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Lion Links: 5/23/20

Nani’s impact on Kamal Miller, Orlando players share thoughts on training, Americans abroad, and more.

SOCCER: MAR 09 MLS - Orlando City SC at Chicago Fire Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope everyone is having a safe Memorial Day weekend. What are your plans for the holiday weekend? I will be busy catching up on schoolwork, attending a friend’s barbecue, and watching some soccer. Speaking of soccer, don’t forget to check out the Orlando City Classic tonight featuring the Lions’ big win against the Portland Timbers in 2016. Now, on to the links.

Kamal Miller Aims to Follow in Nani’s Footsteps

Orlando City and Canadian defender Kamal Miller spoke with our friends over at Waking the Red, who cover Toronto FC. Miller shared his thoughts on growing up in Canada and watching Manchester United games. He also discussed what it is like playing with Nani and he appreciates learning from the Manchester United legend.

“He (Nani) wants all of us to be winners, he tries to instill a winning mentality in our head and as he pushes towards the end of his career he’s still going strong. You look at him in training and how hard he’s pushing and he’s just a true role model to have around.”

Miller also discussed being one of the leaders for the U-23 Canadian Men’s National Team and qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games next year. Canada Head Coach John Herdman is impressed with Miller’s progress and thinks he can make it to a top flight team in Europe. I certainly would like him to stay in Orlando longer and he is clearly focused on improving in his second year with Orlando City and help push the team into the playoffs.

Sydney Leroux and Taylor Kornieck Discuss Training

Orlando Pride players continue to train at Sylvan Lake Park while waiting for National Women’s Soccer League play to return. Pride forward Sydney Leroux is happy to kick the ball around on the training pitch and get back out there, even if individually. She also discussed the bad timing with only playing a few games last season, training during the preseason — only for it to be cut short by the shutdown — and keeping herself motivated throughout it all. Pride midfielder Taylor Kornieck also weighed in on how training is going and how the team takes each day as it comes while waiting on the league to return.

Lions Adapting

Like the Pride, the Lions are getting used to individual training and making the most of their time out on the field. Defender João Moutinho is improving his crossing ability while out on the training grounds, even if the balls are headed towards mannequins instead of teammates.

Forward Santiago Patiño is taking the time to get comfortable with both feet on the ball. Both in a technical aspect and in finishing scoring chances, Patiño wants to improve during this time.

Soccer to Watch this Weekend

It will be another exciting weekend in the Bundesliga. Hopefully we’ll see another American showdown as John Brooks’ Wolfsburg takes on Giovanni Reyna’s Borussia Dortmund today at 9:30 a.m. Speaking of Reyna, he hopes to play today after recovering from his injury in warm-ups during last week’s game. Timothy Chandler’s Eintracht Frankfurt will travel to play FC Bayern Munich at 12:30 p.m. as well.

Tomorrow, we‘ll see if Weston McKennie and Schalke 04 bounce back against FC Augsburg. Meanwhile, Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig look to keep up the pace in the standings as they travel to play Mainz 05.

Yuka Momiki signs with OL Reign

In major NWSL news, the OL Reign announced the signing of Japanese forward Yuka Momiki to the club. Momiki joins from Nippon TV Beleza in Japan’s Nadeshiko League. She led the club to five Nadeshiko league titles, four Empress Cups, and the 2019 AFC Champions League. OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore has high hopes for the 24-year-old and she won’t require an international slot either.

“Yuka is a young, dynamic player with tremendous potential that we believe will play an important role in our club this season and far into the future”.

Free Kicks
  • The Orlando Pride’s Erin Greening will join Duda Pavao on Instagram today at 2 p.m.
  • Can you guess the starting XI for tonight’s Orlando City Classic against Portland? I’ll make sure to give you a shout out if you get them right.
  • Ates Diouf, who played with Orlando City B last season and signed with the Austin Bold this April, earned an award for his performance with the Soccer Institute at Montverde Academy.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Stay safe this weekend and I’ll see you next time.