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Lion Links: 2/28/19

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New Pride assistant coach, one more possible Lions signing, Dom and Nani (almost) cleared for Saturday, Morgan scores again, and more.

Soccer: She Believes Cup Women’s Soccer-Japan at USA Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In a few short days the new MLS season will be upon us, and I for one wish it would hurry up and get here already. In that spirit, I won’t faff about and bore you with idle chit chat and we’ll get straight into these happenings around the soccer world.

Pride Appoint Assistant Coach

Carl Green has been hired as the new assistant coach of the Orlando Pride, with the club announcing the appointment yesterday. Green will join the Pride from Head Coach Marc Skinner’s previous team, Birmingham City, of the FA WSL. While at Birmingham City, he was the team’s sports scientist and strength and conditioning coach. Green also brings a good personality and attitude to the coaching staff and is already familiar with Skinner’s coaching style and methods, which is seen as an added bonus that should hopefully ease the transition of a new sheriff in town. Green will take over the role formerly held by Khano Smith, now an assistant with Birmingham Legion FC of the USL Championship.

New Signings On the Horizon?

Luiz Muzzi has gone on the record saying that there may yet be a new signing before leadership is happy with the Orlando City SC roster. While he took great pains to stress the word “possibly,” he said that the club might still be looking at one more addition to the current roster. He didn’t, however, give any indication as to what area of the field the club might be looking to strengthen and also said that he didn’t intend on making signings simply for the sake of doing it. In total the Lions have added 13 new players since moving on from 15 that were on last year’s squad, the second year in a row that has seen large roster turnover in the off-season.

Dom and Nani in for Saturday (Probably)

More good news came yesterday in the form of Orlando City Head Coach James O’Connor and Muzzi saying that both Dom Dwyer and Nani “should” be ready and available to play in Saturday’s opener. O’Connor said yesterday that Dom has been training with the team for the last several days after spending the early part of preseason recovering from one of his trademark pesky quad injuries. While Nani wasn’t at Wednesday afternoon’s training session, Muzzi said his absence was due to him being out of the country putting the final touches on paperwork that would make him eligible to play on Saturday. Muzzi said that he expects the process to be finished up on Thursday, with O’Connor stating, “We think both should, should be available for Saturday’s game.” Rejoice and be happy!

Morgan Gives USWNT Late Lead but Japan Equalizes

Alex Morgan scored her 99th career international goal in last night’s SheBelieves Cup opener but the defense couldn’t hold on as Japan scored in stoppage time to hold the USWNT to a 2-2 draw. Crystal Dunn was at least partly culpable on both goals Japan scored and didn’t really provide much going forward. Megan Rapinoe scored in the first half and Japan leveled things after the break against the run of play. Morgan appeared to have the game winner when she subbed out late for Carli Lloyd but it wasn’t to be. The Yanks are second in the standings behind England after the first round. The Lionesses beat Brazil, 2-1, despite Pride star Marta drawing a penalty that Brazil converted.

Club Happy With Season Ticket Numbers

Ahead of Saturday’s 2019 season opener at Orlando City Stadium, club officials are properly pleased with the current number of season ticket holders. There were just shy of 18,000 season tickets sold as of Tuesday and the number is still increasing, almost certainly due to a strong showing at the Orlando City Invitational and the signing of Nani. With the home opener only a few days away, The Wall is sold out with the rest of the stadium said to be not too far behind. This is welcome news, especially considering that sellouts didn’t really happen all that often last season given the team’s frequently dismal form.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City players and members of the club’s front office went on an outing to Topgolf.
  • Former Orlando City player Amobi Okugo has written a great piece about black coaches in American soccer.
  • Here’s an excellent article examining racism in soccer from a sociological perspective.
  • You have a chance to win a free one-year subscription to The Athletic.
  • Yesterday was a fun anniversary for Seb Hines, recalling a 6-1 preseason friendly win over Esporte Clube Bahia in 2016.

That’s all for me today. However, I’m going to do a shameless bit of semi-self promotion and tell you that I’m taking over the Intelligence Report segment this year, where I’ll chat with writers from the SB Nation blog of Orlando City’s opponents for the week and get you guys a little inside info about the enemy. The first Intelligence Report of the year will be running tomorrow, so make sure you stop in to get all the good dirt on NYCFC — just don’t tell anyone I told you, I can’t blow my cover the first game of the year. Y’all stay safe out there. Ciao.