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Lion Links: 8/7/20

Lions top Loons to advance to final, Ali Krieger joins broadcast team, Orlando City B on the hunt, and more.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Orlando City SC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Whatever the sun and clouds are doing today, it’s a bright, shining, beautiful morning because Orlando City is in the MLS is Back final (more on that below). OCB will be looking for its first win tonight at New England, so there’s more soccer to come before we get the weekend off and head into next Tuesday’s tilt against the Portland Timbers.

Now, let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Advances to MLS is Back Final

Nani showed his quality last night in a huge game, scoring two goals and getting a hockey assist on the third as Orlando City bounced Minnesota United out of the tournament, 3-1. It was the first time the Lions tasted victory over the Loons and former OCSC coach Adrian Heath, and Minnesota United tasted defeat for the first time in 2020. Kevin Molino came off the bench to assist on a goal that got his Loons back in the game late but Benji Michel sealed it with a breakaway.

And check back later this morning for my player grades and Man of the Match and Dave Rohe’s five takeaways.

Oscar Pareja’s Journey to Orlando

Executive Vice President Luiz Muzzi and the OCSC front office were tasked with the tall order of finding a head coach that could turn the club around. They found exactly that in Pareja, Muzzi’s former colleague from FC Dallas. The two worked with Club Tijuana so that Pareja had a smooth exit from the Mexican club and then they got to work on building an identity for Orlando City. Pareja’s impact has been seen immediately in the MLS is Back Tournament, but with a new training facility and a greater focus on developing younger players, his hiring will have benefits for years to come.

Ali Krieger Will Join Orlando City Broadcasts

Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger will be a part of Orlando City’s broadcast crew for the remainder of the Lions’ season, taking over for the departing Jenny Chiu. Krieger is no stranger to the broadcast booth, providing analysis on both the United States Men’s National Team and Orlando in the past. Her involvement will work around her commitments with the Pride, but it is still unclear if the Pride will play in 2020. With a wealth of experience and knowledge from years playing at the club and national level, Krieger is a great addition to the broadcast team alongside former Orlando City goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo and Evan Weston.

Orlando City B Continues Road Trip

In its second game of the season, Orlando City B will take on New England Revolution II today at 7 p.m. in Foxborough, MA. Neither team won or scored in their inaugural match of the season, with the Young Lions falling 2-0 to South Georgia Tormenta FC and New England drawing 0-0 with Union Omaha. The Young Lions are on the hunt for their first win of the season and will lean on goalkeeper Austin Aviza, who made seven saves in last week’s loss.

Free Kicks

That’s going to be it for today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and an even greater weekend.