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Lion Links: 8/17/19

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Orlando City faces Minnesota United, Orlando Pride host Utah Royals FC, Orlando City B falls to Lansing, and more.

SOCCER: JUL 27 MLS - Orlando City SC at New England Revolution Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s game day, Mane Landers! Hopefully most of you are able to sleep in this Saturday morning before tonight’s action. Not only do we get to watch Orlando City take on Minnesota United, but the Pride will be in action at Exploria Stadium against Utah Royals FC. It should be an exciting night and I’m ready to kick back and relax after a busy week. Let’s start things off the right way with some links from around the soccer world!

Lions Head North to Hunt Loons

Quietly unbeaten in their last three MLS games, Orlando City travels to take on Minnesota United tonight at 8 p.m. ET. The Loons have won both previous meetings between the two teams and for former Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath and former Lion Kevin Molino this is more than another match. The game will also be a good chance for Orlando City Head Coach James O’Connor to show what his Lions are made of and O’Connor is excited to take Heath on.

“He’s someone we have enormous respect for,” O’Connor said. “Any time you play against someone you’ve got respect for, the game starts and you both want to win the game. Before it’ll be great, I’m sure we’ll have a drink after the game, but … you stick your professional hat on and it’s a game for both of us that we want to win.”

That road to the playoffs will start tonight, but won’t necessarily end with a poor result for the Lions. Roughly five teams have a shot for the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, so make sure to keep an eye on the other games this weekend that may play a part in Orlando’s future.

Orlando Pride Host Utah Royals FC

For their third straight match, the Pride will play at home in the confines of Exploria Stadium in front of the Orlando faithful. Tonight’s game will be the third and final meeting between the Pride and Utah Royals FC, with Utah winning the past two games this season. The Pride’s midfield is a little shorthanded with Marta suspended and Emily van Egmond done for the season, but Alex Morgan returned to full-contact training this week and could feature. Head Coach Marc Skinner is determined to earn a different result against Utah this time around.

“They’re a very good team. There’s no surprise, they had a little bit of a rough patch, but there’s no surprise that they’re putting in performances where they’re getting those goals. We’ve got to do what we do, prepare for those and be ready to beat them anyway regardless of who they’ve got.”

Orlando City B Falls at Home

The winless streak reaches 10 games for Orlando City B, which fell 2-1 to Lansing Ignite FC in the two teams’ third and final meeting. It was a disappointing loss for the Young Lions as they gave up two goals, but there was some solace in a second-half goal for a team that has trouble putting the ball in the back of the net. Regardless, the season goes on with only one more home game left in the remaining six matches.

ESPN Reaches Another NWSL Deal

You may remember ESPN nabbing domestic rights to broadcast a few National Women’s Soccer League games a month or so ago. Well now it looks like the network is doubling down and signed a multiyear deal for exclusive worldwide rights, including for playoff matches. That coverage starts tonight, with international viewers able to watch the Pride through ESPN while domestic viewers can watch through a stream on Yahoo! Sports. Make sure to check back here with everything you need to know on how to watch the game.

Free Kicks
  • Rookie defender Kamal Miller has stepped up this season, serving as an imposing presence on defense no matter where he is deployed on the back line. For Miller, playing at this level has been a dream come true and he continues gaining confidence in himself and his ability with each appearance.
  • Speaking of defenders, enjoy this highlight reel of Robin Jansson’s stellar performance Wednesday night to hype yourself up for tonight.
  • The Ali Krieger Football Camp returns, with the World Cup champion hosting the adult camp to train others in “The Warrior Way.”

That’ll be all I’ve got for you all today! Make sure to check back with us throughout the day for all of your Orlando soccer coverage and more. Celebrate responsibly tonight and make sure to drink plenty of water if you plan on getting toasty.