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Lion Links: 9/7/19

Lions host LAFC, Pride travel west, USMNT loses to Mexico, OCB defeated again, and more.

Mexico v United States Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Welcome to the weekend, Mane Landers. Both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride have games later tonight, but there won’t be much overlap between the games so you’ll be able to catch both. The Lions start us off at 7:30 p.m. ET in Exploria Stadium and you can head to your favorite bar to catch the Pride play against Reign FC at 10 p.m. But before we get to the night’s festivities, kick back and enjoy the links.

Lions Host LAFC in Crucial Match

In the final stretch of the 2019 season, Orlando City is still in the playoff hunt but the games are becoming more and more “must win.” The Lions will play at home tonight but that may not be good news considering OCSC has the second-most home losses (seven) in the league. With many players away from the team, it will be a good opportunity for some of the lesser used Lions to give the fans something to get excited about for the rest of the playoff push.

Los Angeles FC is certainly a tough opponent, but the best team in the league will look a little different with a number of starters away from the team on international duty. The biggest question will be if inevitable MLS MVP Carlos Vela will play or if a nagging hamstring injury will keep him out. Either way, this game won’t be easy against the league’s best.

Pride Head Back to Tacoma

Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner and his team may have 2020 vision, but there are still games left to be played this season. The Pride head out west to Tacoma, WA to face Reign FC in a tough road match. The last time these two teams played each other was back in April when Alanna Kennedy scored her bicycle kick for a 1-1 draw but those heroics may not be in the cards tonight. Both teams are coming off of plenty of rest although Reign FC has the clear advantage at home.

“Tacoma is a tough place to come and get a result; we have to make sure we perform well because of adaptation to the pitch,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner said. “So we’re going to have to make sure that we account for that and we were going to look to put in a really strong performance to take points at a difficult venue.”

USMNT Shut Out by Mexico Again

Two months after losing to Mexico in the Gold Cup, the United States Men’s National Team was held scoreless by its rival once again and lost 3-0. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez opened the scoring in the 21st minute and the Americans kept it close for a majority of the match before Mexico found two more goals in the second half. It’s a tough loss to swallow for the USMNT as it works out the kinks before the Nations League continues in October.

Christian Pulisic and four other Americans are returning to their clubs after the match instead of sticking with the team for the friendly against Uruguay on Sept. 10.

Orlando City B Falls in Final Home Game

OCB fell 3-1 to North Texas SC last night in the team’s last home game of 2019. While the winless streak now stretches to 15 games, at least OCB was able to find the back of the net for the third straight game. It doesn’t sound that impressive, but OCB captain Brandon John scored and almost scored again in the match. Maybe it’s a glimmer or hope for the future or maybe it’s just a small consolation in a rough season. Either way, OCB finishes with a 3-8-3 home record and has four road games left this season.

In other OCB news, defender Matheus Silva is no longer with the team and did not play last night. Silva was a mainstay on the team this season, starting in 18 games, and was a leader on defense.

Free Kicks
  • A pair of young fans in remission were surprised by some Lions as part of the league’s Kick Childhood Cancer efforts this month.
  • While at Cheney Stadium, some Pride players gave the grounds’ challenge a go. I wish I could take on every day with as much confidence as Bridget Callahan has. Minor headphone warning for deserved excitement.
  • While all of the attention is on the likes of Pulisic and Timothy Weah, here’s a chance to learn more about American midfielder Brandon Servania as he prepares for the 2020 Olympics.
  • Nashville SC continues building its MLS roster, adding Costa Rican midfielder Randall Leal to the squad.
  • We end our links with this incredible save from a fan. I think this is about as close to taking a bullet for a loved one that I’m willing to get. Also, can we get this guy in Orlando for OCB next year?

All right, that’s going to be it from me. Enjoy tonight responsibly and make sure to stay hydrated if you plan on being out in the sun. Summer may be gone, but the heat sure isn’t. Vamos Orlando!