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Lion Links: 2/27/19

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Nani talks to Sports Illustrated, OCSC training facility update, Pro Refs Week 1 assignments, Nairn leaving the Pride, Kennedy pushed to her limits, and more.

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

Good morning, Mane Landers! We’re getting closer and closer to smelling that purple smoke as we are only three days from the home opener! Is it really only Wednesday? This week is dragging, luckily we have a match at the end of it. Let’s just dig into what’s up in the soccer world.

Nani Talks to SI

Are we sick of hearing about Nani yet? Nope. He’s a huge signing that can only help raise the level of play for our club. Sports Illustrated had a chance to speak with Nani, who shared with them that he’s “raring to go.”

“Naturally, we need to do better this season, be strong, competitive, resilient, and then eventually reach the playoffs,” says Nani.

Can Nani and the rest of our starting XI work together to make the difference fans are hoping to see this season? It’ll certainly be a show worth watching, at least!

Speaking of Nani, Chris Mueller said he was “honored” to give up his No. 17 shirt to the Portuguese star.

Orlando City CEO Alex Leitão Talks Training Facility

Jordon Culver with ProSoccerUSA.com caught up with OCSC CEO Alex Leitão to talk about the new training facility planned to open this summer at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee. He shared that they will double the number of practice fields and have so much more space for all their training and therapy needs.

As a Lake Nona resident, I was a little bummed I wouldn’t “accidentally” run into players. However, my district meetings (across the street from the new practice facility) will definitely be more exciting as I hold on to hope that I just might bump into a player here or there!

Christine Nairn is Headed to The Houston Dash

In a surprising turn of events, the Orlando Pride have announced that they have traded midfielder Christine Nairn to the Houston Dash. Our own Andrew Sharp has the details on the trade that gave the Pride an international roster slot for the 2019 NWSL season in addition to the Dash’s third- and fourth-round picks for the 2020 NWSL College Draft.

Orlando Pride’s Alanna Kennedy Pushed out of her Comfort Zone

The Westfield Matildas have been pushed to their limits as they prepare for the opening match in the Cup of Nations against New Zealand. John Greco reports that the team is eager to get started and put on a show. Orlando Pride’s Alanna Kennedy shared:

“Every session needs to be tough. We’re elite athletes…we’re looking to get the most out of us and push ourselves to our limits. There’s no point staying in your comfort zone because that’s not going to get us to where we want to be.”

The Refs Belong on...Week 1 Assignments

The Professional Referee Organization has announced the assignments for Week 1 of the 2019 MLS season. Orlando City and New York City FC will see Baldomero Toledo at referee, Assistant Refs Kyle Atkins and Kevin Klinger, Fourth Official Malik Badawi, VAR Jose Carlos Rivero, and Assistant VAR Peter Balciunas.

Here’s hoping these referees only hear cheers and not the infamous OBT chant.

Free Kicks
  • City Pub at the airport is open!

I think that’s it for now, Mane Landers. I’ll see you for links after this season finally gets started!