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Lion Links: 4/21/19

The Lions top the Whitecaps, the Pride visit the Reign, Jozy Altidore lashes out after injury, and more.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Orlando City SC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers! I can finally end that statement with an exclamation mark again now that the Lions have added another win to their record on the 2019 campaign to move to 3-3-2. Unfortunately for me, I’ve been dealing with the flu since Wednesday, but I’m finally getting over it. It’s been hell, so I suggest that you get your flu shots while you can.

In much more important (and infinitely more relevant) news, today is Orlando City goalkeeper Adam Grinwis’ 27th birthday! Be sure to hop over to your social media of choice to show him some love. Happy birthday, Adam!

All right, let’s get to the Links.

Cardiac Cats Top the Whitecaps, 1-0

Donning the highly favored annual Adidas Parley kits (Orlando City now moves to 3-0-0 in the special edition kit) at home, the Lions showed why they’ve earned the “Cardiac Cats” nickname throughout the years. In the 88th minute, Sacha Kljestan, brought on as a substitute (and notably dropped from the starting 11 this weekend), took a low shot off a Ruan cross resulting in a deflection off of Portuguese captain Nani, who was credited with the match-winning goal for the home side. An excellent run and pass from Ruan opened up the opportunity for Sacha. The Lions are currently sitting in fifth place in the East. The season is young, but the Lions have now proven that they can grind out gritty wins. I’m as optimistic as I was from the season’s first kickoff.

And keep a keen eye out for Tom’s Five Takeaways later this morning.

The Pride Take On the Reign

Tonight’s match between the Orlando Pride and Reign FC could get ugly, or at least that’s the impression I’ve gotten after the Pride have conceded seven goals and scored none through the opening two matches of the NWSL season. The Reign are an annual top-tier side, but the Pride will hope to bounce back and strike for the first time on the young, green season. Kickoff is set for 10 p.m. ET at Cheney Stadium. The match will be streamed nationally on Yahoo Sports! and in the NWSL app. New Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner thinks the Reign are a great side, too...but he sounds more optimistic than I.

“The Reign are a team with fluidity, consistency and a number of ‘game-changers’ that we’ll need to keep controlled,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner said. “This game will cap off a long, difficult opening week that’s a great test for us. If we can make them defend and keep on the front foot, I believe we’ll see the performance we need for a result.”

Go Pride!

Toronto FC’s Jozy Altidore Speaks Out

The USMNT and TFC striker has publicly hit out at the club’s president after exiting his side’s 4-3 win against Minnesota United in the 82nd minute with hamstring tightness, claiming that the owner (Bill Manning) could have had a former trainer remain with the club, but due to the trainer’s affiliation with former Toronto FC superstar Sebastian Giovino, he’s no longer allowed access to the club.

“Well, we had a trainer here the last three years that’s been helping me with muscle injuries, but because he was attached to Seba [Giovinco], he’s not allowed at the club, which I think is ridiculous,” Altidore said. “And so now this is what I’m faced with -- games of egos and that (kind of) thing. Hopefully [Manning] can put his ego aside and I can get the guy that’s kept me healthy, kept Michael [Bradley] healthy, kept a bunch of the guys healthy, and we can make things move forward. To run a club, you’ve got to be able to put your ego aside and put the players first, so hopefully that will change.”

Bold words from a bold player, for sure, but an objective mind has to ponder the ramifications of speaking out publicly against the president of the club, and if it will affect the striker’s availability with the national team in the future should Gregg Berhalter choose to call him up.

St. Louis Expansion Bid Reveals Stadium Renderings

The stadium rendering of a ground that St. Louis hopes to make its MLS home one day has made its rounds on the world wide web and it’s been received with warmth as the beautiful building boasts some incredible features. Created by Snow Kreilich Architects and the global design firm HOK, the proposed stadium plans include a promise that every seat will be within 120 feet of the field, as well as a translucent canopy covering for the fans, which also permits light to reach the field. The design will be open to the north and east, which, according to the proposal, is intended to create “a strong visual connection to the surrounding Downtown West District and surrounding neighborhood.”

Free Kicks
  • Speaking of Toronto FC...maybe the club’s president could look to replace Jozy with this Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty fella. (I’m only kidding, but seriously, check this kid out). His Toronto U-15 squad fell to Chivas de Guadalajara in the Generation Adidas U-15 tournament final through spot kicks.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo is a pretty accomplished guy. We can go ahead and add to that as Juventus has again claimed Serie A.
  • Interested in the USL Championship? Here’s a tidy wrap-up of news from around the country.
  • It seems Evan Bush was pretty upset at being scored upon by the Philadelphia Union, or maybe he was just angry at the Talen Energy Stadium turf. Probably both.

All right folks, that’ll do it for today. If you’re still a little hungry, that’s a good thing, because Tom’s takeaways should be on your plate soon, plus we all have a Pride match to watch tonight. I predict a heavy Reign win, but hope to be wrong. Either way, have yourselves an excellent evening and an even better week!