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Lion Links: 9/17/19

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Morgan out for the year, Nani feeling good and garnering honors, Harris gets recognition, and more.

Soccer: Womens World Cup-USA vs Netherlands Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Mane Landers. I won’t mince words, it was another rough weekend for Orlando supporters with Orlando City getting one point when it needed three, Orlando City B losing a squeaker, and the Orlando Pride getting shellacked by the North Carolina Courage. We have no choice but to go onward and hopefully upwards, so let’s move past the bad memories and get to the links.

Morgan to Miss Rest of Season

The Orlando Pride have announced that forward Alex Morgan will miss the remainder of the NWSL season due to a right knee injury. The U.S. international has suffered a patellar stress reaction related to a previous injury that occurred while she was with the U.S. Women’s National Team. The Pride only have three games left on the schedule and with the team long since eliminated from the playoff picture, it certainly makes more sense for Morgan to shut things down and try to get healthy after a very busy last few months. Get well soon!

Nani Finding His MLS Form

You have probably been able to tell thanks to his recent performances — a goal against LAFC and then two goals and an assist against New England — that Nani is feeling pretty good at the moment. He talked to reporters after Saturday’s match about his current level of fitness, which took some time to come along after moving to MLS directly following the end of the Portuguese season with Sporting CP. He also credited his teammates for raising their level of play and contributing to his late-season form while expressing his belief in the club’s future.

“We are a team who is learning a lot, who is improving,” Nani said. “The club is building a strong team, a team to compare with others on the highest level. This is a club who I believe in the future will be fighting every game to win and every season to be in the playoff with the best teams. We just need to believe in all the good work we are all on this club doing.”

Honors for Nani

Speaking of the captain, Nani had himself a hell of a game on Saturday and his effort was rewarded with a place in the starting XI of the most recent MLS Team of the Week. That wasn’t all though, as he was nominated for the AT&T Goal of the Week for his absolute screamer of a second goal. It was a rousing performance from the captain, and even though Orlando couldn’t take all three points, it was still undeniably fun to see him tearing the defense to shreds and scoring worldies. Keep up the good work!

Plaudits for Harris

It was a rough outing for the Orlando Pride on Saturday. While it isn’t the easiest to find silver linings in a 6-1 loss, without Ashlyn Harris in net the scoreline surely would have been far worse. The Pride’s netminder made save after save, with a number of them being of the very impressive variety. In fact, Harris picked up right where she left off last Wednesday during the team’s 1-0 loss to the Chicago Red Stars. Sam Kerr had a breakaway in the 75th minute of that game and Harris stonewalled her to keep the score at 1-0 and the Pride in the game. That save earned her a nomination for the most recent edition of the NWSL Save of the Week. In a season that’s been anything but easy, Harris has often been a bright spot and the last few games have been no different, so it’s good to see her getting due recognition.

Pride Match Moved

The Orlando Pride’s Sept. 29 match against Sky Blue FC has been moved from Yurcak Field to Red Bull Arena. Rather than kicking off at 1 p.m. ET as originally scheduled, the start time has been shifted to 11 a.m. in order to provide time to get things ready for the New York Red Bulls’ home game at 5 p.m. Separate tickets will be required for each event and Sky Blue will honor all tickets that have already been sold for the game. The relocation of the game follows a recent trend of NWSL teams playing games in MLS stadiums, with the Washington Spirit playing at Audi Field being a prime example.

Free Kicks
  • P&G are buying NWSL tickets in order to try to bolster support for equal pay and opportunity for women’s soccer players.
  • Nani’s second goal took the No. 1 spot in the MLS Top 10 Plays from Week 28 of the season. He was also featured prominently in the league’s weekly video package of tricks and skills from the last week of play.
  • It would seem that Chris Mueller has something in the works.

That’ll be all for me. The Pride have the week off while Orlando City and OCB will soldier on with Saturday games kicking off at 8:30 and 7:30 p.m., respectively. Y’all stay safe out there.