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Lion Links: 9/11/19

Pressley could be back to Orlando Pride training this week, Orlando City embraces the high stakes, USMNT hosts Uruguay, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at San Jose Earthquakes Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Wednesday morning, Mane Landers! Hope you’re all having a great week so far. I’ll be testing kindergarten and first grade students all day, so I’ll appreciate any good vibes. Enough about me, let’s jump to the links.

The Lions Embrace High Stakes

It’s no secret that every match is a must-win for Orlando City as it works to get close to a playoff spot. New England sits four points ahead in the East’s final playoff spot, and a win against the Revs this Saturday would be crucial. The Lions players were quick to mention the positive culture aiding in their resiliency this season.

“Everyone is staying positive. I think the culture drives that positivity. At this point, people might be getting at each other or giving up. The culture really is keeping us together in these most important games. It’s exciting. This is what we work all season long for, and now we’re right there and we have the chance to take it. We’re all very excited, I’m excited… I feel like if we just take care of our business, things will fall where they need to fall,” said Kyle Smith.

Head Coach James O’Connor doesn’t want the players to get ahead of themselves though, mentioning that the only match that matters in this moment is the one this Saturday against New England. In an injury update, O’Connor shared that João Moutinho is doubtful to return this week as he is still waiting on results from his hamstring injury and now a tweaked quad, while Mauricio Pereyra is close to playing and JOC is hopeful Pereyra could play limited minutes this weekend.

Toni Pressley Could be back Soon

In case you weren’t aware, the club announced back in early August that Orlando Pride defender Toni Pressley had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Julia Poe of ProSoccerUSA.com shared via Twitter that the Pride could see Pressley return to training as early as this week only about a month after having surgery. I’m glad we live in a world where the little girls I work with every day get to see bad ass women continue to follow their dreams right here in their backyards.

In the meantime, the Pride are dealing with a quick turnaround in tonight’s match-up against Chicago.

USMNT Comes from Behind to Draw Uruguay

Jordan Morris was the recipient of a fortunate deflection, allowing the Seattle Sounders man to nod home the tying goal in a 1-1 draw against Uruguay in St. Louis last night. Brian Rodriguez opened the scoring for the visitors five minutes after a scoreless game restarted for the second half. The U.S. should have received a penalty kick in first-half stoppage time after a Josh Sargent header clearly came off the upraised arm of Jose Gimenez right in front of goal. A draw is better than a loss, and the performance was better, but the USMNT is clearly still a work in progress.

USMNT Depth Analysis

It’s been eight months since Gregg Berhalter was appointed as head coach for the U.S. Men’s National Team in an attempt to save the failing program. ESPN broke down the current roster on Tuesday to show the depth of players in each position and where the team should be concerned as it prepares for the 2022 World Cup. The biggest concerns they lay out are Zack Steffen’s distribution if Berhalter continues to play out of the back and the left back position. The left back spot has been a continued weak area for the team with a lot of options, here’s hoping they can solve the problem.

Why the Bahamas vs. Bonaire Match Mattered

Unless you live under a rock, you’re well versed in just how devastating Hurricane Dorian was to the neighboring Bahamas. Only days after the storm made landfall and Thomas Robinson Stadium was being used as a backup shelter for local hospitals, the Bahamian national team rallied together to beat Bonaire, 2-1. The triumph in Concacaf Nations League play was the first victory in a major tournament since 1974 for the Bahamians. It wasn’t easy to prepare for, but the players wanted to do whatever they could to bring some joy back to the country they love.

“It was tough to prepare for this game. The power was out at our training facility and we had to cancel practice a few times. Finally we just decided to have practice, but to park our cars right next to field and turn our headlights on so we could see,” said Happy Hall.

For an easy way to help:

Free Kicks
  • It seems Orlando City fans aren’t the only people to think that Benji Michel’s 50/50 was fair and if it hadn’t been unnecessarily called, Uri’s goal could have meant the win for OCSC. I’m not still bitter, you are!
  • The Inter Miami rumors are only getting started as some sources say David Beckham has been in contact with French coach, Zinedine Zidane, while a Barcelona radio station claims he’s also reached out to Lionel Messi to play for the team.
  • A friendly reminder from Orlando City Defender Alex De John that you can help raise money to kick childhood cancer just by tweeting!

That’ll do it for me today, Mane Landers. It’s been 18 years, but spare a thought today for those who fell with the Twin Towers on this date in 2001. And be sure to check back throughout the day for all things Orlando Pride vs. Chicago Red Stars.