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Lion Links: 4/7/19

Lions ride the Rapids, Marc Skinner is happy with his squad’s progress, Arjen Robben is mulling an MLS move, and more.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. I hope you’re all having a great one. Personally, I’ve been better. I’m headed in for an MRI on my left knee tomorrow night. It seems having quick feet can be a curse and a blessing...as I’m fairly certain I was chopped down by a frustrated defender after rounding him one too many times. All is fair in love and war, I guess. I’m hoping it isn’t too serious.

But enough about me, let’s get your Sunday serving of Lion Links into that belly of yours. Enjoy.

Orlando City Rides the Rapids to a Win, 4-3

Fresh off of a controversial loss to Wayne Rooney and D.C. United, the Lions hosted the Colorado Rapids yesterday in a slosh-ridden affair that, unsurprisingly, saw the boys in purple concede first. Things improved though, and quite quickly, as the Lions struck back twice in quick succession. Following a typical Florida weather delay, the Rapids found their way back into the match, but Orlando battled back after falling behind 3-2, to eventually find a 4-3 win.

And keep a keen eye out today for Michael’s player grades and Dave Rohe’s five takeaways!

Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner Pleased with Progress

With one final preseason match to be played today against the Puerto Rico Sol, Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner is happy with the progress that his squad has made throughout the off-season. Despite some of his best players missing due to international obligations, Skinner has been implementing his specific style of play successfully. While he did emphasize that these players are still a bit new to him and that his system seems to be settling in with them, he also stressed the importance of having the ability to adapt to what the opposition may throw at them.

“I’m hoping for a little bit of a different style, potentially,” Skinner said. “They’re a little bit unknown to me, if I’m being really honest, which is great. When we go into season, when we play Portland the first game, we’ll know what they do. We’ll prepare for what they do. In these games, you have to adapt to what you don’t know is going to happen. I think that will always been the telling factor between who wins things.”

Opening the season at home against the always-competitive Portland Thorns will be a tough first test for Skinner, but he’s not shying away from the task - though he does acknowledge that things are still a fluid work in progress.

“I’m happy with the distance they’ve traveled,” Skinner said of the team’s progress this preseason. “I really am. Again, the challenge will be when we come next week and are we ready to go? Are we ready to play a very, very good team in Portland? I’m hoping that we’ll be at that stage. If not, look, we’re going to get to that stage. It’s a long, long season. There’s lots of twists and turns. I’m happy with the preparation that we’ve had and I’m happy that we’re going to continue to do that day-in and day-out. We don’t just get into season and all of the sudden just coach for the games. We still look to improve.”

Arjen Robben to MLS?

Arjen Robben is one of my favorite players and his contract with my favorite team ends after this season...and rumors abound that the marquee, albeit aging, Dutch winger could be headed stateside. There’s massive interest for his services in Italy, with Inter Milan attempting to persuade the 35-year-old to join their ranks, but the most recent word from the rumor mill is that he’s likely to spurn the Milan-based club in favor of a move to an MLS side. It’s a pipe dream to think about the impact he could have on this current Orlando City roster, but a man can dream, right? I mean, I did get to sit in his locker.

Former Lions Handed Debuts

Former Lions skipper Jonathan Spector made his debut in Scotland yesterday, in a derby win nonetheless. His new club, Hibernian FC, defeated the well-known Heart of Midlothian FC (commonly referred to as Hearts). Meanwhile, up in Toronto’s BMO Field, Richie Laryea debuted for Toronto FC. Unfortunately for Laryea and Toronto, the match ended in a 2-2 draw. Oh, and Mohamed El-Munir made his first appearance with LAFC, coming on late in his side’s 4-0 drubbing of D.C. It’s nice to see some friendly and familiar faces finding success elsewhere. Congratulations, fellas!

Free Kicks
  • Enjoy today’s U.S. Women’s National Team friendly against Belgium. Much like the Pride and their preseason finale, this is an opportunity for the Yanks to tune up prior to this summer’s Women’s World Cup. We’ll have full coverage of the match for you later.
  • Zlatan, I can’t express how much I love you, and your response to a recent pitch invader was flat out class. Keep being the Zlatan we all know and love, please.

All right folks, I’m out. Enjoy the remaining hours of your weekend and then have a great week. Make a stranger smile, but don’t be creepy. Hell, you know what I mean.