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Lion Links: 7/14/19

The Lions beat the Crew, OCB falls on late goal, the Orlando City Foundation wants you, and more.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. First and foremost, we here at The Mane Land want to wish Orlando SeaWolves player and former Lion Lewis Neal a happy birthday! Looking back at his illustrious career was a fun bit of nostalgia — with his greatest moment likely coming when he scored the match winner against Real Salt Lake to win the U.S. Open Cup for D.C. United. Cheers to Mr. Neal, and here’s to hoping some of his Open Cup magic rubbed off on what’s now Exploria Stadium.

Speaking of Exploria Stadium, the Lions were in action last night. Let’s hop right into these Links with a look at how the lads in purple fared.

Lions Sweep Crew with 1-0 Home Win

Hoping to ride their mid-week wave of U.S. Open Cup success, the Lions were back in action last night, again at Exploria Stadium, as they played host to the Columbus Crew and won 1-0 to sweep the season series. After a scoreless, and largely uneventful first half from both sides, the Lions came alive and notched one in the second half, courtesy of Benji Michel’s first MLS goal in the 84th minute (that service from Ruan though...whew).

Unfortunately, the match ended with Dom Dwyer being sent off for throwing an elbow (you be the judge). Ultimately the Lions came away with a dramatic three points. Robin Jansson got into it with Joe Bendik and a few of the Crew, too. I’m not really sure what the motive was of either party.

Be sure to keep an eye out for Jenn Glasheen’s player grades and Man of the Match and David Rohe’s Five Takeaways, too.

The Young Lions Take On Greenville Triumph SC

Orlando City B took to the road this weekend, traveling to South Carolina for a match with Greenville Triumph SC. Unfortunately, weather postponed the match until the wee hours of the evening. Eventually the match was back underway, and much like their senior MLS side went into the break deadlocked and scoreless. The Young Lions held fast until the 88th minute but couldn’t prevent Greenville from stealing all three points at the end in a 1-0 final.

Orlando City Foundation Seeks Volunteers

If you love your Lions and you are looking for a way to give back to our community, the Orlando City Foundation is looking for you. The foundation is looking for volunteer coaches for the #KickItBack program. It’s a good opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our local youth.

Justin Meram Says He’s Energized by Move to Atlanta United

Atlanta United FC’s Justin Meram — a former controversial Lion and now U.S. Open Cup semifinal opponent — claims his move to Georgia has given him “life and energy.” With three goals and two assists through nine matches with the Five Stripes, the Iraq international claims that the atmosphere and culture in the locker room have helped him recover from his tenure in Orlando and what he viewed as a dire, rough patch in his career.

“This locker room allows me to be a goofy guy, come in, laugh, banter, get at guys,” Meram said. “And then also on the field, to not be afraid to make mistakes, understand that my teammates believe that I might not be perfect on all my dribbles, but there will be a time where the one comes off and we create something out of it.Having that belief around you gives you the confidence and desire to keep going and keep getting better.”

I’m happy for him, but I hope he has two left feet in the semifinal (and when the Lions host them again, on Aug. 23).

Free Kicks
  • Speaking of the semifinal, here’s a friendly reminder on the ticket presale! I’ll be there. Will you?
  • U.S. Men’s National Team defender Antonee Robinson is on the move, as Everton accepted an offer from Wigan Athletic for the 21-year-old’s services. Hopefully this results in more minutes for Robinson.
  • Check out former Lion Mohamed El-Munir and the pace we all grew to love in this goal-saving tackle!

All right folks, that’s all I’ve got for you today. Enjoy the Pride’s match today at Portland, and if they fall behind, just remember that a strong wave of reinforcements are on their way.