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Lion Links: 2/19/20

Orlando City wins preseason friendly, João Moutinho determined to be healthy, Pride players called up, and more.

KR Reykjavik at Orlando City Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Good morning, Mane Landers. I hope this Wednesday finds everyone well. Let’s all take a moment to wish Orlando Pride’s Marta and Toni Pressley a happy birthday! With that, let’s jump into the links.

Orlando City wins 3-1 over KR Reykjavik

In last night’s preseason friendly against KR Reykjavik the Lions came out on top as Nani’s first-half brace and Benji Michel’s first-half goal helped lead the team to a 3-1 victory over the Icelandic visitors. Oscar Pareja described the match as “a lot of opportunities to keep growing under competition.”

“Every single (game) just exposes something different manners and we’re happy with what we have achieved so far,” he said. “The purpose is to keep growing and jelling together the group, trying to get the most out of the friendly games, the minutes; exposing the whole roster; giving minutes to everyone; recognizing what we’re doing good and also what are the things we need to get better; get some material on video so we can work during the week to prepare for the next rivals — so a lot of things to work. We’re going in a good direction.”

João Moutinho Determined to Overcome Setbacks

Supporters were able to see bits and pieces of what João Moutinho is capable of last season, but most of his time in Orlando has been riddled with injuries, including a hamstring injury, followed by a quad injury and later a calf injury. The left back is determined to overcome those injuries and hopes for a healthy season.

“Obviously, it’s something that no athlete wants to go through,” Moutinho said. “Unfortunately, it happened to me last year… I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t [affect] my confidence, but you gotta push through it. There are no guaranteed spots on this team,” Moutinho said. “You have to prove yourself every day and I think that’s a good thing. I’m thinking game by game, to be honest, because you have to keep proving yourself to the coaches and to the team.”

Moutinho was a key part of last night’s win, assisting on the opening goal and firing in dangerous crosses all night.

Pride Players Called Up

Orlando Pride’s Marta has been called up to play for the Brazilian Women’s National Team for the Olympic year as 23 athletes were called to the International Tournament of France which will be held between March 2 and March 11. The CBF has confirmed that Brazil will play four friendlies before the Olympic Games, including duels with Costa Rica and The U.S.

Meanwhile, Westfield Matildas Head Coach Ante Milicic will put his trust in the same 20 players that topped Group B of Tokyo 2020 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Qualification to include Orlando Pride’s Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond.

FC Cincinnati’s Head Coach Resigns amid Investigation

FC Cincinnati has officially announced that Head Coach Ron Jans has resigned from him position following an investigation into a complaint made by the MLS Players Association accusing Jans of making inappropriate comments.

“As Major League Soccer’s investigation unfolded and some themes emerged, Ron offered his resignation and we agreed that it was the best course of action for everyone involved with FC Cincinnati,” club president Jeff Berding said in a statement. “We place the utmost importance on a strong culture within our club, beginning in our locker room, and that every person connected with FC Cincinnati feels valued, respected and trusted. Racial and cultural diversity is a major part of what makes the game of soccer so special, and we place the highest priority on respecting every person involved in our game. This includes absolutely everyone associated with our club, from our locker room and front office, all the way through to our fans,” Berding said.

The MLS Players Association released an official statement on the matter. The statement suggests that supporters and readers have been fed a false narrative regarding the situation.

“At the same time, we have been incredibly disappointed by the attempts to manipulate the public conversation over the last few days with false narratives and strategic leaks to the press. For example, the narrative that the conduct here involved singing along to song lyrics is completely false, despite the former coach’s recent assertions. Also false is the narrative that a complaint was filed by any particular player or players. These intentional falsehoods have added to the toxicity of the atmosphere and encouraged further, deplorable abuse of players. They were clear attempts to manipulate the truth and intimidate those who call out unacceptable behavior,” the statement reads.

Free Kicks

That’ll do it for me today, Mane Landers! Enjoy the rest of your week and stay safe.