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Lion Links: 8/26/19

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Skinner looks ahead, Harris reaches 400 saves, Rapids hire Fraser, Minnesota has a chance, and more.

Soccer: U.S. Women’s National Team Victory Tour-Ireland at USA Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, Mane Landers. If last weekend was rough on Orlando fans then the last few days were even rougher with all three teams in purple failing to take a single point from the weekend’s games. As always though, life must go on. So let’s jump into today’s links.

Disappointed Skinner Speaks Up

Although Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner has urged fans to be patient throughout the season, he couldn’t hide his disappointment in the team’s 2-1 road loss against the Washington Spirit.

“For me, I think they just didn’t execute the game plan well enough tonight,” Skinner said after the loss. “We told them how to beat Washington, we’d worked on it and they knew how to do it.”

It has been a rough season for Skinner and the Pride as they sit last in the league standings, but the 36-year-old is focused on an important off-season where he can shape the team to his liking. This team will likely look very different in 2020, with familiar faces expected to depart while new ones take their place as Skinner makes his mark on the organization. But until then, the Pride have six games left to try clawing out from the bottom of the standings.

Harris Reaches 400 Saves

Ashlyn Harris has notched an important milestone in her professional career. During the Orlando Pride’s 2-1 loss to the Washington Spirit, Harris made her 400th career save. It was a game where Harris did her utmost to help salvage at least a point for the Pride despite making a critical error. She made five saves on the night but the Pride ultimately came up short. The 33-year-old Harris has been with the Pride since 2016, meaning a good number of those 400 saves have come during her tenure with Orlando. Congratulations Ashlyn!

Colorado Hires Fraser

The Colorado Rapids have hired a new coach in the form of a familiar face, with former player Robin Fraser taking over. Fraser joins the Rapids as their ninth permanent head coach and brings a wealth of experience with him to his new post. After starting his coaching career with Real Salt Lake as an assistant, he managed the now defunct Chivas USA for a year in his only head coaching gig before being brought in to do the job for Colorado.

He did serve as an assistant with Toronto FC during the season the team won the domestic treble. Outside of coaching, Fraser played soccer from 1988 to 2005 and spent two years with the Rapids during that time. While the playoffs are likely out of reach for the Rapids, Fraser will look to guide the team out of the Western Conference basement.

Loons Ready for Cup Match

Minnesota United FC will play in its very first cup final as an MLS team on Tuesday when the Loons square off against Atlanta United tomorrow in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final. Former Orlando City and current Loons Head Coach Adrian Heath gave key players time to rest over the weekend to try to ensure that the likes of Darwin Quintero and Ozzie Alonso are in good shape when they take the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Heath was very blunt (and also correct) in his assessment about cup final:

“People go, ‘We’re going to enjoy it.’ Trust me, you only enjoy it when you win and that’s what we’re going to have to try and do.”

While Minnesota was disappointed with a 1-0 loss last week to Sporting Kansas City, it certainly seems that the letdown will be well and truly erased with a win over Atlanta in a day’s time.

Earthquakes Set Record Against Vancouver

Orlando’s next opponents are the San Jose Earthquakes and the Lions will travel to Avaya Stadium Saturday for their annual meeting with the California team. Hopefully the Earthquakes experience a dramatic dip in form and fortune after a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps over the weekend that saw San Jose take a whopping 43 shots, putting 19 of those on goal.

Those 43 shots are an MLS record and the statistical domination didn’t stop there. The Earthquakes also had 75% of the ball and took 16 corner kicks to Vancouver’s one. While the Whitecaps are currently at the bottom of the Western Conference on 27 points, those kind of numbers are still nothing to disregard. The Lions will need to be at the top of their game if they want to keep pace in the race to finish above the line in the Eastern Conference.

Free Kicks
  • The Pride’s game against the Spirit led the week in attendance. Despite the loss, Pride players praised the energy of the match and the sellout crowd.
  • Sinisa Mihajlovic led Bologna to a draw against Hellas Verona despite his battle with leukemia.
  • Sergio Aguero hit a different milestone involving the number 400 over the weekend.
  • Ansu Fati became the youngest player to suit up and take the field for Barcelona since 1941.
  • Las Vegas Lights FC had a fun way to beat the Nevada heat with a massive water balloon fight that had over 1,000 participants.

That’ll do it for me today. As always, be sure to check back for all your Orlando soccer needs. Stay safe out there.