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Lion Links: 4/17/20

Orlando City Classic preview, Oscar Pareja’s plan, Toni Pressley’s fight, and more.

SOCCER: APR 22 NWSL - Houston Dash at Orlando Pride Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Hopefully you all are staying healthy, both physically and mentally. Times like these can take their toll, so don’t forget to take care of yourself when you can. Ben and Jerry’s has a new peanut butter half baked flavor and knowing it’s waiting for me at the end of the day is helping me get through it, as lame as that sounds. Enough about that though, let’s get to today’s links!

An Orlando City Classic

Tomorrow night’s Orlando City Classic match will definitely lift your spirits. You can relive Orlando’s dominant 6-1 win against the New England Revolution in which the Lions capitalized on an early red card and gave the home crowd something to cheer about. Yoshimar Yotún, Kaká, Dom Dwyer, Antonio Nocerino, and Seb Hines all found the back of the net in the match and you can learn more about what to expect from the preview.

Oscar Pareja’s Plan During This Crisis

While we are all waiting for sports to return, Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja wants to make sure his players are well-equipped for dealing with the crisis. To do so, he has set up a weekly series of inspirational speakers to talk with the players and help them feel grateful for what they have during these times. From a tactics standpoint, Pareja is aware that his team will lose most of the fitness given from a rigorous preseason, but he’s also focused on the smaller victories like Dwyer and Uri Rosell healing from injury and having plenty of time with his family.

Ultimately, he wants his players to hear from these speakers such as Boston Marathon bombing survivor Rebekah Gregory and take a step back and appreciate the life that their careers have given them.

“It has been phenomenal for us just to hear these stories now that we have the time, and the players have enjoyed it a lot,” Pareja said. “It has helped the group to understand how blessed we are to have the job we have and being healthy and having our family. I want to look around and recognize the value of the things that before we didn’t value that much.”

Toni Pressley Details Her Fight Against Cancer

In her own words, Toni Pressley wrote an article going into depth about her fight with cancer this past year. It’s a great read as Pressley explains her thoughts and feelings after finding out she had breast cancer on July 5 and then having to play a game for the Orlando Pride the very next night. Pressley detailed the difficulty in telling others and keeping a brave face before her double mastectomy, not knowing at the time what the future held. It’s seriously a great read that this little blurb can’t do justice to, so check it out if you can and the rest of Equalizer’s Players’ Week series where soccer players pick up the pen and write.

USL Extends Training Moratorium

All of these extensions of suspended training are expected, but still suck to read about. The United Soccer League extended its training moratorium through May 3, with Orlando City B and the rest of the United Soccer League One affected as well. Even that May 3 date feels out of reach as soccer leagues continue to monitor the situation and plan accordingly. The USL still plans on playing a full season though, with July as a possible start date for matches. While the league itself continues to work on expansion and building a development system for 2021, it will be interesting to see how the U.S. Open Cup is affected if the league doesn’t start until July.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City CEO Alex Leitao gave some insight on how Kaká joined Orlando City.
  • Pride midfielder Emily van Egmond will have a Q&A later today on Instagram so make sure to tune in if you can.
  • If you like watching two people play a video game for 20 minutes only for it to end in a scoreless draw, then you’re in for a treat thanks to Orlando City eMLS Abe Valbuena’s friendly against FC Cincinnati’s Fiddle.

That’s it for today, folks. I encourage you all to seize the day as well as you are able, although relaxing and recharging those batteries is important too. Have a great Friday!