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Lion Links: 8/22/19

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Orlando Pride visit Chicago, OCSC’s culture is changing, “Best of” roundup, Marisa Viggiano gets called up, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Minnesota United FC Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, Mane Landers! We’re one sleep away from Orlando City vs. Atlanta United. Could this finally be the match Atlanta loses? With injuries haunting OCSC, the Lions will have to show up tomorrow night with great force. Let’s get to the links.

Orlando Pride Enjoy Chicago Trip, Win 2-1

The Pride must love deep dish pizza or something. Orlando went into SeatGeek Stadium and beat the second-place Red Stars, 2-1 out of nowhere. It was often an ugly performance but in the end all that matters is the three points. That’s three straight wins at Chicago for the Pride, who were coming off back-to-back home shutout losses before heading to the Windy City. Next up for the Pride is a trip to Washington, D.C. on Saturday.

OCSC’s Growth Evident as Lions Chase a Playoff Spot

I don’t think it matters if you’re an Orlando City fan or not, everyone noticed how upset Robinho was to come out at the half last weekend. shared a bit of insight into James O’Connor’s thinking and how the emotions are a mark of the culture change taking place with the team.

“It’s a testament to him. It shows his level of commitment when it affects him like that. The biggest thing for me is I want people who care, and that shows that he really deeply cares about the football club,” O’Connor said.

The article went on to share how the defense has been a game changer and how the strikers falling back to help defend has helped with the overall defensive improvements. It isn’t all rainbows and butterflies though, Mane Landers, as injuries continue to plague the team. João Moutinho and Ruan still haven’t returned to training after hamstring injuries and their recovery may take several more weeks. Cristian Higuita has been training with full contact, and James O’Connor is planning to continue to ease Mauricio Pereyra into matches.

“Best of” Roundup

Orlando Weekly has declared that Nani is the best replacement for Kaká in their “Best of 2019” list. Nani has also been mentioned as a favorite in the MLS Newcomer of the Year race. Orlando Weekly also maintains that Exploria Stadium is the best advertisement for a resort chain we’ve never heard of. That’s a strange category, but OK. While we’re talking about best of, we have to mention Yahoo’s 25 Hottest Sports Power Couples of 2019. I’m sure you could assume that Alex Morgan and Servando Carrasco made the list, along with Dom Dwyer and Sydney Leroux, but I was surprised to see Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger not make the cut.

Pride’s Viggiano Called Up to U-23 USWNT

The U-23 U.S. Women’s National Team will head to England to play in the 2019 Nordic Tournament from Aug. 28-Sept. 2. We’re pretty sure that England isn’t a Nordic country, but whatever. This team of U-23s will feature Orlando Pride rookie Marisa Viggiano, who was named to the roster.

Free Kicks

That’ll do it for me tonight, Mane Landers. Be sure to check back here for all things Orlando City vs. Atlanta United over the next two days!