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Lion Links: 3/8/20

The Lions lose to the Rapids, the SeaWolves can’t handle the Wave, how Nani reached the his peak, and much more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. Let’s begin by wishing the Orlando Pride’s Claire Emslie a special happy birthday! The Scottish phenom turns 26 years old today! She’s been in great form for her nation and she’s just now entering her prime, hopefully she brings her best to the Pride this season and helps the club return to form. We’re lucky to have you, Claire!

All right, on to today’s serving of Links. Enjoy!

Lions Fall Late to the Rapids

Following a draw against Real Salt Lake that the Lions could have easily won, the boys in purple traveled to Colorado to take on the Rapids last night. Despite the lads rocking the new Heart and Sol kit, it was hard for me to feel optimistic going into this one with the lineup that Oscar Pareja chose. The match was a back and forth affair, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Lions’ performance. I actually called the Chris Mueller sub and goal at halftime (ask our staff...), so his “super sub” label seems to be sticking around. It is what it is.

In the end, the Lions walked away with zero points and a 2-1 heartbreaking loss — yet the supporters, as well as myself, likely still feel like it was City’s match to win. What’s continuing to be painfully obvious is that the Lions are missing their offensive weapons. I sure hope this is remedied soon. Michael Citro has your match recap.

And check back later today when the bearded guy drops his five takeaways.

SeaWolves Drown in the Wave

The Orlando SeaWolves...well, they’ve endured a horrid season. Yesterday’s match, coupled with today’s rematch against the Wave, marks the final road trip that the SeaWolves will make this season. I’m sure the Orlando-based MASL club is more than ready to put this season behind it though, as a record of 1-18 — they lost this one 11-3 — has plagued the team and resulted in poor morale and chemistry. The Wave, to their credit, have been having a strong season and moved to 13-6 following yesterday’s drubbing of the SeaWolves. Today’s match should bring more of the same, but who knows, maybe the SeaWolves will ride the Wave into a second win...man, even the bad dad jokes won’t even cleanse the bad taste from my mouth when it comes to this season.

Cheers are in order for Piotr Sliwa, at the very least, as the man in goal is set to retire. Thanks for all of your hard work, Piotr. You will be missed.

How Nani Reached the Top

Having now officially served his two-match suspension, Lions captain Nani is raring to go, ready to return to the pitch, don the famous purple kit, and make an immediate impact. While the Portuguese legend will likely make an instant difference on the field, many may not know that the winger was not an instant success as a player.

The winger’s ascension to the top is, at this point, well documented, but I have to be honest; I had no idea just how much others around him wanted him to succeed, and how far they went to see just that. Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably one of the greatest players of all time (and most certainly one of the most divisive), even let Nani live with him at his home in Manchester following his move to Manchester United, providing the Portuguese up-and-comer with a comfortable place to grow while adapting to one of the most competitive leagues in the world. The Lions are lucky to have Nani and personally, I can’t wait to see the icon return to the pitch for the Lions.

SheBelieves Cup: Today’s Fixtures

The U.S. Women’s National Team opened the SheBelieves Cup tournament with a 2-0 win against a strong England side, and today face off against the Spanish national team. Meanwhile, the English women will play against Japan. Christen Press and Carli Lloyd both found the back of the net against England, and Spain should be an easier opponent (knock on wood), but don’t expect a rout from the women donning the Stars & Stripes. The Spanish are a rising side in women’s soccer and have played the USWNT close in their two previous meetings.

England should put away Japan, but I’ve come to realize over the years that you can never count out the Nadeshiko Japan, even though the USWNT beat them in convincing fashion in the 2015 World Cup, 5-2.

Free Kicks
  • Wait...you too, Josh Sargent! Take a bow! Americans abroad have been lighting it up as of late, particularly in the German Bundesliga. I love it!
  • Former Lion Dillon Powers is finding success at Dundee United, but sheesh, their social media manager produces some borderline cringe-worthy content. Regardless, Powers was the lone scorer in his club’s 1-1 draw with Partick Thistle yesterday in the top tier Scottish league.
  • Inter Miami scored the club’s first goal yesterday, and it came from Rodolfo Pizzaro, their marquee signing in their maiden voyage into MLS play. That’s cool, I guess.
  • Here’s a lesson for everyone: don’t speak poorly of your boss. AC Milan chief football executive, or former executive that is, Zvonimir Boban was fired following a “rogue interview” in which he criticized his club’s owner and CEO. Not a smart move, Boban. Not a smart move.
  • Since we mentioned Cristiano earlier in this serving of Links, why not end with his inevitable counterpart, the one who he’ll be forever compared to? Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest player to ever grace a pitch on this planet, scored five times in a Champions League match eight years ago yesterday. Sorry for the reminder, Bayer Leverkusen supporters.

Before I make my leave, I have to show you how awesome this young point guard makes his entrances, courtesy of his amazing father. I can’t express to you folks how much I love this, and how many times I watched it, with a happy tear forming in my eye.

Okay, now that I’ve left you just a tad emotional (if that doesn’t lift your spirits, you might be a monster), that’s all I’ve got for you, Mane Landers. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend (make sure your clocks are appropriately reset), and then have an excellent week!