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Lion Links: 5/22/20

More MLS tournament details, Orlando City Classic preview, Marisa Viggiano’s training, and more.

SOCCER: OCT 05 NWSL - Washington Spirit at Orlando Pride Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? It’s finally Friday and the Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner. I hope the week has gone well for you so far, and if not then hopefully this weekend can give some needed rest and relaxation.

Before we jump into today’s links, let’s wish Orlando Pride midfielder Kristen Edmonds a happy birthday today!

Details Emerge for MLS Tournament in Orlando

There have been plenty of reports regarding the return of MLS soccer in the form of a tournament featuring all 26 teams playing in Orlando at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Although nothing is official quite yet, there are updates on what is being proposed. The 26 teams would be split into four groups, each with a seeded team that does not take place in the random draw. The Seattle Sounders, LAFC, Atlanta United and Orlando City will be the four seeded teams, with Orlando landing on the list for serving as hosts.

The teams will play five games each against conference opponents, with the top two teams in each group advancing to a knockout round. These games would count towards the regular season, although how the MLS schedule will be affected is not clear at this stage. The article from The Athletic ($) also mentioned Nani having reservations about the idea, but Orlando City clarified things through Twitter with a quote from the star midfielder.

Orlando City Classic Preview

Tomorrow’s Orlando City Classic will feature Orlando’s 4-1 victory over the Portland Timbers in 2016 at home. Seb Hines, Brek Shea, Kaká, and Kevin Molino all scored in the match, but Joe Bendik’s huge save on a penalty kick in front of the home crowd was probably the most memorable moment. Miguel Gallardo and company get you all set to enjoy the match and relive one of Orlando’s best performances since joining MLS.

Marisa Viggiano Adjusting to Training

While the Orlando Pride await the green light to return to play from the National Women’s Soccer League, the players continue to train and prepare. Pride midfielder Marisa Viggiano discussed what it has been like adjusting to training alone. The key thing Viggiano is working on during her reps is awareness, which can be difficult without training alongside teammates. Regardless, she is keeping her head up while training to make sure she is ready to roll when the season gets started. She also makes a killer banana bread.

The Making of a Tifo

As part of the club’s effort to give credit to the important artists and creators in the community who support Orlando City, Miguel Gallardo spoke with the minds behind some of the greatest tifos in club history. A tifo is a great way to visualize a message from fan to club and can be a memorable part of the game-day experience.

FC Cincinnati Hires New Coach...Again

Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam is FC Cincinnati’s new head coach, filling the vacancy left by Ron Jans’ departure this preseason. A Dutch native, Stam has played with PSV Eindhoven, Lazio, Milan and Ajax over the years and recently coached at Feyenoord until his resignation this past October. The 47-year-old will now try to right the ship of a team that finished last in the league in its debut season last year.

In a bit of an embarrassing moment, FC Cincinnati’s social team created a welcome graphic for Stam — only the photo used wasn’t of Stam. This led to quite a bit of fun on soccer Twitter yesterday. The problem apparently stemmed from a similar-looking coach being misidentified by the wire service that provided the photo. Both Stam and the coach pictured — Tinus van Teunenbroek — are bald white guys, and the internet ran with it.

Free Kicks
  • The Lions remain hard at work, training and preparing for MLS matches when they return.

I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and an even better Memorial Day weekend. I personally have a lot of work ahead of me, but I also pretty much perfected a tequila and lime chicken taco recipe I’ve been tinkering with for a few weeks now. So at least I’ll have something to look forward to.