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Lion Links: 4/30/19

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“Human connection” helped sell Nani, latest power rankings, Ibra speaks about clash, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at New York City FC Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t the best weekend for Orlando soccer. Orlando City was the only of the three Orlando teams that managed a result, with both the Orlando Pride and Orlando City B falling in their contests. But, life goes on with or without you, and with that in mind it’s time to tackle today’s links.

“Human Connection” Sold Nani on Orlando City

Speaking about the off-season signing of Nani from Sporting CP, Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi has said that he believes the face-to-face meeting that occurred when he flew to Portugal to meet with the winger was what helped him sign on the dotted line for Orlando. He spoke recently about how Nani talked about how he had a good feeling about Muzzi, the Lions, and Orlando in general. It took several calls and that in-person meeting to help secure his services and, personally, I found myself rather impressed by the dedication the club’s new EVP showed to make sure he did everything he needed to do in order to convince Nani that Orlando was the right move.

Thus far, the Portuguese has certainly been a success with five goals and four assists through nine games, and OCSC has been solid enough with a 3-3-3 record, so his gut seems to be very worth following.

Power Rankings

In the latest edition of ESPN FC’s MLS Power Rankings, Orlando City is holding steady at No. 12 following Saturday’s draw. Which, in and of itself, would be fine except that the team Orlando played, NYCFC, jumped up three spots even though they were the home team. But what do I know? Elsewhere in the league, LAFC unsurprisingly held pat at No. 1, with the LA Galaxy jumping up into the second spot. At the other end of the table, however, the Colorado Rapids retained the unfortunate honor of being the 23rd out of 23 teams in the rankings. With a record of 0-2-6, things are not well in Colorado at the moment and don’t show signs of improving anytime soon.

Ibra and Onuoha on Fiery Incident

Both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Nedum Onuoha have voiced their opinions on the coming-together and subsequent interactions that took place between the pair during the LA Galaxy’s 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake this past weekend. It started with Ibrahimovic picking up a yellow card for fouling Onuoha early in the second half to try and create a flash point for himself and the Galaxy to latch onto. Onuoha was not exactly pleased and Zlatan’s apparent jawing from that point onward didn’t make things any better. In the end, Ibra had the last laugh as he eventually scored the game winner. While he went to the RSL locker room to apologize for what happened during the game, the defender was having none of it and has made his feelings on the matter (he isn’t amused) very clear.

MLS Extends Twitter Agreement

MLS has extended its current arrangement with Twitter in a move that will see the two entities partnered through the end of the 2022 season. As it’s been doing, MLS will give Twitter live on-demand content every week of the season, and will broadcast certain matches on Twitter in both English and Spanish. All in all, it’s a smart move from the league. Twitter is a quick, easily available and accessible platform that is one of, if not the best way to reach a very important demographic of American soccer fans — young people. The social media platform is also using new ways to connect with fans during games, most notably a special hashtag-controlled camera that debuted last season.

Free Kicks
  • Another week means that plenty of young USMNT players were in action once again, and Stars and Stripes FC has you covered with a comprehensive summary of how those young guns fared.
  • Nani made MLSSoccer.com’s skill compilation from Week 9 of the season (42-second mark). Unfortunately, so did Lamine Sane (54-second mark). You win some and you lose some.
  • Jurgen Klopp is not impressed by the Camp Nou.

That’ll do it for me today. It’ll be another busy weekend of soccer in Orlando. OCB kicks things off Friday with a home game against Chattanooga at 7:30 p.m. Then it’s Orlando City’s turn with a home game against Toronto FC on Saturday at 4 p.m. Finally, the Orlando Pride will wrap things up with the lone away game of the weekend as they travel to BBVA Compass Stadium to face the Houston Dash. Y’all stay safe out there.