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Lion Links: 6/30/20

Benji Michel is looking forward to the Miami match, an MLS is Back preview, a new anthem policy for the NWSL, and more.

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

Happy Tuesday, everybody. We’re just over a week away from the start of the MLS is Back Tournament and I truly couldn’t be happier to have Orlando City soccer back in my life soon. As usual there’s a lot to discuss this morning, so let’s get right into it.

Orlando Looking to Make Florida Purple

A big part of the intrigue for Orlando City in the upcoming MLS is Back Tournament has to do with the team’s first game. The Lions will face off against Inter Miami CF in the tournament opener, and Benji Michel is eager for OCSC to stake its claim as the dominant soccer power in Florida. Given that the 22-year-old was born in Orlando and is one of the team’s four Homegrown Players, the match-ups with Miami in the coming years will mean a little more to him than teammates who don’t have roots in the area. Aside from the Miami game though, Michel is also looking forward to finally getting back on the field after a three-month layoff and is excited for the team to try to make its mark on the tournament.

MLS is Back Preview

With the MLS is Back Tournament just eight days away, the folks over at MLSsoccer.com have you covered with a tournament preview for each of the league’s 26 teams. For Orlando City’s part, the belief is that a win in the team’s first game will be key to generating momentum and riding it as far as the team can. Atlanta United and LAFC have been pegged as two of the favorites to win the tournament. The Philadelphia Union have been identified as one of the favorites to advance out of Group A, (Orlando’s group) with a young roster that could be well-suited to the tournament format. As always, the Seattle Sounders are also expected to do well, and simply advancing out of a seemingly straightforward Group B, shouldn’t be enough to sate Seattle fans.

Orlando Pride Fans Create Website

An Orlando Pride fan has started a website as a tribute to the players from her favorite team. The fan, named Andrea, says she thinks it’s “awful” that the players were unable to participate in the NWSL Challenge Cup, so she started the website as a way to show her support for them. The website is a sort of journal where fans can post messages to the players and show their appreciation and support. It hasn’t gone unnoticed either, with multiple players and members of the Pride staff taking to social media to show their gratitude at the love they’ve been getting from fans.

NWSL Revises Anthem Policy

The National Women’s Soccer League has revised its policy regarding the national anthem during the NWSL Challenge Cup. With the new changes to the policy, players will be allowed to remain in the locker room during the anthem should they so wish. Several players from varying teams took a knee during the national anthem Saturday, and while the league will continue to play the anthem before games, NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird said that the league wants to provide players with more flexibility.

Free Kicks
  • The captain enjoyed a day off.

That’ll be all for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.