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Lion Links: 1/24/20

Oscar Pareja’s methods, Pedro Gallese is ready to roll, Orlando SeaWolves play tonight, and more.

SOCCER: OCT 06 MLS - Chicago Fire at Orlando City SC Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Things are fine and dandy over here in Tampa with a pirate festival tomorrow. Still, I wish I was a bit closer to Orlando as the season gets closer and we all gear up for what could be a really promising season. I might be jinxing everything, but I have a good feeling about 2020. Now, before I end up dooming Orlando City, let’s get to the links!

Oscar Pareja’s Intense Training

In his first preseason with the club, Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja is making it clear right off the bat that he expects a certain level of fitness from his players. Described as ‘intense’ by forward Tesho Akindele, the training camp thus far has focused on strengthening the players’ bodies before the season begins. The players themselves are rising to the occasion, with competition fueling them after so many impressive players joined the team in the off-season.

Pedro Gallese Excited to be in Orlando

This may be Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese’s first time in MLS, but he heard plenty from international teammates Yoshimar Yotún and Carlos Ascues about their time with Orlando City.

“Conversing with those teammates, they told me Orlando was a beautiful city,” said Gallese. “A city that was going to welcome me and my family with open arms [and] because of that, I made the decision to come here to live peacefully… and I want to write my story with this team.”

While he may not have dominated headlines when he was signed by the Lions this off-season, Gallese has a strong chance to be a force in the league and is ready to help Orlando City reach the playoffs and give fans something to cheer about.

Nani Talks Childhood, Orlando, and More

In a great feature that I’ll personally call a must-read, Nani fielded questions and discussed his life both on and off the field. In the interview, Nani gave some insight into what it was like growing up playing soccer in the streets of Lisbon and working his way towards playing with his dream club, Manchester United. The 33-year-old also weighed in on the state of MLS and how his current goal as a Lion was getting the club to the playoffs so that it has a chance at the MLS Cup.

Amanda Duffy is Ready for Pride Business

Although she still has a few weeks left as National Women’s Soccer League CEO, Amanda Duffy can’t wait to become the Orlando Pride’s new vice president and help the club. After a 2019 that created tons of momentum for the league and with the Olympics expected to give a similar boost this summer, Duffy will join the Pride at just the right time to not only increase attendance but improve the city’s soccer scene as a whole. While she has been too busy to make any concrete plans, she does have a vision for what the Pride must do moving forward.

“I think over time, everything with the Pride needs to elevate,” Duffy said. “That’s on the field and off the field field. As I spend more time with everyone here, and once I come later in February, permanently … it’ll all be focused on elevating the Pride’s relevance and to be that internal leadership voice now that can help guide and lead the direction of it all.”

SeaWolves On the Hunt at Home

After a disappointing road trip, the Orlando SeaWolves return home for a game tonight against the St. Louis Ambush at 7:35 p.m. Not only will tonight’s match be the SeaWolves’ first home game of 2020, but it will also be Head Coach Tom Traxler’s first since rejoining the team. Traxler is excited to give fans a thrilling match and show improvement after the team’s 16-3 loss last week. All of the Ambush’s five wins this season were by just one goal and three of them went into overtime, so the SeaWolves may have a chance to keep the game close and come away victorious.

Free Kicks
  • The former baseball field over at the new training center completed its face lift and is ready for soccer.
  • After it was teased earlier this week, make sure to check out the Budweiser ad that features Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, and so many more American heroes and role models.
  • Former Lion Antonio Nocerino retired, hanging up his cleats at age 34 after over a decade playing. Orlando City congratulated him on his career and possibly hinted that he may be in the club’s future plans in some capacity.

That’s going to do it from me today, folks. I hope each and every one of you have an awesome Friday and a great weekend!