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Lion Links: 3/8/19

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Dwyer gets fit, SeaWolves ready for road trip, U.S. Open Cup changes, and more.

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

What’s up, Mane Landers? It looks like things are warming up after a chilly week here in Florida. However, the Lions won’t be able to enjoy the warmer weather as they head to Chicago tomorrow for their first road game of the season to take on the Chicago Fire at 1 p.m. ET. We also have two Orlando SeaWolves games this weekend, with the indoor team headed to Kansas City tonight and Milwaukee tomorrow. Now, let’s get to the links!

Dwyer Nearing Full Fitness

After coming on as a substitute in the opener, Dom Dwyer is optimistic that he will be 90-minute fit sooner rather than later. The U.S. international forward was a key part of the Lions’ comeback and is being worked into the lineup sensibly according to Head Coach James O’Connor to ensure he stays healthy during the season. Easily the best scoring option the Lions have, Dwyer is crucial to Orlando’s offense and believes his return to the starting XI is imminent.

“I’m pretty close,” Dwyer told Pro Soccer USA before Thursday’s training session. “I felt good in the game. Just trying to get a bit more miles under my belt in the training sessions. Working hard through the week. Hopefully, I’ll be back to full fitness this week, if not next.”

As for the other ailing Lions, both Ruan and Adam Grinwis fully participated in Thursday’s training. However Lamine Sané remains week-to-week thanks to a calf injury.

Orlando Prepares for the Windy City

In what Tom Bogert is calling one of the week’s must-watch matches, Orlando City heads to Chicago, IL in its first road test of the season against a Fire side that lost against the LA Galaxy to start the season. Winning on the road is no simple task, especially in Major League Soccer, but O’Connor and the Lions are working hard to get the team’s shape right and become a bit more lethal when making runs and shooting.

SeaWolves Hoping to Bounce Back

It was a disappointing home series for the Orlando SeaWolves last week, losing twice in back-to-back games. The SeaWolves have been streaky to say the least, following a three-game winning streak with a current three-game losing streak. They’ll try to keep it from reaching four games without a win tonight when they take on the Kansas City Comets at 8:35 p.m. ET. The Comets crushed the SeaWolves, 9-4 the last time Orlando visited, but Head Coach Tom Traxler is hoping to use that defeat to get a win this time around.

“We’re getting ready,” Head Coach Tom Traxler said after practice on Tuesday. “We’re certainly studying Kansas City since the last time we played them, looked at some of the things we didn’t do so well and try to shore some of those things up.”

U.S. Open Cup Improvements and Changes

The 2019 edition of the U.S. Open Cup handbook was unveiled and some changes are coming to the popular club tournament. A fourth substitution will be allowed in matches that reach extra time, allowing teams to use some fresher legs or switch goalkeepers for a penalty shootout.

But the more interesting change is that plans are in the works for every game to be broadcast, with each venue now required to have a broadcasting staff. The full details aren’t available yet, but it is a great change in my opinion as it should get some lower league clubs. Plus, more broadcast soccer can’t possibly be bad right?

Free Kicks
  • It looks like the Orlando Pride will take on the Puerto Rico Sol, the top club in Puerto Rico, on April 7 in a preseason game at Orlando City Stadium.
  • There was a minor scheduling change for Orlando’s game with the New York Red Bulls, so make sure to synchronize those watches properly folks.
  • The World Cup home kit for the United States Women’s National Team has been leaked. The white kit will feature red and blue horizontal stripes at the sleeves, stars on the back of the collar and the names of the 50 states on the back.
  • Although not an official award, Alanna Kennedy was recognized as one of the top five Australian players in the W-League.
  • It didn’t take long at all for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final to sell out. I have a feeling this summer’s tournament is going to be incredible.
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31 Minutes?!?!? #USWNT #WWC

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That’ll do it for today’s links. Let me know what you think about the USWNT leaked kit in the comments below and have a wonderful day!