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Lion Links: 8/20/19

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Pereyra flashes potential, a Lion in the MLS Team of the Week, shortlist for The Best Women’s player, and more.

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It was another tough weekend for Orlando soccer fans, with only one point claimed out of nine that were available to Orlando City SC, the Orlando Pride, and Orlando City B. The silver lining is that the Lions are now tied on points with Montreal, which sits in the seventh and final playoff spot, but they’ll still need to keep getting results if they want to play in the postseason for the first time. There’s an absolute smorgasbord of news today, so let’s get cracking.

Pereyra Shows Potential in Orlando City Debut

Mauricio Pereyra made his Orlando City debut this past weekend at Minnesota, and while he still has some work to do to reach optimal fitness, the DP signing showed flashes of his immense potential in the second half of the 1-1 draw.

“I thought he did a good job at keeping the ball,” Orlando City coach James O’Connor said. “That’s what he’s good at. It’s gonna take him a little time to get used to the style of the play, but we’ve signed a good player in Mauricio.”

O’Connor has not rushed to throw Pereyra into the lineup since his arrival in The City Beautiful, and hopefully that patience will pay off as the Lions hit the stretch run toward what could be their first MLS postseason. Lions fans can only hope to see more of Pereyra as he acclimates to the heat and humidity of Orlando and sees more minutes.

Lion in MLS Team of the Week

Brian Rowe made the bench of the most recent MLS Team of the Week following his exploits in the draw with Minnesota. Chief among what he did were two excellent saves, both at close range, to deny almost certain goals. For the first save, he dived away to his right and got two strong fists to a sharp drive from Darwin Quintero, while on the the second he again dived to his right and got a hand on a goal-bound shot that he must have seen very late. Rowe was named The Mane Land’s Man of the Match by yours truly, and without his contributions the team wouldn’t have been in a position to even take one point out of their trip to St. Paul.

Morgan Makes Shortlist for The Best FIFA Women’s Player

The shortlist has been released for the rather awkwardly named The Best FIFA Women’s Player award, and it contains some familiar faces. Four Americans have made the shortlist, including the Orlando Pride’s own Alex Morgan. She’s not all though, with Julie Ertz, Megan Rapinoe, and Rose Lavelle also in contention to be named the best women’s soccer player in the world. Personally, my money is on Lavelle or Rapinoe, who both had excellent campaigns during the United States’ defense of its Women’s World Cup title over the summer.

St. Louis Expansion To Be Announced

It would seem that St. Louis will be announced shortly as the newest expansion team in Major League Soccer, with “a special announcement” set to be made by Don Garber in St. Louis this afternoon. He will also be joined by leadership from the #MLS4TheLou ownership group as well as the St. Louis mayor. Given all of those players in attendance and the location of the announcement, it seems a forgone conclusion that St. Louis will be the next city to get an MLS team, unless Garber has some sort of very unexpected prank planned. St. Louis will become MLS’ 28th team, with Inter Miami and Nashville SC set to begin play in 2020, while Austin will play as the 27th team starting in the 2021 campaign.

MLS and Political Displays

MLS and politics have certainly been in the news lately, beginning with Alejandro Bedoya’s recent plea for congress to find a solution to stop gun violence. More recently, however, there is further news on the subject with the revelation that the Portland Timbers have banned the display of the Iron Front symbol on a banner or larger display at the stadium on game day. The front office released a statement on the banning of the symbol on banners and large displays and why it was done, while also speaking about the tricky question of what constitutes a political statement. If you want to read more about the juncture MLS finds itself at in regards to political statements on game day, you should check out this article over at Inside Hook.

Free Kicks
  • Nani takes you behind the scenes at MLS All-Star Week.
  • Forward Madison FC has very strong game when it comes to promotion nights.

For your soccer viewing pleasure this week, the Pride play Chicago Red Stars tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. ET on the road before going to our nation’s capital to play the Washington Spirit on Saturday at the same aforementioned time. Orlando City will take on Atlanta at home on Friday at 8 p.m., and Orlando City B hits the road to take on Tucson on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Y’all stay safe out there.