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Lion Links: 3/7/19

James O’Connor managing minutes, Sacha says pressure is important, Harris talks about the USWNT’s struggles, and more.

Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Thursday, everyone. We’re just two days away from Orlando City’s first away game of the season, against the Chicago Fire, and it would be great if the Lions could just go out and get three points to make everyone forget about that handball from Saturday. Unfortunately, the Lions haven’t done so well on the road against the Fire in recent years and they’ve got a lot of firepower (no pun intended), so the defense will have to step up.

But for now, let’s get to some news while we wait for Saturday.

Aw heck, let’s relive last Saturday one more time first.

O’Connor Managing Minutes to Avoid Injury

Some Orlando City fans expressed dismay and shock when Dom Dwyer and Nani weren’t in the starting XI on Saturday but in hindsight it wasn’t surprising. Dwyer hadn’t played throughout much of the preseason due to a quad injury and Nani, having only arrived with the club a couple weeks ago, had done extensive traveling in the days before the match to get his international paperwork in order. James O’Connor said in this story from he’s being “sensible” with players returning to the lineup to avoid further injury. This is a good strategy no matter how much we want the best players on the field immediately. Maybe the Lions can avoid the roster decimation that happened last year. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Kljestan: Lions Must Apply Pressure

How can Orlando City get a result in Chicago? Captain Sacha Kljestan says the team simply has to put the pressure on the back line of the Fire and not let them get the offense started. As bad as last year’s performance at the Fire was, it was good to hear Kljestan acknowledge how poor the team was that day and talk about making some amends. Three points would go a long way toward forgiveness.

Pride’s Harris Says USWNT Needs to Learn from Poor SheBelieves Cup

Losses are always a chance to learn and Orlando Pride/USWNT goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris said that’s exactly what the Yanks must do in response to a poor showing in the 2019 SheBelieves Cup. In a World Cup year, it’s a bit unnerving to see the USWNT exposed in multiple areas but Harris says that could be a positive.

“It is more important for us to get exposed so we can learn from it and build, than skate through all these tournaments and never have any issues and then feel it in the World Cup,” she said. “So, this is so important for us. We’re taking so much away from this tournament. Are we pissed that we weren’t standing up on that podium? Hell yea, we’re pissed. But, we took a lot of good and bad things away from this tournament and we’re going to be better off come time in France than we would’ve been if we won this thing.”

The USWNT’s performance has caused concern and lots of folks are writing about it, including this piece from The Yanks are Coming and this one from Kim McCauley at the SB Nation Soccer mothership.

Two U.S. Internationals Sign with MLS Clubs

A pair of Yanks have come home as Joe Corona has agreed to join the LA Galaxy and Kenny Saief will become a member of FC Cincinnati. Neither U.S. Men’s National Team capped player is on the MLS Allocation List for some reason, so Orlando City continues to sit second in line. I mean, Junior Flores is still on the list.

Free Kicks
  • They didn’t have try bangers and mash or black pudding, but some of the Orlando SeaWolves were introduced to British food. Hit the link in the tweet below to see the full-length version.
  • FIFA is reportedly considering having some 2022 World Cup games in Oman and Kuwait.
  • Orlando Pride players Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond captured the Cup of Nations with Australia.
  • Pride defender Shelina Zadorsky captured the Bronze with Canada at the 2019 Algarve Cup after a 6-5 penalty shootout win.
  • In a story somewhat resembling the Stephen King novella Blockade Billy, a Turkish player is being investigated for cutting opponents with a razor blade during a match.
  • Those born on this date include Hill Street Blues actor Daniel J. Travanti (1940), former J. Geils Band frontman Peter Wolf (1946), Pittsburgh Steelers legends Franco Harris (1950) and Lynn Swann (1952), Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston (1956), actor/comedian Wanda Sykes (1964), The Office star Jenna Fischer (1974), and Orange is the New Black and That 70s Show star Laura Prepon (1980).

That’s my time for today. Enjoy the rest of your Thursday (and week) and plan ahead to find a good watch party for Saturday.