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Lion Links: 9/20/19

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Orlando players up for MLS End of Season Awards, Brian Rowe’s story, MLS expansion details, and more.

SOCCER: JUN 26 MLS - Orlando City SC at DC United Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning Mane Landers and happy Friday! I hope you had a great week, but if not, at least it is just about over. It’s been a great week for me but next week is bound to be even better as Publix chicken tender subs are on sale!

Now for some links.

Orlando City Players Eligible for Awards

At the end of every sport’s season that I know of there are awards. This is no different in MLS, and the ballots have arrived! Multiple Lions made the ballot in quite a few different categories. The Orlando City players nominated are:

  • Nani (2019 Landon Donovan MLS MVP, Newcomer of the Year)
  • Robin Jansson (Defender of the Year)
  • Sebas Mendez (Defender of the Year, Newcomer of the Year)
  • Brian Rowe (Goalkeeper of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year)
  • Chris Mueller (Humanitarian of the Year)
  • Kamal Miller (Rookie of the Year)
  • Santiago Patino (Rookie of the Year)
  • Tesho Akindele (Comeback Player of the Year)
  • James O'Connor (Coach of the Year)

Personally, I highly doubt any Orlando City player wins an award. Akindele probably has the best chance of winning with the Comeback Player of the Year, but even that isn’t likely. Mueller could win the Humanitarian of the Year, but seeing as Adam Grinwis probably does the most community work on the team it is weird Mueller got nominated ahead of the ‘keeper.

Tropical Depression Imelda Not Expected to Effect Orlando City Match

Despite the fact that there is flooding in Houston, Orlando City is still scheduled to play the Houston Dynamo this weekend. Tropical Depression Imelda forced the George Bush Intercontinental Airport to close on Thursday because of flooding, but it should reopen today. As of right now, the match is not going to be postponed.

The Lions’ playoff chances are slim and time is running out to make a late push. Last week’s draw severely diminished their chances of making the postseason, but the team is remaining optimistic. One of the players that James O’Connor is hoping to get more involved is Mauricio Pereyra. With time running out, and every game now a must-win, Pereyra could be getting an increase in game time tomorrow, even if he is not at 100% yet.

“We know he has a lot of quality to bring to the team, a lot of experience,” Nani said. “I hope he can get on his best legs as fast as possible because he’s showed already he’s a player we can count on.”

Brian Rowe’s Career Nearly Ended Last Year

Rowe joined Orlando after a trialist stint this preseason. The ‘keeper went on to become the team’s starter and has been having a fantastic season for the Lions. However, there were times last year when he thought that his career was ending.

“Last year, I really felt like if that was the end of the career, that was the end of my career,” Rowe said. “Now I’m in a place where I play more freely than I did before. I’m at a point where I’m just going to enjoy this because I’ve got nothing to lose.”

From his youth days, to playing at UCLA, to bouncing around the league, Rowe eventually landed with the Galaxy. Now he is part of a “Goalkeeper Union” in Orlando trying to help Orlando make the playoffs.

MLS Expansion Draft Update

Nashville and Miami are set to join MLS next season and the league announced a way that the expansion teams will draft players. The rules for the Expansion Draft change slightly each go around but here are the biggest takeaways:

Sacramento Will Get Expansion Team

Speaking of expansion teams, Roger Gonzalez of CBS Sports announced that Sacramento will “100%” be in MLS in 2022. The Sacramento city council approved for a 22,000-seat stadium to be built. The official announcement is expected next week.

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