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Lion Links: 3/12/19

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Orlando center backs looking to improve, USWNT players speak about discrimination suit, W-League unaffected amid visa changes, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Chicago Fire Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, Mane Landers. While it wasn’t the result we were all hoping for over the weekend, things could be worse, and the way I’m choosing to look at things is simple. Even though it’s only two games into the season, the team has yet to lose and is actually sitting fifth and occupying a playoff spot for the first time since the early parts of last summer. As for whether or not things will stay that way, who knows? But strictly speaking, the Lions are undefeated and I guess there’s something to be said for that. Let’s have at those links.

Orlando City Center Backs Want to Improve

Shane O’Neill has accepted responsibility for C.J. Sapong’s game-tying goal over the weekend. He spoke about the desire to improve chemistry and communication between his fellow center backs and felt giving up the stoppage time goal was all the more frustrating because the trio of Alex De John, Kamal Miller, and himself had played so well up until that point in the game. He was also quick to praise his partners on the back line, saying that he’s taken great pleasure from playing with De John and calling Miller “fantastic.”

USWNT Players and Others Speak on Discrimination Suit

Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan spoke on TODAY about the gender discrimination suit that they filed against the U.S. Soccer Federation along with 26 other members of the U.S. Women’s National Team. Rapinoe called the differences in the men’s and women’s games a worldwide issue and she isn’t wrong. Across the board, women’s salaries are lower than those of male players, and there are multiple instances of women having to pay for their own flights when going on national team duty, among other things that the USWNT players called “institutionalized gender discrimination.” Among other high-profile athletes, Serena Williams offered her support to the 28 USWNT players yesterday, calling the pay discrepancy “ludicrous.”

Visa Changes Won’t Apply to W-League

The Football Federation Australia has said that changes to visa requirements will not affect the W-League. This is welcome news after it was reported that changes would mean that professional soccer players could stay in the country for longer periods of time, but only if earning a salary of $120,000. This could have caused some problems as the W-League’s foreign players earned a minimum of $12,287 dollars last season with a $300,000 salary cap in effect. However, most of the W-League’s foreign players are on a different type of visa, meaning that foreign players will still be able to access other visa categories for entry into Australia as they have done in previous seasons.

Sporting KC Signs Zelalem

Sporting Kansas City have signed Gedion Zelalem, a 22-year-old midfielder from Arsenal. The holding midfielder spent six years with both Arsenal’s youth and senior sides and has competed for both the U.S. and Germany at the youth level as he holds dual citizenship with the two countries. More recently, he’s played for the stars and stripes and the U-20 and U-23 levels and started the first match at the FIFA U-20 World Cup before suffering a knee injury that cut short his participation in the tournament. With a reasonably crowded SKC midfield, it’s unclear how much Zelalem will contribute this year but the MLS season is a long one and there’s a pretty good chance that Orlando City will run into him sooner or later.

Free Kicks
  • Nani has made the bench for this week’s edition of the MLS Team of the Week.
  • Orlando City is still ranked at No. 20 in ESPNs MLS Power Rankings. I find it...odd that there are three teams without a single point still ranked above the Lions, but I’m just a guy on the internet.
  • Alex Morgan and other members of the USWNT react to their new 99ers-inspired kits and talk a little about what the 99ers’ success meant to them in this video:

That’ll be all for me today. Don’t forge that your Lions play the Montreal Impact this Saturday at 4 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium — a game that I’ll be making the trip down from Ocala to attend with a large group of friends. While I’m not all that recognizable, feel free to stop and say hi if you do happen to see me. Y’all stay safe out there.