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Lion Links: 5/24/19

Orlando not riding high, Ruan maintains strong pace, Pride add players, and more.

MLS: Toronto FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What’s up, Mane Landers? May continues to fly by as we finish up another week of 2019. It’s also a rare Friday game day as Orlando City hosts the LA Galaxy, who will be one star short with Zlatan suspended. It’s a bummer, but you should still head to the stadium or your favorite bar tonight to catch the Lions in action. But for now, let’s get to the links!

Lions Staying Level

Just as he didn’t want his team to wallow in the emotions of the three-game losing streak, Orlando Head Coach James O’Connor doesn’t want the Lions to get caught up in the excitement after their big 5-1 win last week. It’s about maintaining a balance as the team sees weeks of strong performances translate to points on the field. For a team that has yet to win consecutive games this season, establishing a consistent mindset could be the key to climbing the MLS standings.

The Fastest Man in MLS

Okay, so even Ruan is a little hesitant to call himself the fastest player in the league, but can you think of anyone faster off the top of your head? The right back has always been one of the quicker players on the pitch since he was six years old in the streets of Brazil and it was his pace that caught the eye of Orlando City Director of Scouting Ricardo Moreira.

“Ruan is a guy I’ve been following since a year and a half ago,” Moreira told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s something I like to do – speaking with the coaches and seeing what kind of characteristics matters the most in a player … and one of the things that James [O’Connor] wanted for this position, specifically, was speed.”

While he hasn’t yet faced off against every speed demon in MLS quite yet, his pace is undeniable and many believe he is the quickest player in the league. In his prime at 23, Ruan is a joy to watch as he torches defenders both up and down the field.

Orlando Pride Add Three Replacement Players

With eight players away on international duty for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Orlando Pride signed three National Team Replacement Players to help fill in the absences. Alika Keene, Hana Kerner, and Taylor Porter will all join the Pride for some added depth as they head west for a game against Utah Royals FC. The Pride are still searching for their first win of the season after six games that resulted in just a draw, but hopefully some fresh blood can help inject some life into the team.

MLS All-Star Ballot Announced

With eight players from each team in the league, 192 players were named to the MLS All-Star ballot for the match set to take place right here at Orlando City Stadium later this summer. Dom Dwyer, Nani, Sebas Mendez, Brian Rowe, Ruan, Sacha Kljestan, Chris Mueller, and Joao Moutinho were the eight Orlando City players nominated and O’Connor will likely coach unless tradition changes.

With every announcement like this, rumblings start about players who were snubbed. The only Lion I can really think of that may have deserved a nod was forward Tesho Akindele, who has four goals and an assist in just nine games played. But there’s no point getting caught up in who didn’t make the list, so make sure to vote for the Lions and your other favorite players across the league.

Free Kicks
  • The Lions will be rocking new pre-match tops tonight as part of Soccer For All month.

That will do it for today’s links. I hope you all celebrate responsibly tonight and have a great rest of your weekend. Let’s go, Orlando!