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Lion Links 2/9/19

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Colmán eager to improve in 2019, behind the scenes with the Lions in preseason, the Orlando City Invitational, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Sporting KC William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

We did it, folks. The weekend is here and if you’re reading this, you made it, so congratulations. Two full days of no work, unless, like me, you’re in the midst of painting almost every room in your house. At least I’m only one week away from having internet access in my new house...finally. But I digress.

We’re another day closer to the 2019 season opener and Orlando City has two friendlies in the next seven days — a closed one against the Philadelphia Union at Championsgate on Tuesday, and next Saturday’s opener in the Orlando City Invitational at OCS.

While we wait for next weekend to bring us live action at the stadium, let’s check out the news of the day.

Josué Colmán Working to Put 2018 Behind Him

The Designated Player tag carries baggage with it, especially for Young Designated Players. Part of that baggage is the weight of expectations from fans, technical staff, and even the players themselves. Paraguayan Josué Colmán felt the weight of that in what he called a “horrible” 2018 season in this article by

“As a group, we didn’t do a good job and, individually, I had a horrible year. The expectations were high and unfortunately, we weren’t able to meet them. But we have to turn the page now and we have to focus on this year. There are some good things happening and we have the right mentality to try to achieve and do a lot better than we did last year.”

Colmán, who just received his green card, missed a portion of the rigorous conditioning James O’Connor has put his team through this camp while awaiting his international paperwork. That hopefully won’t push him too far behind his teammates. He fell behind last year due to fitness issues and said that he dealt with his injury situation all season long. Now with his family with him, Colmán has his support system in place and hopefully he’ll make a big leap in his play in 2019.

Soon Uri Rosell Won’t Require an International Slot

Speaking of Orlando City internationals getting their green cards, Spanish midfielder Uri Rosell left town to finish his paperwork to receive his, joining Colmán among those on the team who no longer require an international slot and therefore giving the Lions more roster flexibility in signing guys — whether that happens prior to the 2019 season or in the summer window.

Lions Unveil Preseason Mini-Documentary

Although James O’Connor took the Lions over to Bradenton for the first couple weeks of preseason, the team gave us a tiny glimpse into what took place over there with a mini-documentary. You can see the intensity of JOC as he puts the players through their paces and get a sense of what the gaffer is looking for as he guides Orlando City through his first preseason as the club’s MLS boss. The best part is that at the end, you see the words “to be continued,” indicating more will be coming our way.

Orlando City Invitational Looms

As I mentioned in the intro, the Orlando City Invitational is just a week away. It’ll be good to get back to the purple palace and get our first look at the 2019 Lions. Because the teams involved have gone through many changes since 2018 ended, the club put together this primer to let you know who you’ll be watching when the matches against New York City FC and New England roll around.

Some Kind of OCSC-Juventus Youth Partnership Happening?

I’ll be digging more into this, but it appears there’s some kind of partnership between the U-12 to U-16 youth sides from Orlando City and Juventus. It’s apparently some kind of camp situation at the Seminole Soccer Complex. Google translate is a true gift that never stops giving when it provides translations like this:

Young people Juventus players will have the opportunity to refine their qualities through intensive training with the Orlando City Youth Club coaches, and at the same time perfecting the Anglo-Saxon language, thanks to the “study vacation” formula of the camp that includes, between the two daily workouts within the Seminole Soccer Complex sports field, the frequency of a technical English football course.

Some of us use the Anglo-Saxon language for a living every day and haven’t managed to perfect it.

Fire Claims Lives of 10 Youth Players at Flamengo Training Facility

I hate writing about tragedy and this is a rather horrible one. The dorms where 14- to 17-year-old boys were sleeping caught fire at Flamengo’s training center, Ninho do Urubu, and took the lives of 10 players. It’s just an awful tragedy and we send our thoughts, prayers, and good vibes toward Rio de Janeiro.

Free Kicks
  • Congratulations to Rock Lake Middle School on their Orlando City Foundation grant. And kudos to the Orlando City Foundation for all of its good works.
  • Former Lion Mohamed El-Munir seems to be settling in with his new team.
  • Those born on this date include U.S. founding father Thomas Paine (1737), ninth U.S. President William Henry Harrison (1773), singer-songwriter Carole King (1942), actor Joe Pesi (1943), Who’s the Boss star Judith Light (1949), baseball’s Mookie Wilson (1956), Scottish midfielder/manager Gordon Strachan (1957), Frankie Goes to Hollywood vocalist Holly Johnson (1960), The Wire and The Deuce showrunner David Simon (1960), baseball’s John Kruk (1961), country musician Travis Tritt (1963), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Charlie Day (1976), Loki portrayer Tom Hiddleston (1981), and Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan (1987).

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Enjoy your weekend and if you want to come paint my den, please let me know. I already bought the paint.