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Lion Links: 9/4/20

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Orlando City shifts focus to Atlanta United, Orlando Pride schedule released, Orlando City B earns a point, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Nashville SC Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

How’s it going, Mane Landers? The Labor Day weekend is right around the corner and there’s more Orlando City soccer in store when the team takes on Atlanta United at home tomorrow. But before we dive into that and today’s links, let’s wish a happy birthday to Orlando City Youth Soccer Technical Director Paul Shaw!

Orlando City Turns Attention to Atlanta United

After a 1-1 draw with Nashville SC on the road this Wednesday, Orlando City comes home to host Atlanta United at Exploria Stadium tomorrow night at 8 p.m. This match comes just a week after the Lions earned their first win over Atlanta, but Head Coach Oscar Pareja isn’t letting that huge victory get in the way of preparing the team for a rematch.

“The win over Atlanta was great and massive for us, to win our first game against them in the history of our club,” Pareja told reporters during a virtual press conference on Thursday. “But they didn’t give us six points, they gave us three points. We just have to have our feet on the ground, understanding we can beat any team in the league but any team can beat us. That’s the nature of this sport.”

Although it’s only been a week since Orlando’s win, there are some changes for both sides. Atlanta’s Pity Martinez won’t feature in this one due to his impending sale to Al-Nassr FC in Saudi Arabia. As for Orlando, left back João Moutinho’s injury may keep him out longer than expected, with Canadian Kamal Miller presumably filling in.

Benji Michel Nominated for MLS Goal of the Week

It took a few games, but Orlando forward Benji Michel scored his first goal of the 2020 MLS regular season in that draw with Nashville and his strike was good enough to be nominated for MLS Goal of the Week.

There were a whopping 26 goals across the league Wednesday night and Michel’s definitely ranks near the top. His strike was sublime, but you have to appreciate that tenacity beating Nashville to the ball to set up the chance. Plenty was learned from Orlando’s draw, but Michel’s evolving role with the Lions is one to keep an eye on.

Orlando Pride Fall Series Schedule Revealed

Although many Orlando Pride players are spending 2020 in Europe, there are still games to be played in the National Women’s Soccer League. The NWSL Fall Series schedule is out and the Orlando Pride’s first game is set for Sept. 19 on the road against North Carolina FC. That game will be broadcast on CBS, while the team’s second match on Sept. 26 against the Houston Dash will be streamed on Twitch.

The Pride’s first home game will be at Osceola Heritage Park on Oct. 9 against the Dash before closing out the series in Exploria Stadium against the Courage. The club announced that fans won’t be permitted entrance to the two Pride home matches. The opponents are difficult and the Pride’s roster is depleted, but it will be nice seeing the team in action for the first time this year.

Orlando City B Gets a Result

The Young Lions fought North Texas SC to a 1-1 draw at home. North Texas converted a penalty in the 22nd minute, but Jose Quintero scored for OCB to in the 30th minute to equalize. Orlando City Homegrown Players Mason Stajduhar and Jordan Bender both started in the match, as well as draft pick Joey DeZart. The Young Lions don’t have much time to catch their breath after as they hit the road for a match against Union Omaha on Sunday in the first of three consecutive away games.

Free Kicks
  • The Pride are hard at work training for the Fall Series.
  • We may have to wait a bit longer to find out the rest of the Lions’ schedule.

That’s going to do it for me today. I hope you all have a great Friday and a fantastic weekend. Go Lions!