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Lion Links: 3/26/19

Lions earn MLS recognition, a new supporters group for the Pride, USL League 1 TV news, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, Mane Landers. It is truly a happy Tuesday because Orlando City got its first win of the young season over the weekend. Praise the soccer gods, and hopefully the good mojo can continue on for awhile. There’s lots to cover today so let’s get right into the good stuff.

Recognition for Lions

Following Orlando City’s road win against the Red Bulls over the weekend, more than one Lion was recognized for their efforts in the first victory of the season. First up is Sacha Kljestan, who was nominated for the MLS Goal of the Week for his first-time strike that was enough to seal all three points for Orlando. Additionally, Kljestan, Ruan, and Brian Rowe made the starting XI of the MLS Team of the Week, while Carlos Ascues made the bench. Ruan in particular was a nuisance down the right side of the field, while Rowe made several excellent early saves and Ascues had a crucial goal line clearance.

Pride Welcome Supporter Group

The Orlando Pride have recognized Black Swans Drinking Club as an official supporters group ahead of the upcoming NWSL season. The Black Swans were an unofficial supporters group during the 2018 season but have moved up in the world in earning RSG status. The group will host pregame tailgates, marches on game day, and events in the community, all while trying to build a strong game day atmosphere to help support the Pride. You’ll be able to find Black Swans Drinking Club in The Wall on April 14 when the Pride open the 2019 NWSL season playing host to Portland Thorns FC at Orlando City Stadium.

USL League 1 Broadcast News

USL League 1 has announced some very important news, namely that all of the fledgling league’s games will be shown internationally on YouTube. In the United States games will still be shown on ESPN+, but the new deal with YouTube will provide some international exposure for the league in its maiden season. While time differences would mean that most international viewers would have to be quite dedicated in order to be tuning in to the games, there are already plenty of fans that do exactly that in order to follow various teams and leagues, so it’s far from unheard of. The USL League 1 season kicks off this weekend and sees Orlando City B hosting FC Tucson Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

U-20s Victorious

The USMNT U-20 team knocked off Japan yesterday to claim a victory in its final March friendly. Andrew Carleton and Christian Cappis were the goal scorers, making it the second game in a row for Cappis to score. He also notched a tally in the team’s 2-2 tie with France that saw the youngsters fight back from a two-goal deficit. It was a much more solid result from a team that is looking ahead to the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in May, and hopefully a sign of more encouraging things to come.

McKennie Injury Update

There’s been some news on the ankle injury that Weston McKennie suffered during the USMNT’s 1-0 victory over Ecuador in Orlando last Thursday. There are some inconsistencies in the exact wording of the nature of the injury with FC Schalke terming it a “ruptured” ankle ligament, while U.S. Soccer has called it a “moderate to high degree left ankle sprain.” Regardless, McKennie is expected to miss the rest of the season, with his time on the sidelines expected to be around eight weeks. The good news, however, is that he should be available for selection in this summer’s Gold Cup, a tournament that will be the first competitive action the team sees before 2022 World Cup qualifying begins. Best wishes to McKennie for a speedy recovery.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City rose two spots to No. 16 in this week’s edition of ESPN’s MLS power rankings.
  • Here’s an interesting read on why one person joined multiple NWSL supporters groups.
  • The full 2019 Gold Cup field has been finalized, with Haiti, Canada, Martinique, Curacao, Bermuda, Cuba, Guyana, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua joining the six teams that had already qualified by reaching the 2018 World Cup Qualifying Hexagonal.
  • MLS Week 4 tekkers, featuring Orlando City a few times.

That’ll be all for me today. Don’t forget that Orlando City B plays its first game of the year on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, while the senior side squares off against D.C. United at home on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET. Y’all stay safe out there.