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Lion Links: 9/19/20

Orlando City hosts the Chicago Fire tonight, the Orlando Pride return, Orlando City B match postponed, and more.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope everyone had a good week as we approach another Orlando City game day. Tonight, we get a break from our southeastern rivals and take on the Chicago Fire for the first time in 2020. The Orlando Pride finally get their season started today as well. We have much to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando Takes on the Fire Tonight

We get a fresh new opponent tonight as the Lions host the Chicago Fire tonight at 7:30 p.m. You can watch the match locally on My 35 Plus and out of market on ESPN+. The Fire have only won once in their last six matches since the MLS is Back Tournament and have struggled defensively. But the Lions have faltered on defense as well, with no shutouts in Phase 1 and a back line that has seen a few injuries. Orlando is also seeking consistency throughout a match, as the four conceded goals in the past four matches all came in the second half.

Offensively, six different Lions have found the back of the net for a total of 11 scored goals during Phase 1. However, the Lions haven’t scored more than once in the past three games. Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja has been tinkering with the lineup and shared his thoughts on the challenge of balancing the roster with so many games in such a short time.

“We had tried first to go with the first initial team that we had, which is trying to be consistent with the group until we have a good development of the model of the idea of the game. And I think we have accomplished that,” Pareja said. “Sometimes we want to do everything at once, have consistency, have the regular lineup, we can have a good memory of what we want [on] the field.

“At the same time, you want to rotate players and keep them healthy. And sometimes you cannot do all of them at [the same] time. You have to choose one or another.”

The Orlando Pride begin the NWSL Fall Series

The Orlando Pride begin their 2020 season today as they travel to take on the North Carolina Courage. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. and you can watch this match on CBS. This will be the first time the Pride take the field in almost a year. Their last match was on Oct. 12 against Reign FC to end the 2019 season and the club withdrew from the NWSL Challenge Cup earlier this year due to the coronavirus. The roster will look vastly different from a year ago, with a mixture of veterans and younger players. Despite having many players on loan, there will still be some familiar faces on the squad. Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger and Sydney Leroux will be available, along with six-time FIFA Player of the Year Marta. We’ll also see Toni Pressley and Kristen Edmonds return to the team. We could also see some of the club’s 2020 NWSL College Draft picks as Courtney Petersen, Konya Plummer, and Chelsee Washington could make their debuts today. The North Carolina Courage defeated the Houston Dash 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller last week.

Orlando City B Match Postponed

Orlando City B had a match scheduled today as the Young Lions were set to visit the Richmond Kickers, but the match was postponed. The decision to postpone the USL League One match was made following a positive COVID-19 test from someone in the Orlando City B organization. The league has not announced a rescheduled date just yet, but it will be determined at a later time.

Kei Kamara on the Move Again

Minnesota United will reportedly acquire MLS veteran Kei Kamara in exchange for allocation money and a draft pick from the Colorado Rapids. Kamara was in good form for the Rapids with three goals this season, but with a young rebuilding squad, the 36-year-old was deemed expendable. For Minnesota, this move could give Orlando City’s old boss, Adrian Heath, needed depth at the forward position to pair with Luis Amarilla (who is currently out due to injury) and Mason Toye. The Rapids were shopping Kamara around for awhile and he will be well rested after not playing the past two matches. This will be Kamara’s eighth MLS team and he is currently fifth on the all-time MLS goal-scoring list with 129 goals.

Free Kicks
  • Who’s ready for the juggle challenge? Let me know in the comments below if you feel you can do it.
  • The Orlando Pride launched an initiative to continue the conversations against racism and police brutality. Black players will wear warm-up shirts featuring the names of people who have been killed by police or due to their race while the rest of the team will wear the message, “Say their names.”

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your weekend, stay safe, and go Lions!