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Lion Links: 10/16/20

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Orlando City reportedly nearing a sale, Brian Rowe makes Team of the Week, Orlando Pride set to return to Exploria Stadium, and more.

SOCCER: OCT 14 MLS - New York City FC at Orlando City SC Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? We’re at the halfway point in October and still riding high as Orlando City’s unbeaten streak continues. It’s been a pretty nice month so far on my end, albeit a busy one thanks to work. Still, I don’t have too much to complain about.

Today also marks the six-year anniversary of the groundbreaking at what is now Exploria Stadium. Supporters may not have been able to visit the stadium for most of the season, but we can all take pride in having a soccer-specific stadium to call our own. Now, let’s get to today’s links.

Orlando City Reportedly Nearing Sale

According to the Sports Business Journal, multiples sources reported that OCSC owner Flávio Augusto da Silva is approaching the final stages of selling the club to an unknown buyer. The reports come at an interesting time as Orlando nears its first playoff appearance in Major League Soccer, but apparently the club has been on the market since 2018. It will also be interesting to see if the Orlando Pride, Orlando City B, or Exploria Stadium will be part of the sale.

Only time will tell if the sale comes to completion, but the change could disrupt the team’s momentum now or give it more firepower if the new owner invests more resources in the club. Regardless, The Mane Land will keep an eye out for any updates so make sure to check back for the latest Orlando soccer news.

Brian Rowe Makes MLS Team of the Week

With goalkeeper Pedro Gallese on international duty, Rowe has stepped up in a big way for the Lions and earned the starting spot on the MLS Team of the Week. With a whopping seven saves, Rowe only allowed one goal and kept Orlando’s streak intact during a challenging second half. He may have lost the Player of the Week vote but he was also featured in a video showcasing the best saves from Wednesday night’s action.

Rowe wasn’t the only Lion to earn some recognition as right back Ruan made the Team of the Week bench after an impressive return and that insane assist. It’s definitely nice to have Ruan back and even better once more Lions return to action.

Orlando Nabs an International Roster Slot

The Lions shipped $50,000 in General Allocation Money to the Montreal Impact in exchange for a needed international roster slot. That slot will likely be used for Ecuadorian winger Alexander Alvarado, who will join the Lions on loan with an option to buy at the end of the season. It stings a little considering the Lions only have six games left this regular season and Alvarado still has to get through quarantine before even training with the team. However, the added versatility and depth the 21-year-old brings to the offense should come in handy during the postseason.

Orlando Pride Returning to Exploria Stadium

Tomorrow, the Pride will take on the North Carolina Courage in the last match of the NWSL Fall Series. It will be the Pride’s first match in Exploria Stadium this year. The last time the Pride played in the stadium was for the club’s Breast Cancer Awareness match on Oct. 12, 2019. Tomorrow’s match will also bring awareness to breast cancer, with the Pride raffling off the warm-up tops worn before the match.

Goalkeeper Brittany Wilson, who was brought on as a preseason trialist back in March, had her NWSL debut with the Pride last weekend against the Houston Dash and won NWSL Save of the Week for her leaping save.

With the Fall Series finishing up, attention will start to turn towards the off-season and the NWSL announced the timeline for the upcoming expansion draft. Racing Louisville Football Club will join the league next year and get to build part of its roster through the expansion draft on Nov. 12. Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner will need to have his list of protected players in by Nov. 4 and that list becomes public the next day.

Free Kicks
  • Yesterday marked three years since Kaká played his final match with Orlando City. Break out your tissues and relive the moment.
  • Orlando’s last win was a 3-1 victory on Oct. 3 against the New York Red Bulls. Since then, 17-year-old Caden Clark has scored in his first two MLS appearances to energize the Red Bulls. It all makes for an exciting clash worth watching this Sunday.
  • United States Men’s National Team defender Sergino Dest made the list of finalists for the 2020 Golden Boy Award. The shortlist of the top 20 players under 21 playing in Europe also includes Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies and Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo broke health protocols according to Italy’s Sports Minister. The soccer icon took a private jet from Portugal to his home in Italy to finish his quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus.

That’s going to be it from me, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a great Friday and enjoy the rest of your weekend.