to many an Orlando City supporter’s face to know that Atlanta United lost 3-1 to CS Herediano in the Concacaf Champions League. To make this story even better, Atlanta won’t be able to host CS Herediano in Mercedes Benz Stadium because of monster trucks. Really.
- Soccer legend Chicharito, who was once linked to the Lions via transfer rumors, scored career goal number 200 yesterday (combined for club and country).
- The UEFA Europa League Round of 16 draw happened Friday morning.
- As a Chelsea FC supporter, it breaks my heart to have to tell you that the Blues were given a two-transfer window ban and huge fine by FIFA in response to incidences involving signing minors.
- Since I can’t end with bad Chelsea news, club hero Didier Drogba named his All-Star NBA team.
That’s what I’ve got for you today. Thank you to everyone at The Mane Land, especially all of you kind readers, for making my introduction to Lion Links last week super awesome! I hope you enjoyed this one as well. See ya’ll next time!