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Lion Links: 10/2/20

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Orlando City prepares for the New York Red Bulls, new moniker jerseys revealed, Ali Krieger enjoying the booth, and more.

Orlando Pride v North Carolina Courage Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope October is going well so far for you as this year drones on. My hobbies have been carrying me along in 2020 for the most part and hopefully the pace picks up once the holiday season swings into full gear. But for now, we have more Orlando City soccer to look forward to tomorrow and some links from around the soccer world to get your Friday started.

Orlando City Will Host New Faces

Tomorrow at 4:30, the Lions will welcome the New York Red Bulls to Exploria Stadium for the first meeting between the two Eastern Conference teams this season. The Lions are carrying an eight-game unbeaten streak into the game, but the Red Bulls are also in good form with back-to-back 4-1 wins. Since Chris Armas left as head coach, the Red Bulls have come alive, scoring more goals in the past four games than the rest of the season. It all sets up for an exciting match tomorrow afternoon with both teams jockeying for position in the MLS playoff picture.

Speaking of which, the Lions are not only in a great spot to make the playoffs, but are in the hunt for the Supporters’ Shield as well. Orlando has 26 points in 14 games and sits only four points away from the first-place Columbus Crew. It’s weird seeing Orlando as one of the top teams in the league, but with every win the surrealism fades a bit and we get to see the Lions become more and more like true contenders for the top spot in MLS.

Lions Dealing With Life During Pandemic

MLS postponed a match between the Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers tomorrow after two more Rapids players and an additional staff member tested positive for the coronavirus. The pandemic is definitely still ongoing and Orlando City players are keeping up practices followed when in the bubble for the MLS is Back Tournament. Between video games and working towards college degrees, the Lions are staying busy during isolation. It does put a strain on players like Mauricio Pereyra though, whose family is in Uruguay during all of this.

With increased protocols for medical clearance during these times, Orlando is still waiting for striker Matheus Aiás to start training with the team. The team is also waiting to see if goalkeeper Pedro Gallese’s call-up to the Peruvian National Team will happen. Regardless, Head Coach Oscar Pareja has faith in backup Brian Rowe in goal.

Limited Edition Moniker Jerseys Unveiled

Orlando City showed off six new jerseys for fans to purchase, with each sporting a nickname on the back of an Orlando player. But that’s not all, there are also unique designs on the sleeves and back to add some swagger to the kit. My favorite is probably a tie between Chris Mueller’s with the money raining down on the back and Nani’s, which has the name flipped upside-down to reflect his goal celebration. Which is your favorite? Are there any other players you’d like to see get their own custom jerseys? Let me know in the comments below.

Ali Krieger Enjoying the Broadcast Booth

On top of playing for the Orlando Pride in the NWSL Fall Series, defender Ali Krieger is also spending time as an analyst with the Lions. It’s been a tough year for Krieger and the Pride during this pandemic, but she’s using this time to gain valuable experience for both on the field and off it once she retires.

“It’s actually been really fun,” Krieger said. “I’ve taken on this role because it’s actually been enjoyable to do something else through this really difficult time. It’s taken my mind off of all the tough things that have been going on, and I can just go and feel free and talk soccer.”

She’s gearing up for coverage tomorrow as a sideline reporter and you can check out her preview for the game against the Red Bulls.

San Diego Loyal Leave Match After Slur

In the USL Championship, the San Diego Loyal walked off the field after openly gay player Collin Martin was allegedly called a homophobic slur by a player on Phoenix Rising FC. Despite leading at the half and playing to make the postseason, the San Diego Loyal forfeited the match with Head Coach Landon Donovan fully explaining the decision.

The league is investigating the incident and league-wide mandatory training will happen to educate about abusive language and open a discussion about diversity. All of this comes a week after a Loyal player was racially abused by an LA Galaxy II player who has since been released from the team.

Free Kicks
  • Dom Dwyer’s recovery seems to be coming along nicely, with Sydney Leroux catching him working out that knee on a bike.

That will do it for today, Mane Landers. Stay safe out there and have a fantastic Friday!