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Lion Links: 5/19/19

James O’Connor eyeing crucial win over FC Cincinnati, Chris Wondolowski becomes top goal scorer in MLS, U.S. beach soccer and more.

MLS: D.C. United at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers, but more importantly, happy match day! I’ll be at Orlando City Stadium today to soak in the expansion clash with MLS newcomers FC Cincinnati and I can’t wait. It feels like a great opportunity for the Lions to put a halt to their three-match losing streak, as FC Cincinnati has been struggling to find its footing in a new professional environment. Regardless, I’ll do my best to distract you for a bit with Sunday’s helping of Lion Links. Enjoy!

James O’Connor Wants a Win

Well, obviously we all want a win. But it seems that O’Connor is no longer taking any positives away from his team’s close matches, comparing the feeling of the the current losing streak to someone who works three weeks but only receives 30% of their pay. Clearly, it’s getting to him (as it should). O’Connor sees today’s home match as an opportunity to get back on track and find winning ways, despite the prevalent feeling that the team has been playing well enough to earn more points.

“A lot of the performances that we’ve seen are good performances and are worthy of more points,” O’Connor said. “Even some of the fellow coaches who we’ve played have commented on how well we’ve been doing. Again, people can see, but ultimately, when you’re not getting points on the board, it’s really frustrating.”

He goes on to express just how much this home clash with the MLS newcomers means to him.

“I can’t describe how badly,” O’Connor said when asked how badly he wanted a victory against FC Cincinnati. “Even if I began to try, we would be here for about eight hours and you would be bored silly. For the whole club, for supporters, for the players, for the coaching staff, we need a win. And we want to win,” O’Connor said. “Desperately, we want to win.”

Wondo Hits Four, Surpasses Landon Donovan

Chris Wondolowski is MLS’s all-time top goal scorer, having notched goal numbers 145, 146, 147, and 148 all in yesterday’s 4-1 demolition of the Chicago Fire. Wondo was able to break the record with two matches to spare at 338, as Donovan set the previous record in 340 appearances. The other three players in the top five are Jeff Cunningham, (134 goals), Jaime Moreno (133 goals), and Ante Razov (114 goals).

FC Cincinnati Set to Announce Gerard Nijkamp as General Manager

Today’s opponents are set to announce the Dutch executive as GM of the club, with multiple sources all confirming the rumors. Gerard Nijkamp has experience with the U-21 Dutch National Team under his belt, as well as many years of experience with FC Zwolle to pull from in his new role, and the brass in Cincinnati hope that he can turn what’s starting to look to be an abysmal first season in MLS into a respectable campaign. Time will tell, but he’s certain to make an impact in some fashion. We’ll see how it turns out.

USA on Cusp of Beach Soccer Glory

That’s right, “USA” and “soccer glory” were just used in the same headline. The U.S. Beach Soccer National Team advanced to the semifinals of the Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship following its 5-1 thrashing of Guadeloupe. Tanner Akol and Nick Perera, the tournament’s two top scorers, each scored twice and David Mondragon also put one in the back of the net. The Yanks next see action on Saturday, when they’ll face El Salvador, which beat the Bahamas in the opposite quarterfinal. The clash is set to be a rematch of the 2013 final that saw the U.S. win 5-4 in overtime. The winner of the semifinal match will automatically be qualified for the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay, and vie for the Concacaf title on Sunday.

Free Kicks
  • The Orlando City Foundation Jamboree was yesterday. Did you get your practice in? It looks like Kay did.
  • I promise I don’t mean this with sass, but isn’t your number of stripes five, Atlanta United? I mean, I’m just saying.
  • The U-20 Men’s National Team lost to Uruguay on spot kicks in the final tune-up match before the U-20 World Cup. Chris Richards notched one for the Yanks.
  • Brilliant Marketing, Southampton FC. Well done with this one.
  • Tyler Boyd may suit up as a Yank sooner than anyone had ever expected.

Well, that’s it for now. Whether I run into you down at the stadium today, or you’re watching from a bar or from home, be safe and enjoy the match!

Have a great Sunday and an even better week.