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Lion Links: 8/18/19

The Lions visit the Loons, the Pride host the Royals, an inside look at VAR, Zack Steffen’s dream debut in Germany, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Minnesota United FC Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. I hope you’re all enjoying this excellent Florida Summer weekend.

For some of you, I imagine there’s a collective sigh of relief, for your younglings have officially made it through their first week of school. Congratulations! I know it’s been a stressful week full of shopping, traffic, and first-day photos, so I’m here to soothe the soul with a nice serving of Lion Links. Let’s do this.

Lions Visit the Loons, Draw 1-1

The Lions traveled north to hunt some Loons last night. The first half didn’t provide any goals, but the boys in purple were close on multiple occasions while looking fairly strong and confident in the back. Nani, notably, didn’t have a memorable first half. Also of note, Robinho was subbed off for the club’s newest addition Mauricio Pereyra at the half, and the Brazilian was visibly upset, in tears as head coach James O’Connor consoled him with a hug.

The second half saw the Lions take a 1-0 lead courtesy of a Nani spot kick but late dramatics should be expected from the Cardiac Cats — for good or ill — and that’s what we got (the latter). A bouncing ball from a throw deep into stoppage time found a Minnesota player and then the back of the net, pulling the match to 1-1. The draw leaves a bittersweet taste on the tongues of a club that was mere moments, and then millimeters, from taking home a full three points. As a good friend of mine summed it up: “I can’t even begin to tell you. We would have moved to sixth.”

Be sure to keep an eye out for our Bearded Guy’s five takeaways later, too!

Pride Fall at Home to Utah, 2-0

In a clash that saw Alex Morgan return to NWSL action for the Orlando Pride, it was her U.S. Women’s National Team attacking counterpart Christen Press that put a stamp on the match and won it for her side. Press, running in behind the back line following a beautiful chip, volleyed to make it 1-0. Amy Rodriguez sealed the match for the Royals with a goal of her own, making the final score 2-0 as the Pride continue to mire in defeat at the bottom of the table.

Inside PRO Rulings

As a part of a running series, MLS has enlisted the help of PRO Manager of Video Review Greg Barkey to run through select rulings throughout the last few league matches. This week’s reel features two goals disallowed from the Seattle Sounders’ match against the New England Revolution, a goal disallowed in the Atlanta United FC vs New York City FC match, and a goal disallowed in the Red Bulls’ clash against Los Angeles FC. Personally, I think Greg does a great job of dissecting the play and providing insight to how these rulings are made, and found the actual footage, well...neat. I mean, it is PRO, and as they say, “PRO gonna PRO,” so take this all with a giant grain of salt.

Zack Steffen’s Bundesliga Life Off to a Dream Start

The starting man in between the sticks for the U.S. Men’s National Team, Steffen, has made a strong debut for Fortuna Dusseldorf — the club he was loaned to from Manchester City. Steffen made an incredible eight saves as Dusseldorf beat a largely superior Werder Bremen side, 3-1. Fortuna Dusseldorf sees action next on Aug. 24 at home against Bayer Leverkusen. Be sure to keep an eye on Steffen’s performances. I doubt he ever earns the No. 1 role with City, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll catch on somewhere and find a permanent home in Europe in the coming years.

Free Kicks

All right folks, that’s all I’ve got for you today. Enjoy the remainder of your Sunday and have a great week! I hope the kids are ready for week two!