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Lion Links: 3/2/19

Orlando City signs a draft pick and closes in on a Swedish defender, Nani’s ready to go, SeaWolves stumble, and more.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Wake up, Mane Landers, it’s match day! Welcome to Major League Soccer Opening Day 2019! Our Orlando City Lions start the season here at home against New York City FC with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff, although I’m sure you were already aware of that. While you recover from last night’s Fifth Annual Orlando City Pub Crawl, take a few minutes to read about all the news you need to know before heading to Orlando City Stadium.

Orlando City Signs Defender Kamal Miller

In the world of poorly kept Orlando City secrets, yesterday saw another confirmed player signing that we all knew was coming, 2019 MLS SuperDraft second-round pick Kamal Miller. Miller has been with the Lions throughout preseason and as The Mane Land’s own Sean Rollins pointed out, Head Coach James O’Connor often had the 21-year-old center back in his first team. One such first team appearance actually came against NYCFC during the Orlando City Invitational, a match that saw Miller impress more than a few fans. After the official announcement, Miller seemed happy to share the news on his Twitter.

Lions Looking to Add Swedish League Champion Robin Jansson

First reported by Swedish news outlet Sport Bladet and confirmed by sources with knowledge of the situation to The Mane Land, Orlando City is in talks to add center back Robin Jansson to the squad. As a defender for Allsvenskan league club AIK, the 27-year-old won the top-tier league’s title in 2018, having started 25 matches for 2,523 minutes and notching two goals and one assist. Based on his resume and current estimated transfer value of approximately $850,000, one might assume that should the signing go through, Jansson will immediately be in consideration for a starting center back spot in O’Connor’s preferred three-man back line. The guy worked in a horseshoe factory and drove 50 miles to train every night, so it sounds like he has the blue-collar grit that appears to be a theme with this incarnation of Orlando City.

Nani is Ready for Today’s Match, But Here’s Some New Game Day Info for the Fans

Before WFTV sports reporter Christian Bruey confirmed that new Orlando City superstar Nani would be available for today’s match, Nani himself took to Twitter to express his excitement over opening day:

Several pieces of information about the Orlando City Stadium game day experience also dropped on Friday.

Make sure to arrive early this afternoon so that you can check out these cool new features of our beautiful Orlando City Stadium.

Orlando SeaWolves Swept Away by Milwaukee Wave

Gordy Gurson scored a brace but the visiting Milwaukee Wave were rarely threatened, beating the Orlando SeaWolves, 6-2 at Silver Spurs Arena last night. The Wave were physical and defensively sound, while Orlando was sloppy and missed some excellent opportunities to climb back into the game. The SeaWolves are back in action tonight at Silver Spurs Arena against the rival Florida Tropics, who came over from Lakeland. Why not make today an Orlando professional soccer double header?

Free Kicks

It was another busy Friday for both Orlando City and MLS, as everyone prepared to get the 2019 season started today. I know that I’m super psyched to finally, after what feels like way more than a few months, see the boys in purple take the pitch in a match that has real ramifications. Now get down to the stadium, bring the noise, and go City!