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Lion Links: 7/5/19

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Sané enjoys Orlando, Pride players return, USMNT takeaways, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Columbus Crew SC Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

What’s up, Mane Landers? I hope you all are resting easy after what was hopefully a great holiday for you. To those of you who resisted the temptation of taking today off for a four-day weekend, I wish you good luck doing whatever you do to pay the bills. We have both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride in action tomorrow and then both the Women’s World Cup and Gold Cup finals on Sunday. But for now, let’s get to the links!

Lamine Sané’s Journey to Orlando

Starting his soccer career at just 10 years old, Lamine Sané knew at a very young age that soccer is what he wanted to do for a living. Signing his first professional contract at 19 with RCO Agde, Sané climbed French divisions until joining Bordeaux’s senior team in 2009 where he had 188 appearances and seven goals. Joining Orlando City in 2018, Sané has brought a veteran leadership to the team’s younger players and is thankful for the strong support from Orlando City’s fans.

NWSL Reaches Agreement With ESPN

An agreement was reached between the National Women’s Soccer League and ESPN for 14 league games to be televised on the network. All of the playoffs and three other games will be broadcast on ESPN2, while the other eight will be televised on ESPNEWS. The Pride will feature in the first such match on July 14 when they travel to Portland to face the Thorns. The Pride feature in one more televised match on Sept. 11, when they host the Chicago Red Stars in a game that should feature Alex Morgan, Sam Kerr, Marta, and other stars.

Pride Stars Return to Team

After losses in the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup, some of the Pride players who left to represent their countries have returned. Australians Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond, as well as Canadian Shelina Zadorsky, have rejoined the team and are working on integrating back into the team’s swing of things as the Pride prepare to host the Washington Spirit. There is a still a sense of hunger and drive after being bounced from the World Cup and that pairs well with wanting to come in and lead a team that has grown accustomed to them being gone. Zadorsky in particular notes how well the team has improved and her goal is to help the Pride rise in the NWSL standings.

“I think they held it down and worked on their connection,” said defender Zadorsky, who started three World Cup matches for Canada. “We’re trying to play out of the back, so I think we got caught on that sometimes as you do in the beginning. But I think there’s been good improvements and we’re scoring goals as a team now, so now we’ve just got to get clean sheets.”

USMNT Takeaways From Semifinal Win

The United States Men’s National Team conceded its first goal of the 2019 Gold Cup but secured the win in a 3-1 result that has plenty to take note of other than advancement to face Mexico. In big games, your big players have to step up and they did Wednesday night with Weston McKennie opening the scoring and Christian Pulisic scoring a brace. While Pulisic will make most of the headlines, McKennie’s growth during this tournament deserves mention as well. In fact, all of the midfielders should get some praise for the way they’re playing this tournament.

Free Kicks
  • In case you missed it, Nani had a great Fourth of July tweet yesterday as he celebrated the holiday for the first time in the U.S.
  • David Gass of MLSsoccer.com believes Peruvian midfielder Christian Cuevo could be a great fit for Orlando City.
  • No Lions made ProSoccerUSA.com’s MLS Midseason Awards, but Nani continues to be very much in the hunt for Newcomer of the Year.
  • If you miss former Lions Mohamed El-Munir or Yoshimar Yotun, you’ll enjoy their goals earlier this week. El-Munir’s in particular is something you just watch over and over and over again.

That’s all from me, folks. I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and make sure to stay hydrated out there as the summer heat shows no signs of slowing down.