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Lion Links: 3/17/19

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Lions face the Impact, the SeaWolves host Kansas City, Alexandre Pato interested in MLS, and more.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Orlando City SC Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Sunday, Mane Landers. I’m sure you’re frustrated right now, and to be honest, I get it. I am too. Yesterday’s 3-1 loss to the Montreal Impact at Orlando City Stadium was demoralizing to say the least. This weekend in general has been an awful one for me. A relationship ended, my Trailblazer is about to cost more than it should, and now the search is on for a replacement just days after planning a trip to Washington D.C. for a good friend’s wedding.

I’m not looking forward to it (the car search, that is). At any rate, I’m still here per usual to feed you some Sunday Lion Links, even if they aren’t seasoned the way we’d like them to be — you know, with an OCSC win. I just took a deep sigh. You couldn’t hear it, but maybe you took one too.

Before we get started, we here at The Mane Land want to wish Orlando Pride midfielder and all-around amazing individual Dani Weatherholt a very special birthday. The club is lucky to have her on the roster, and we’re all fortunate as supporters to have her here in the City Beautiful.

Lions Drop Three Points to the Impact at Home, 3-1

In a contentious and mistake-ridden affair, the Lions didn’t have the impact on the match that they had wished going into this one, however, namesake Montreal did. The Lions lost their first match of the 2019 season, at home nonetheless, to a surprisingly strong Impact side that saw Ignacio Piatti become the player with the most goals against the Lions in the club’s short MLS history (10). Dom Dwyer did manage to scrape one back in stoppage time courtesy of a selfless Santiago Patiño assist, but ultimately, the match was far out of reach by that point.

Stay tuned later for the bearded guy’s five takeaways from the match.

The SeaWolves Fall to the Comets, 9-7

In a key MASL showdown with major playoff implications, Orlando defender Joshio “Yoshi” Sandoval saw an early red card and the SeaWolves fell at home. They put up one hell of a fight, especially after trailing 6-2 early on, with one fewer player on the bench, but ultimately the Kansas City Comets took the win in Orlando. The SeaWolves’ tenacity has to be praised though, as the club continued to push forward and fight, even coming within striking distance of the Comets with a final scoreline of 9-7. The SeaWolves see action next on Friday, March 22, against the Baltimore Blast in Maryland.

Berhalter: MLS Has Grown Over the Last Five Years

USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter was at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday to take in the Lions vs. the Impact. While Dwyer’s finishing won’t have Berhalter wishing he’d have selected Dom for the two upcoming friendlies — including one next week at OCS — the new national team coach is pleased with the progression of MLS players in general, saying the league has grown significantly in recent years. He also did mention to ProSoccerUSA.com’s Jordan Culver that he’s keeping an eye on some of the current Lions.

“So, for players like Dom Dwyer, like Chris Mueller, like Danilo Acosta, these are guys that are all on our radar. We’ve evaluated them all. We’re watching all the games, so at any given moment, they have the opportunity to be part of the team.”

Alexandre Pato Headed to MLS?

Did someone say Pato? (If I could, I’d insert the eyes emoji right here.) While Orlando City could likely benefit more from an additional option at forward, there isn’t much money left for a player of Pato’s stature, and there’s no way he’s coming to Orlando. Nobody believed me when I said the club was going to sign Nani, but at this juncture, I’m not willing to go out on a limb and say the club is going to acquire the rights to this gifted striker.

“My dear Chinese friends, I‘d like to inform you that my adventure in China has come to an end...When I arrived in Tianjin for the first time in 2017 I didn’t know the city at all. It was a surprise and also it was love at first sight for me. These two years in China were full of happy moments with my team-mates and full of new experiences. I am quite sure that China made me grow up as a man. I visited new cities and places, I learned new different culture and habits of this great country. I helped my team with my goals and my football to reach the Asian Champions League for the first time in the club’s history.I would like to thank my club, my team-mates, coaches, all the working people in the club, my fans and supporters who always sent me wishes and love and all the nice Chinese people I met during these two years in China.”

While the 29-year-old technical striker has already been linked to a move back to his native country of Brazil, there are still plenty of rumors afloat that he’ll have a stint in MLS before his career ends. We’ll see what happens, but please don’t go to Miami or Atlanta, Pato. Please.

Free Kicks
  • As always, keep an eye on the other results around the league, because it’s always nice to be familiar with your opponents.
  • David Beckham refused to rule out future moves for all-world talents Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Whew. It could get quite interesting in the Sunshine State in a few years, that’s for damn sure.
  • MLS newcomers FC Cincinnati announced that the team’s inaugural MLS home opener was sold out, having an announced attendance of 32,250.
  • My hometown (sort of, as I was actually born in Salem, MA) team, Tallahassee Soccer Club, has begun selling tickets to its inaugural season. Check them out. They have a lot of talent on the roster in the likes homegrown phenoms like Pete Love and Evan Barksdale (both players I’ve played with extensively, and, trust me when I say the word quality), and their head coach, Joshua Bruno, is one of the best players and coaches I’ve interacted with in my day.
  • In case anyone was holding out hopes of Clint Dempsey hopping into some MASL action...I apologize for pouring some cold water on those hopes...pimp.
  • And to end, they say money talks, right? Sheesh, take a look at this:

That’s all I’ve got for you today, folks. Try your best to enjoy your Sunday. I may sound like a broken record when I say it, but when it comes to the Lions, remain patient and keep the optimism flowing. That’s all we can do, right?