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Lion Links: 9/13/19

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Orlando City staff is proud, Pride reflect on loss, OCB hits the road, and more.

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

What’s up, Mane Landers? Thank gosh it’s Friday as we bid farewell to another work week and say hello to a weekend filled with soccer. Both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are in action tomorrow so make sure to get plenty of rest between now and then. But for now, let’s start this Friday off with some links!

Orlando City Making Progress

In his first full year as head coach for Orlando City, James O’Connor has the Lions in position for a playoff push. While the dropped points have been a problem, the Lions did have a deep run in the U.S. Open Cup and have a chance to make history by making the playoffs. For the first time since joining MLS in 2015, the Lions improved their point total from the previous season and both O’Connor and new Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi see improvement with the team.

“When you look at everything that’s changed culturally, it needs to come from everybody,” Muzzi said. “You need to change something from the top culturally, so it trickles down to the players. I think everybody is doing a great job in that, it’s not only training the team, it’s mentally. It’s getting everybody on the right place. … It’s a change of mentality.”

Lions on the Hunt

Orlando’s postseason aspirations hinge on tomorrow’s game against the New England Revolution with a relatively easy schedule afterwards. The good news is that Orlando has never lost to the Revolution at home and has a deep roster that can step up to the plate. The bad news is that the last time these two teams met, the Revolution gave the visiting Lions a 4-1 loss. Right back Ruan had a fantastic return, the Lions away on international duty are coming back, and center back Robin Jansson was recognized as one of the most underrated players in the league. The Lions are poised for a strong finish, but the season will come down to tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Orlando Pride Happenings

The Pride’s loss this week was certainly hard to swallow given how late the Chicago Red Stars scored after a strong defensive performance and how the Pride couldn’t capitalize on having an extra player for half an hour. Head Coach Mark Skinner and the Pride players had plenty to say about the team’s performance and how the team shifted after going up a player. The biggest news however was the announcement of the Breast Cancer Awareness match on Oct. 12 to support Toni Pressley and her choice of a charity that serves underserved women diagnosed with breast cancer. Exploria Stadium will be filled with pink for the event, so make sure to pre-order a new shirt and scarf in advance.

Orlando City B Begins Road Trip

Orlando City B’s final four games this season will all be on the road and that brutal gauntlet will start this afternoon against Toronto FC II. While the senior teams battle for playoff spots, the USL League One teams sit at the bottom of the table as they prepare for a late season clash with little on the line. Although OCB has struggled this season, the team may have a shot at points as the Young Lions beat Toronto 2-0 in their last meeting (albeit at home) and Toronto hasn’t won a game since July 12.

Although OCB hasn’t won in its past 13 games, there are some bright spots to keep an eye on. In particular, goalkeeper Christian Herrera has come up with big stops lately and was even nominated for save of the week. Voting is still open, so make sure to go give the Young Lion some support.

Free Kicks
  • Ashlyn Harris had a great performance against the Red Stars and reached her 200th save in the match.
  • Thanks to fans, the Pride reached their $15,000 fundraising goal for a mini-pitch with further details to be released.

That’s going to do it for today, Mane Landers. I hope you all finish the week strongly as we gear up for the weekend. Make sure to check back with us throughout the day for OCB coverage and more Orlando soccer news. Vamos Orlando!