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Lion Links: 8/3/19

Orlando City ready for FC Dallas, Emslie takes to Twitter, OCSC’s international decisions ahead of U.S. Open Cup match, and more.

Photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Good morning, Mane Landers! Can you believe it’s already the first weekend of August? Another year — and Orlando City season — flying by. The Lions start the month at home tonight against Western Conference opponent FC Dallas. Just 30 minutes prior to that match, the Young Lions of Orlando City B will kick off at Cooley Law School Stadium against Lansing Ignite. But before you head downtown to Exploria Stadium, here are some links.

Mauricio Pereyra Brings Unpredictability to Offense

As an attacking midfielder, newest Lion Mauricio Pereyra is eager to create chances and add some bite to Orlando’s offense. The 29-year-old hasn’t played since late May and although that makes him a bit rusty, Orlando Head Coach hopes Pereyra can be an impact player when he does get rolling with the Lions.

“I think it’s trying to get something a little different,” O’Connor said. “For an opponent, if you don’t know what the player you’re playing against is going to do, I think it’s very hard to defend against. That’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for players who can do something a little bit differently and impact the game.”

Lions Look to Finally Score on Dallas

Orlando City is ready to turn All-Star momentum into excitement for fans for the rest of the season. The club has arguably the biggest match in the club’s history coming up on Tuesday when the Lions host Atlanta United in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal battle. It’s therefore pretty safe to assume that Head Coach James O’Connor will put forth a heavily rotated lineup for tonight’s FC Dallas game. Hopefully, the starting XI can still find the back of the net for Orlando City’s first goal against Dallas in the series between the two teams. The Mane Land’s Ben Miller chatted with Drew Epperley of the FC Dallas blog Big D Soccer for both our Intelligence Report and to answer three of Epperley’s questions about the Lions. Also, don’t forget that it’s Military Appreciation Night!

Orlando City Needs to Choose Internationals Wisely for Open Cup

In typical U.S. Soccer fashion, the rules for the Open Cup are weird and often unclear. Unfortunately, teams are only allowed to play five International players in the competition, so the Lions will have to carefully choose who to play in Tuesday’s big semifinal match. One of the club’s nine internationals, Robinho, isn’t eligible anyway since he previously featured in an Open Cup game for Columbus Crew SC. Cristian Higuita will likely still be out injured, and it’s unclear whether Mauricio Pereyra will have his paperwork in line early enough to play.

A fair assumption, given the importance of the match to Orlando City, would see Nani, Robin Jansson, and Lamine Sane as three of the all but guaranteed international players in O’Connor’s squad. That leaves Carlos Ascues, Sebas Mendez, and Ruan as the three men to fill the final two spots. My money’s on Ascues being the odd guy out, but O’Connor’s final decision is definitely one of huge importance.

New Orlando Pride Star Claire Emslie Answers Fan Questions

Scottish international and new Pride striker Claire Emslie took to Twitter for a question-and-answer session on Friday. She already loves The Wall, calling the supporters’ section “insane,” and has been “learning a lot” from teammate Marta. Orlando Pride player Bridget Callahan got in on the fun, asking Emslie if fellow Pride player Danica Evans or Callahan herself was Emslie’s favorite roommate. Check out the full thread here and make sure to get your tickets to see Emslie in person on Aug. 10.

First Female Ref for Major UEFA Men’s Game Announced

Stephanie Frappart, the French referee you may recognize from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup final between the United States and the Netherlands, has been chosen for the UEFA Super Cup match on Aug. 14. Champions League winners Liverpool FC will face off with Europa League champs Chelsea FC in the “showpiece” game. Frappart isn’t a stranger to setting the pace, as she was the first female referee for France’s Ligue 1 during the 2017/18 season. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin stated the following:

“I have said on many occasions that the potential for women’s football has no limits and I am delighted that Stephanie Frappart has been appointed to officiate at this year’s UEFA Super Cup... I hope the skill and devotion that Stephanie has shown throughout her career to reach this level will provide inspiration to millions of girls and women around Europe and show them there should be no barriers in order to reach one’s dream.”

In addition, Manuela Nicolosi and Michelle O’Neal will be assistant refs for the match. Congratulations to Frappart and her crew!

Free Kicks
  • Although Nani is ready to move on from the MLS All-Star Game, Orlando City SC released a great compilation video of what celebrating soccer for five days in The City Beautiful meant.
  • SunRail confirmed that there will be late service for Tuesday evening’s Open Cup match.
  • Nike has extended its partnership with the National Women’s Soccer League through the 2022 season, continuing the sporting good’s company exclusivity as the “worldwide partner for NWSL gear and apparel.”
  • The USWNT, minus superstars Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe because of injury, will begin its World Cup victory tour tonight in Pasadena, CA, on the 20th anniversary of a historic match.

Ya’ll know what to do now, get out to the stadium and get loud for your Lions! Go City!