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Lion Links: 7/2/19

Marta challenges teammates, Morgan ready to sacrifice, recognition for Orlando players, and more.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-New England Revolution at Orlando City FC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, Mane Landers. I’ve had a busy and rather dusty week of traipsing around national parks out in the western part of the country, so let’s keep this intro short and dive right into today’s news.

Marta Ready to Challenge Pride Teammates on Return

Marta has issued a challenge to her Pride teammates upon her return from international duty at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. She was less than impressed with the team’s 3-2 loss to the Chicago Red Stars over the weekend and made her displeasure known. Two of Chicago’s goals came as a result of sloppy back passes to Haley Kopmeyer and Marta was very clear that those sorts of careless plays need to be eliminated if Orlando is going to turn its season around. Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner agreed with her and called the first two goals that the team conceded “unacceptable.” Hopefully the comments help serve as a catalyst to reverse the struggles of a Pride team that’s currently in a massive hole.

Morgan Ready to Sacrifice Body for Glory

Meanwhile, Alex Morgan is still with the USWNT as the team tries to continue its push towards the Women’s World Cup final, and says that she has grown accustomed to the physical tactics that teams have been employing to deal with her. She recognizes that as a No. 9, a lot of attention will be given to her by the opposition center backs and it’s simply something that she’s had to adjust to. The attention paid to her by opposing teams has been taxing but has also opened up room for her teammates to work, with Megan Rapinoe in particular finding a good deal of success. In the end, if taking more hard tackles than normal is what it takes to win the big trophy again, then she’s willing to do it.

Orlando Players Recognized

A pair of Orlando players have won recognition for their efforts over the weekend. Nani made the bench on the MLS Team of the Week for his two-assist effort in Orlando City’s 2-0 win over Columbus. While it seems a bit strange that neither Lamine Sané nor Robin Jansson were recognized for their spectacular efforts, I suppose you can’t have everything you want in life. Additionally, the Pride’s Haley Kopmeyer was recognized for a stoppage-time save she made when sprinting back to her goal to deny a shot just over the halfway line that would have killed any further attempts at salvaging a late point. Congratulations to both players.

Orlando City Personnel Updates

There are a few things to report ahead of Wednesday’s game with the Philadelphia Union. All of the international players that were away on duty with their respective national teams have returned and have been training. Dom Dwyer should also be in the mix to play in Wednesday’s game after missing time due to the birth of his second child. Finally, Joao Moutinho is currently dealing with a hamstring injury and is not expected to play this week. All in all, some very welcome returns of players who have been big contributors up to this point in the season, and that depth will be extremely useful as the team continues its loaded July.

Skills Challenge Coming to All-Star Week

MLS will be adding a new wrinkle to its All-Star festivities with the introduction of a skills challenge during the upcoming 2019 All-Star week. An MLS-All Star team, Orlando City team, and Atlético Madrid team will all compete in the challenge, which will be held on July 30 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex. Nani will captain the Orlando team with Chris Mueller and Sebas Mendez joining him as teammates for the competition. Koke will be one of the players featured for Atlético Madrid, with two more being announced at a later date. Some of the challenges will include shooting, passing, and touch and volley, and the event will be streamed on Twitch and Twitter.

MLS Transfer Roundup

There are a few noteworthy MLS transfers to report with the first being Atlanta United’s acquisition of Emerson Hyndman on loan from AFC Bournemouth. The deal also includes an option to buy at the end of the current MLS season. The move is probably a good one for Hyndman’s career, as he has only made a pair of league appearances with the English Premier League side to date. The second move also involves Atlanta United, as they traded Romario Williams to the Columbus Crew in return for $100,000 in General Allocation Money. The GAM was most likely then used to help secure Hyndman’s discovery rights from FC Dallas, which was done for $200,000 of GAM as well as an international roster spot in 2019 and 2020.

Free Kicks

That’ll be all for me today. As I mentioned earlier, Orlando City plays the Philadelphia Union twice on a short week, which is quite possibly one of the weirder scheduling quirks I think I’ve ever seen. Anyway, get familiar with the Union players, because you’ll be seeing a lot of them over the next few days. And check back later today for our coverage of the USWNT vs. England. Stay safe out there.