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Lion Links: 3/15/21

Pedro Gallese’s talent is recognized, Orlando Pride preseason results, young players mature at Orlando City training camp, and more.

MLS: New York City FC at Orlando City SC Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! There’s a lot going on right now between Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. No spoilers, but WandaVision was incredible and we get the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier this Friday.

I know many people might want to gather for St. Patrick’s Day this Wednesday, but I implore you to maintain mask wearing and social distancing. Being smart right now is how we can potentially reach a full Exploria Stadium. Let’s also wish a happy birthday to Orlando midfielder Mauricio Pereyra as he turns 31 today.

Pedro Gallese Listed as One of MLS’ Best

I’ve often said that Orlando’s Pedro Gallese is one of the top goalkeepers in MLS and it looks like Extratime host David Gass agrees. It only took one shortened season for El Pulpo to be recognized among other MLS greats like Andre Blake, Matt Turner, Stefan Frei, and Tim Melia. Although ranked fifth on that list, Gallese certainly has the skill to be the best goalkeeper in the league. It might just take a little more time for others around the league to notice.

Pride Win Preseason Matches

In their second preseason game, the Orlando Pride won 2-1 against the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday. The Pride were able to score goals in the 37th and 40th minutes to secure the lead before the Seminoles pulled one back. Alex Morgan scored the first off a corner delivered by Marta. The Brazilian then scored the second goal after Marisa Viggiano fed her the ball in the box. The Seminoles are one of the top college teams in the country and provided a good match for the Pride.

On Sunday, the Pride hosted Flagler College for their third preseason match. The Pride delivered on offense against the Division II team, defeating Flagler 4-0. Taylor Kornieck got things going for the Pride with a goal assisted by Meggie Dougherty Howard in the sixth minute. Ally Haran added a second in the 16th minute, and Chelsee Washington scored a brace in the second half.

The Pride’s next match is on March 20 on the road against the Washington Spirit as the Pride prepare for the upcoming season.

Sleepless in Orlando

For those of you who are not parents, you may not know that you don’t get much sleep when you have a newborn. It’s one of the first challenges for new parents. The Pride’s Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger are dealing with this challenge with their daughter Sloane as we speak. Of course, while this is difficult for any parent to deal with, the lack of sleep takes on a different meaning when someone is a professional soccer player. Fortunately, not only are Harris and Krieger getting help from family, but the club is also working with the co-captains to ensure training isn’t demanding too much of them.

“They’re not crushing me. They’re not asking me to do things that my body isn’t capable of doing right now on a little bit less sleep than I’m used to,” Harris said. “They’re just making sure that I’m healthy and Ali’s healthy...They’re constantly checking in and making sure we’re in a good place and if we need anything. It’s been a really good, open line of communication and understanding, and we couldn’t ask for more.”

Orlando’s Young Players Impress at Camp

Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja is well known for developing young talent, and he is continuing those efforts in Orlando. Pareja brought in five academy players to train with the senior squad during the training camp in Bradenton. Thomas Williams, Quembol Guadalupe, Moises Tablante, Wilfredo Rivera, and Raul Aguilera Jr. were all given the opportunity to see what it is like to train with an MLS club. The speed, skill, and most importantly the culture are all on display for these youngsters to take in and learn. It’s this type of thing that will pay dividends for Orlando City in the future.

“It’s a great experience for them to see it, especially because they are very young. Thomas Williams for example, Wilfredo, Tablante, Raul, Quembol, a kid who played in our Under-17s that is not even turning 17 yet. But he’s competing every day with Nani and with Mauricio. So I know that collection of experiences will mature those boys and make them feel the game differently when they come out of this camp.”

Free Kicks
  • In honor of National Good Samaritan Day, Nani delivered bags of food for those in the Orlando Area.

That will do it for today. Be safe, be smart, and I’ll see you later this week.