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Lion Links: 4/5/20

Keeping the Pride in shape, Jo Boyles’ most memorable NWSL moment, the stories behind the first MLS game, and more.

Chicago Red Stars v Orlando Pride Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

Happy Sunday, everyone. If you’re like me, you’ve barely seen the outside of your home in recent weeks. I’m doing what I can to do my part to keep that curve as flat as possible. It’s OK if you want to think of me as an inaction hero, or American idle.

It seems every piece of actual soccer news has to do with COVID-19 in some way, and so it is with much of today’s serving of Lion Links.

NWSL Extends Training Moratorium

Just a couple of days ago the USL extended its moratorium on team training to April 19 and MLS did the same through April 24. The NWSL has followed suit but has pushed its new deadline all the way to May. 5. That means the earliest the Orlando Pride can start training for the 2020 season — if there is one — is Cinco de Mayo. What a celebration that will be if we’re allowed to roam the earth freely again by then. Speaking of the Pride, they are all over today’s Lion Links.

Pride Conditioning Coach Trains Her Neighbors

With her players on lockdown during this pandemic, Orlando Pride Strength and Conditioning Coach Ivi Casagrande is running her neighbors through plyometrics workouts — from a safe distance, of course — several days a week. That doesn’t mean she’s ignoring Pride players’ workouts.

Casagrande fitted each Pride player with a GPS vest during the first week of the training moratorium. She tracks players’ activity on a weekly basis, using the data to monitor cardiovascular workouts.

These workouts emphasize high quantities of acceleration through a combination of plyometrics, jumps and sprints. For Pride players, Casagrande classifies a sprint as any running period during which the player is moving faster than 19 kilometers per hour — a five-minute mile pace.

Casagrande is remotely helping her players stay as fit as possible so that they’ll have a decent base line of fitness when training starts back up again.

Boyles Reflects on Special Game

Recently retired Jo Boyles was first up in a new Orlando Pride video series called Flying Through the Years, discussing a match against the Houston Days in which she scored her only NWSL goal. Now that she’s retired, Boyles was OK with giving away her approach to free kick taking. Check it out here:

The Story of the First MLS Match

Where were you when the first MLS match kicked off? Were you watching the fledgling league take off? Charles Boehm over at provided some of the stories that served as the backdrop for that first ever league match between D.C. United and the San Jose Clash. Give it a read. The league has come a long way.

Free Kicks
  • Junior Urso is doing what he can to stay in shape during this hiatus.
  • It was another tough night for Abe, who has lost some high profile matches in recent weeks while representing Orlando City. He lost 4-1 to Mehdibob of Montreal, falling 4-3 on aggregate, scoring a goal with Urso. Here’s his match-up:
  • Burnley officials say the EPL club could face an impact of £50 million in losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. Others suggest that total could go as high as £100 million.
  • In the wake of declaring its domestic season over and naming a champion, Belgium will now have to convince UEFA not to exclude that nation’s teams from its European competitions.
  • Those born on this date include Booker T. Washington (1856), Spencer Tracy (1900), Bette Davis (1908), Gregory Peck (1916), ABBA vocalist Agnetha Fältskog (1950), X-Files actor Mitch Pileggi (1952), wrestler Diamond Dallas Page (1956), Pharrell Williams (1973), Marvel Cinematic Universe actress Hayley Atwell (1982), and Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara (1986).

That’s all my time for today. Stay safe. Stay home. Stay inside (or at least stay away from others). I just finished Ozark Season 3 so I’ve moved on to the second season of Altered Carbon as my go-to binge.