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Lion Links: 3/3/19

The Lions draw the Pigeons in controversial fashion, Nani hopes to be fully fit soon, the Orlando SeaWolves host the Tropics, USWNT draws again, and more.

MLS: New York City FC at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Greetings, Mane Landers. Whew. What a start, right? Another season opener, another controversial decision against the Lions. Seems about right.

Before I start ranting, let’s just hop right in, shall we? Enjoy your Sunday Links, fellow Mane Landers.

Lions Draw Pigeons in Controversial Comeback

Welcome to the 2019 MLS regular season, folks, and welcome to yet another disappointing video review ruling against our boys in purple. I’m not taking out the tinfoil hat yet, but man, what an “unlucky” break. The Lions did manage to claw themselves back into what looked like an inevitable loss, conceding twice before the break and then emerging with a 2-2 draw to put a valuable point behind the club’s name on the table. It was a tough pill to swallow, this match, but a point is a point and things look bright. Remain positive and patient, folks. This is the year. Anyway, here’s the important stuff.

Check back at TML later today for Jenn Glasheen’s five takeaways from the match and a photo gallery from Dan MacDonald.

Nani Hopes to be Fully Fit Soon

As so do the rest of us. A clear improvement was visible once the Portuguese icon stepped onto the field for the first time as a Lion, and his presence was vital to the Lions’ comeback, as he put Dom through with a great pass. Dwyer, in turn, put Tesho in for a clean tap-in. After the match, Nani stated that he hopes to be fully fit for the club soon, and boy, I can’t wait. When asked how far off he was from being fit, his response was promising.

“I think it’s not so far,” Nani told reporters. I think I need a very good week of training, and I think I’ll be able to start.”

And his attitude towards his teammates, the club, and the supporters following the rally back from down two, was also quite promising. Nani will obviously be a massive linchpin in the attack this season, but it feels like he’s already starting to embrace a leadership role - one that will only assist in the development of the club’s younger stars, like Chris Mueller and Josué Colmán.

“I think it was great the attitude of [the] players. We [started] the game very well. We were [playing] very good football. We showed on the pitch the confidence that we wanted to win the game. Of course, we conceded two goals and that can happen and we don’t want that to happen so often, but it was a great shoot from the opening. Of course, we react very well in the second half, so I think it’s fair for one point. We could win the game if probably there was a penalty on that challenge,” added Nani.

SeaWolves Fall to Florida Tropics, 5-7

If you haven’t been keeping track of the City Beautiful’s newest indoor soccer franchise, you really should be. The Orlando SeaWolves have had an up and down inaugural season thus far, but have proven that they’re no pushovers by performing well against strong, established MASL clubs. Yesterday’s match didn’t quite go as planned though. The Florida Tropics jumped out to a big 6-2 lead, but the SeaWolves didn’t give in. They fought hard, but the final result didn’t fall in their favor. In the end, their comeback fell short and they lost a close one by a final score of 7-5.

USWNT and England Play to 2-2 Draw

Meanwhile, in the SheBelieves Cup, the USWNT fought hard to a 2-2 draw against a stout England side that saw Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath both net for the Yanks. Steph Houghton and Nikita Parris put their names on the scoresheet for the English. Unfortunately, the result is not an accurate reflection of the performance, as the Yanks held more possession, and out-shot their opposition, 20-6. The result sees the Yanks remain third in the tournament, with only a single match day remaining to prove their worth. Keep an eye on them, because something tells me this draw will spur them on to a convincing win against a struggling Brazil side. A lopsided win over Brazil and a draw between Japan and England would still see the USWNT retain the title.

Free Kicks
  • Did you have a blast attending the Lions’ season opener? Yeah? Well I bet you didn’t have more fun than Kristen Edmonds, who got in there with Mayor Buddy Dyer.
  • This free kick is dedicated to the incredible base of supporters that show out on match days. The atmosphere you all create is second to none in this league, and I’m incredibly grateful to call you all family. Pride coach Marc Skinner even got in on the festivities.
  • El Clásico, inconveniently playing at the same exact time as the Lions’ season opener, was a fun one. It wasn’t a high scoring affair, but boy, were there fireworks. It ended 1-0, with Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitić netting the only goal of the match. It was quite sexy, too...oh and don’t worry, Barcelona’s manager Ernesto Valverde said that Barca talisman Lionel Messi is just fine.

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Enjoy the remainder of your Sunday and have a terrific week. You deserve it after that controversial comeback (that should have been a win). Sheesh. Let me get out of here before I start ranting.