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Lion Links: 3/19/19

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Orlando City rookies excelling, Pride roster updates, Berhalter’s lineup choices, and more.

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

Good morning, Mane Landers. Unfortunately, Orlando City lost over the weekend, which makes the team 0-1-2 on the MLS season and 1-1-1 when I have watched the team in person. There’s no time to dwell on the spilled milk though, because there’s plenty of good links to get to.

Orlando City Rookies Standing Tall

A pair of Orlando City rookies have been doing all sorts of good things and earning their due recognition. First up is Santiago Patiño, the Orlando City Academy product who notched an assist on his professional debut last Saturday after coming off the bench in the 74th minute. While Dom Dwyer’s goal in stoppage time wasn’t enough to stop the Lions from falling 3-1 to the Montreal Impact, I certainly took encouragement from the way Patiño helped to create Dom’s goal with his intelligent run and strength to hold off the defender on his shoulder. Then there’s defender Kamal Miller, who has started two out of Orlando’s first three matches and earned great reviews. His performances in the fledgling season have resulted in a call-up to the Canadian Men’s National Team for its friendly against French Guiana this weekend. While Miller didn’t feature in the loss at the weekend, his absence was simply due to the coaching staff’s desire to manage his workload, seemingly indicating that he is very much in the team’s plans for the remainder of the season. While Miller is in for Canada, Will Johnson (concussion protocol) is out.

Pride Roster News

The Orlando Pride have announced an updated preseason roster that now puts the total number of players on the roster at 26 as opposed to the original 25. Defender Kim Reynolds is no longer with the team while a pair of non-roster invitees have joined camp in midfielder Leah Mohammadi and forward Caitlin Farrell. Additionally, the seven players that were away on international duty have rejoined the squad, making Camila the only player listed on the roster who is not currently with the team — She’s in Brazil finalizing her green card. Both the new invitees are former college players who were not selected in the NWSL College Draft, with Mohammadi playing at Harvard and Farrell playing at Georgetown, where she was last year’s Big East Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Berhalter’s Interesting Lineup Choices

It would seem that Gregg Berhalter will be going off the beaten path with his lineups for the upcoming pair of U.S. Men’s National Team friendlies. According to Paul Tenorio of The Athletic, Berhalter has gone on the record as saying that he will deploy Tyler Adams at right back and DeAndre Yedlin on the wing. While both players are certainly capable of playing those positions, particularly Yedlin on the wing, those wouldn’t seem to be their best positions. Yedlin in particular has done quite well at right back, making the starting job at Newcastle United his own and doing a pretty good job most of the time. However, Berhalter seems keen to experiment with every possible lineup permutation and hopefully he strikes some gold in doing so.

Big Strides for Argentinean Women’s Game

Over the weekend, the Argentine Football Association announced that the country’s women’s league has been granted professional status, a great step for a country where no such league previously existed. However, each team in the top flight must have at least eight professional contracts, which mirror those of the nation’s men’s league. The AFA will also be giving each of the league’s 16 clubs around $3,000 a month to help finance those contracts. The minimum salary of players in the league is now around $365 a month, which is equivalent to what a player in the fourth division of Argentinian men’s soccer makes. So clearly there is work still to be done. Regardless, every journey begins with a first step, and hopefully the women’s game in Argentina will take many more.

Free Kicks

Don’t forget that while there’s still a soccer game at Orlando City Stadium this week, it will not be the Lions playing. Instead it’s a USMNT friendly against Ecuador on Thursday, a game which I will be attending. That is followed by Orlando City taking on the New York Red Bulls on the road Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET from Red Bull Arena, which I understandably will not be attending. If you do happen to see me out and about on Thursday, feel free to grab me and say hi, I’ll probably be with The Mane Land’s very own heavily bearded correspondent, so you can get two birds with one stone. Y’all stay safe out there.