What’s up, Mane Landers? Let’s all just shake off the bad energy from earlier this week and hit the weekend full of optimism. There is plenty of Orlando soccer to enjoy while we still have it, so make sure to soak it all in.
But before we can kick back and relax, we have one last day of the work week to get through. Hopefully, these links will serve as a nice start to your Friday.
Lions Shaking Off Loss to Focus on Toronto
After falling in the U.S. Open Cup earlier this week, Head Coach James O’Connor allowed the Lions one day to sit with the feeling of disappointment before refocusing on what is still left to play for. Attention must now turn to the rest of the season and O’Connor is determined to get the best out of his players moving forward.
That starts tomorrow with a big match on the road against Toronto FC. Defender Joao Moutinho picked up a knock Wednesday night and is questionable for the match while Cristian Higuita is out as he continues to recover. Newest Lion Mauricio Pereyra will also be out as he is slowly integrated into the team and system. For their third game in eight days, the Lions will likely use plenty of depth tomorrow, although O’Connor believes the team’s depth can catch opponents off guard.
“The impact we’ve had off the bench this year is something that people underestimate,” O’Connor said. “We’ve done a great job making sure this group is together and the goals are not just coming from one person. There’s a great togetherness throughout the team.”
Pride Add New Defender
With Pride defender Toni Pressley on the Disabled List after being diagnosed with breast cancer, the club added experienced defender Julie King to the team. The 29-year-old is best known for her time with the Boston Breakers, where she led the club in appearances before the team folded and she was picked up by the North Carolina Courage. While a solid player, King has struggled to stay healthy after a series of ankle injuries but is available for the Pride tomorrow night.
Harris Reaches Milestone, Morgan Still Battling Back
When Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris takes her place in goal tomorrow night, it will be her 100th appearance in the National Women’s Soccer League. It will be another milestone in a long list of accolades for the Florida native as she continues her seventh year in the league. Reflecting on her career, she had strong words for what it means to be a part of this club and community.
“I die by this badge,” Harris said, tapping the Orlando Pride seal over her chest. “I want to be buried on that field and I want people to feel that same passion to live, breathe, eat, sleep, die by this badge. That’s the culture I want to create in this city.”
Meanwhile, Alex Morgan has not been able to play for her club since April and that will continue as she is expected to miss the Pride’s home game against the Houston Dash tomorrow as well. Morgan continues to recover from the knee injury she suffered in the World Cup and things are still day-to-day as Morgan remains sidelined from contact practice. However, the team is shooting for Aug. 17 as a likely return date for the World Cup champion.
Transfer Deadline Day Madness
While the Lions didn’t make any moves on the final day of the summer window, they did earn a nice grade from MLSsoccer.com for their window. Los Angeles has some new residents after LAFC signed Brian Rodriguez as a Designated Player, while the LA Galaxy added winger Cristian Pavon on loan from Boca Juniors. FC Cincinnati got in on the winger action as well, signing Joe Gyau and adding Derrick Etienne Jr. through loan from the New York Red Bulls. Make sure to catch up on all of the moves across the league!
Across the pond, Romelu Lukaku completed his transfer to Inter Milan after Manchester United accepted a hefty bid, David Luiz heads to Arsenal and is expected to sign a two-year deal, and American Cameron Carters-Vickers was loaned to Stoke City. In two of the more under-the-radar moves as free transfers, Watford nabbed Danny Welbeck and Andy Carroll returned to Newcastle United. According to these premier league transfer grades, Arsenal and Everton had solid summers while Chelsea struggled.
- While on tour in the U.S., Barcelona and Napoli players met up with Pride stars.
- Real Salt Lake’s Albert Rusnak had an overwhelming victory to win MLS Goal of the Week for his strike against New York City FC. Orlando City’s goal from Carlos Ascues finished third in the voting, with a little under 10%.
- The Red Bulls are happy they managed to keep defender Aaron Long around for a little while longer.
- The United States Women’s National Team has a shot to break its stand-alone friendly attendance record in its next Victory Tour match against Portugal in Philadelphia. Over 40,000 tickets have been sold already as the team hopes to break the record of 44,028 set back in 2015.
- Former Lion Corey Hertzog was named USL Championship Player of the Month.
That’s going to be all from me. I hope each and every one of you have an amazing Friday and week. Stay hydrated and have fun!