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Lion Links: 5/10/19

James O’Connor remains confident, Josué Colmán trusts the process, Pride searching for first win, and more.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

What’s up, Mane Landers? It’s going to be a busy weekend with Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, Orlando City B, and the United States Women’s National Team all in action. All three Orlando-based teams will look to bounce back after tough games last week as they head into the summer.

Before we get to the links, let’s wish a happy birthday to Orlando City defender Alex De John, who turns 28 today. Congrats on being another year older. Now, let’s get to the links!

No Worries About Orlando’s Offense

Last Saturday’s 2-0 home loss against Toronto FC was the first time the Lions weren’t able to score a goal in a game this season. While this definitely isn’t good news, let’s not dismiss the fact that this is the first time Orlando was shut out this year. Considering this team was unable to score in six of its final eight games last season, I’d say the offense is far from abysmal. Head Coach James O’Connor agrees, noting that the team is very good at creating chances. Despite the slump that Dom Dwyer is in, O’Connor has constant faith in his attacking players.

“The biggest thing for us is our belief doesn’t waver in the players whether somebody scores or doesn’t score,” added O’Connor. “For us, our belief is always there for the players. Whether somebody scores in the game or misses a chance or doesn’t score in the game. For us, our belief in the players doesn’t fluctuate sort of by game. Our belief is there, we expect them to try really hard and to perform what we’re asking them to do.”

Colmán Waiting For His Opportunity

One member of Orlando’s offense that has yet to make a splash this season is young Paraguayan Josué Colmán, who has yet to start this season. Maybe it’s just a consequence of having many attacking options at the team’s disposal, but having a (Young) Designated Player spend most of their time on the bench raises a few concerns. Regardless, both Colmán and O’Connor are pleased with the work ethic given thus far and, after playing 10 minutes in last week’s loss, Colmán could find his way into more of the offense moving forward.

Pride Come Home to Face Thorns

Still without a win this season, the Orlando Pride sit at the bottom of the National Women’s Soccer League standings as they welcome the Portland Thorns to Orlando City Stadium. While it takes time for a new head coach and team to come together, the pressure is definitely on with almost a quarter of the season played and only one point to show for it.

The Pride have only scored once in five games and will try to win without Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, Shelina Zadorsky — all on international duty — and the injured Kristin Edmonds. However, the Thorns will be missing key players as well, with Christine Sinclair, Tobin Heath, Emily Sonnett, Adrianna Franch, and Lindsey Horan all on international duty.

Kopmeyer Hopes to Help Solve Pride’s Puzzling Start

Between television, jigsaw puzzles, and books, Orlando goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer is finding ways to stay determined and grounded as the team continues its drought. The 28-year-old will play in goal Saturday with Harris away and believes that she and other players will need to step up when some of the bigger names on the team are gone for the World Cup this summer. Kopmeyer is all about moving forward and refusing to dwell on past mistakes as her team searches for its first win of 2019.

Young Lions Return to Texas

Saddle up, because Orlando City B is heading back to Frisco, TX for another game with North Texas SC. In the last meeting between the two teams in April, it was a narrow 1-0 loss for the Young Lions on an own goal, but with the defense improving in each game it is only a matter of time before they win their first game of the season. It will be a tough test, however, as North Texas has won all four of its games this season and hasn’t conceded a goal in its past three matches.

Free Kicks
  • In case you missed it above, Shelina Zadorsky will be away with Canada after being called up for the team’s last game before the World Cup. Although Canada’s World Cup roster won’t be officially announced until later this month, Zadorksy is sure to be a part of the squad.
  • With three games — two of which are on the road in tough environments — in the next seven days for Orlando City, O’Connor is carefully managing minutes, and every player will need to do their part this week.
  • After conceding a baffling 30 goals this season, the New England Revolution decided to part ways with Head Coach Brad Friedel.
  • Professional Mexican soccer club C.D. Don Roge added Gordy Gurson from the Orlando SeaWolves, announcing the move in a tweet that has more sponsors than a NASCAR driver. Gurson is expected back after the team’s summer season.
  • The U.S. U-17s have moved on to the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Championship.
  • Arsenal and Chelsea will meet in the Europa League final, a day after Tottenham and Liverpool booked their tickets into the Champions League final. This marks the first time ever that all four teams in the European league finals will hail from the same country.
  • That Arsenal and Chelsea match will also be Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech’s final game as he will retire afterwards. It is sure to be an emotional affair for him as he faces his former club.
  • David Beckham was handed a six-month driving ban after someone spotted him driving while using a mobile phone in London. Remember kids, if you’re going to text in a vehicle, make sure it’s in your limo with your chauffeur behind the wheel. Also, shout out to the bloke who snitched on him for doing this — loyalty goes out the window when putting other people’s lives at risk.

That’s all from me, I hope each and every one of you have a safe and fun weekend. Go Orlando!