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Lion Links: 2/13/20

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Orlando City beats Tampa Bay, Ali Riley credits Marta for her return to the U.S., van Egmond dubbed “puppet master,” and more.

Olympics Day 1 - Women’s Football - New Zealand v Brazil Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Good morning, Mane Landers! I hope this Thursday morning finds you all well. Let’s jump right into the links.

Orlando City Wins Preseason I-4 Derby Match

With last night’s friendly being closed door — aside from the first 15 minutes, which were open to the media — there is little news to share about it, but we do know that Orlando City came from a goal down to beat Tampa Bay 2-1 to remain unbeaten in preseason. Jordan Bender and Junior Urso scored the goals for the Lions and all three goals in the game were scored in the second half. Here’s what Orlando’s starting lineup looked like:

The Lions will face D.C. United Saturday over at the University of South Florida in another closed-door scrimmage before welcoming KR Reykjavík for the second (and final) preseason match open to the general public next Tuesday.

Ali Riley Credits Passionate Pride Players for Decision

Ali Riley called the Women’s Professional Soccer league home for the first two years of her professional career before it folded in 2012. After the traumatizing end to the WPS, Riley said she couldn’t see herself coming back. So why make the comeback to the team that finished at the bottom of the table? Marta. The pair have been long-time friends and former teammates.

“Playing together, I saw it all — how hard she works, the music, the dancing, the laughing,” Riley said about Marta. “… For us to go [to Sweden] and grow as players and build careers there, and to kind of do that together, I think was really cool. And winning championships also has a good way of solidifying relationships.”

So after years of “bugging” her to make the move, sharing how much she loved her life and team here in Orlando, and seeing Marta herself re-sign, Riley was interested.

Emily van Egmond Continues to Make Headlines

The midfielder has been dubbed the “puppet master” in a recent article about her ability to roam freely in the No. 10 position to help lead the Matildas to the dominating win over Thailand on Monday, and could have been the difference in Australia’s World Cup campaign.

“She’s a [No] 10 and we’re trying everything we can to keep her there,” Head Coach Ante Milicic said after Australia’s 6-0 defeat of Thailand on Monday. “She’s got goals in her game, she’s got assists, she’s intelligent, she’s very brave with her passing but also with her positioning and she understands the situation. She’s a footballer. She’s been patient since I’ve been in charge and I think she feels more comfortable as a 10. Hopefully we can keep progressing with that.”

Speaking of van Egmond’s work for her national team, the Matildas will have a chance to play the USWNT as the Football Federation Australia announced home and away matches over the next two years.

SeaWolves Sign Two New Players

The Orlando SeaWolves have signed veteran midfielder Armando Tello and former SeaWolves defender Mike Semedo for the rest of the 2019-2020 MASL season.

“Tello will be a great addition to our squad,” Head Coach Tom Traxler said, “He is a very experienced and clever indoor player who will add strength and toughness to our team. I think Mike brings a physicality. He spent some time at Baltimore, he understands the game. We had him for a short time last year and he was great at training. Happy to have him back.”

Women’s Footballer of the Year Nominees

The USWNT’s Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz are two names on the five-player shortlist for the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year award. England’s Lucy Bronze, Australia’s Sam Kerr, Netherlands’ Vivianne Miedema, join the pair on the list.

“I feel like in so many ways I’m representing what the whole team is standing for, every team in the World Cup, it felt like we were all on the same team fighting for something bigger,” Rapinoe said in the BBC statement. “We were able to transcend sport in such an incredible way… so to be a mouthpiece and driving it forward is amazing.”

While we’re on the subject, the United States National Soccer Team Players Association (a.k.a. the USMNT’s union) put out a statement of strong support for the USWNT as the U.S. women continue to fight for fair pay.

“What we believe should happen is simple. Pay the women significantly more than our recently expired men’s deal. In our estimation, the women were due at least triple what our expired deal was worth in player compensation. We believe the Federation should have agreed to a deal directly tied to a fair share of the revenue players generate. That is what should have happened, based on the entire history of labor negotiations involving the men and women players and the Federation.”

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That’ll do it for me this morning, Mane Landers! Hope you have a great rest of the week.