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Lion Links: 7/4/20

Orlando City favored over Inter Miami, Lions enjoying free time, NWSL Challenge Cup preview, and more.

SOCCER: FEB 18 MLS Preseason - KR Reykjavik v Orlando City SC Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Fourth of July, Mane Landers. I hope you all are staying safe and healthy this holiday weekend. If you plan to have a small get-together with fireworks, please be careful and make sure to look out for each other. I unfortunately will be busy working over the holiday weekend at Disney Springs, but will make an effort to grab a burger, hot dog, or maybe both. Now, let’s get to the links!

Orlando City Favored By Fans

We are only a few days away from Orlando City kicking off the tournament against Inter Miami CF on July 8. Orlando City is the slight favorite in the match according to fans and the win could be crucial for the Lions. On the other side of the ball, Miami midfielder Wil Trapp talked about what he expects to see from the Lions in the first meeting between the two clubs.

“I think they’re a team that with the ball is fairly direct,” Trapp said. “At first sight for the most part, it’s more of a direct style of play when they get pressed so it would be a little against their nature I think to try to just dominate possession based on what we’ve seen. But they’ve also had three or four months to change maybe their identity since the games they’ve played. For us, we’re always going to try to be on the ball.”

Lions Enjoying Free Time

Daryl Dike gave us a sneak peek inside the bubble at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. I have to say, this is a pretty cool player lounge with a ping-pong table and plenty of games to keep that competitive spirit burning.

That’s not all the Lions have to entertain themselves though. The players have a resort pool on hand to not only beat the heat, but also each other in some volleyball.

MLS Teams Delay Trips to Orlando

With teams waiting for test results for the coronavirus, the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC postponed their flights for Orlando for another day. Concerns continue about the tournament and the schedule may change considering FC Dallas plays on July 9 and has 10 players and staff members who tested positive.

Sixteen teams are in Orlando as teams begin health and safety protocols before the tournament begins. Nashville SC was finally able to make it to Orlando after being stuck on the bus for an hour and a half and unable to fly a couple days ago.

NWSL Challenge Cup Action Continues

There are two NWSL Challenge Cup matches today as teams in the middle of the standings look to make a move to the top. Our first game today is at 12:30 p.m. and features Sky Blue FC against Utah Royals FC. A player to watch for in the match is Royals rookie midfielder Tziarra King, who scored in her debut.

The second game will see the Houston Dash take on OL Reign at 10 p.m. The Dash scored three goals in a draw with the Royals in their first match, but may have a tougher time against the Reign’s defense.

Although the Orlando Pride aren’t participating, they may still be having an impact on matches. For each game, fans choose a team for the club to support, but the chosen teams seemed to be cursed instead. We’ll see if the trend continues as the Pride will support the Royals and Dash today.

Free Kicks

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your holiday weekend, take care of yourselves, and I’ll see you next time.