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Lion Links: 9/14/19

Orlando City hosts Revolution, Pride face Courage, OCB loses, and more

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Orlando City SC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the weekend, Mane Landers. We have not just one, but two games tonight with both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride taking the field. There is some overlap between the matches so make sure you record the one you won’t be able to catch. I’m personally making the trek from Tampa to Exploria Stadium for the Lions’ game tonight so I’m excited to be among the faithful. But before we can get to the intense action, let’s get to the links!

Orlando City Faces the Revolution

In the league’s biggest game this weekend, Orlando City will host the New England Revolution with practically everything on the line for the Lions. A loss will unofficially end the Lions’ chances at the postseason while a win gives them momentum heading into the final three games of the season. The Revolution also come into this match thinking its their most crucial of the season, so both sides will hold nothing back. There’s plenty worth watching in this one and this game will shape the rest of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Make sure to check back later today for our very own match preview and game coverage.

Pride Travel for Southern Showdown

With the playoffs well out of reach, the Pride are focused on making little gains in team mentality in the remaining games this season. After a tough loss earlier this week against the Chicago Red Stars, the Pride head to Cary, NC for a match against the North Carolina Courage. It’s been a tough year for the Pride and a road game against the first-place Courage, returning to their home stadium after crushing the Portland Thorns, 6-0, won’t make things any easier. With injuries and the FIFA World Cup keeping some of the team’s leaders away from the team this season, Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris is aware that many players have had to step up to the plate during a season filled with struggles.

“You’ve got players who don’t know what it really takes, and they’re the leaders of the team right now. They’re being forced into roles they’re not really ready for,” Harris said. “They’ve kind of just been thrown into the fire at an early stage in their career, but they’re handling it the best they can.”

Players Could Return for Pride This Season

Two of the biggest leaders on the Pride’s roster may have a chance to return to the field as both defender Toni Pressley and forward Sydney Leroux work on their fitness levels. Pressley, who was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy this August, returned to training yesterday and will start joining team drills next week. Hopefully she will be able to play in the Pride’s final home game on Oct. 12, a Breast Cancer Awareness match in her honor.

Meanwhile, Leroux returned to training with the team last month after giving birth in June as she aims to play in her first game for the Pride this year. Head Coach Marc Skinner is eyeing Oct. 5 as a possible return date for Leroux and the first-year coach is excited to get both her and Pressley on the pitch.

Orlando City B Still Can’t Win

OCB put the ball in the net three times, but unfortunately one of those times was an own goal in the Young Lions’ 3-2 loss to Toronto FC II. It was the first time in three months that OCB not only took a lead in a match, but scored more than once. Lucas Ontivero looks like he’s the real deal and it was nice to see OCB actually look capable of walking away with points. Three more road games remain on the schedule for the Young Lions to try breaking their losing streak.

Free Kicks
  • Some of the Lions made a trip to the Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital to spend time with patients and give out some gifts.
  • If you’re going to be watching from home tonight, don’t get confused if you have trouble finding My65 for the game.
  • Kay Rawlins visited Lost Lake Elementary School to speak with some of the littlest lions.

There you have it, folks. Perhaps the biggest game of the season will take place tonight, so make sure to celebrate responsibly if things go the Lions’ way. If they don’t, just know you won’t be suffering alone. Have an awesome Saturday, Mane Landers!