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Lion Links: 3/26/21

Daryl Dike’s journey, Orlando City streaming options, Ally Haran signed by the Orlando Pride, and more.

SOCCER: OCT 14 MLS - New York City FC at Orlando City SC Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Hopefully the work week hasn’t been too hard on you as we transition to the weekend. I don’t have many plans these next few days beyond working and catching up on some reading I’ve been putting off. Reading more was one of my resolutions for the new year, but has mostly fallen by the wayside. But enough about me, let’s get to these links from around the soccer world.

Daryl Dike’s Road to Success

While playing with Barnsley FC in the English Football League Championship, Dike has garnered plenty of interest from some of England’s biggest clubs. It’s been a busy 18 months for Dike, but his family has offered him plenty of support and advice over the course of his life to help him with whatever future awaits. Born in Oklahoma where he faced pressure to play American football rather than soccer in a state without a rich soccer history, Dike forged a path of his own despite the lack of academies in the region.

“I think every single player [from Oklahoma] may have this kind of thought, you’re going to have this little mental battle with yourself,” he said. “You look at the national team, you look at the youth national team and you look at all these other people and there’s no [non-academy players] on those teams. You look at them, and you’re sitting there thinking, ‘How can I be able to be with those players if I’m not in an academy? Will I be good enough? Will I have the opportunity?’”

Benji Michel Steps Into the Spotlight

Orlando City winger Benji Michel has made the most of his time coming off the bench for the Lions and is featuring more and more for both club and country. Along with teammate Andres Perea, Michel is with the U-23 United States National Team during Olympic qualifiers and has featured in all three group stage matches so far. Michel will have a chance to help the U.S qualify for the Olympics in a semifinal match against Honduras. Only 23 years old, Michel is becoming a better and more flexible attacker while playing in Mexico and hopefully that experience parlays into success with the Lions.

New and Old Ways to Watch the Lions This Season

As mentioned in our breakdown of Orlando City’s recently announced schedule, supporters in the Central Florida area can stream matches this season on LionNation TV. The streaming platform is exclusive to LionNation premium members, allowing them to watch or cast games while keeping up with stats and rewards through the app.

For those wanting a more traditional viewing experience, you’ll still be able to watch the Lions play on FOX 35 Plus as the club and network extended their partnership heading into this season. Evan Weston and Miguel Gallardo will commentate the 28 televised Orlando City matches and the pair will host a preview of the Lions’ season on April 11. As for Lions fans who aren’t local, you can still tune in on ESPN+.

Ally Haran Signed By the Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride inked defender Ally Haran to a one-year contract to help bolster the back line. Haran featured for the Pride during the 2020 NWSL Fall Series, scoring the equalizer in the team’s thrilling 3-3 comeback draw against the North Carolina Courage. A force in the air, the 24-year-old will help shore up the Pride’s defense over the course of the season as she improves her game. Haran and teammate Abi Kim weighed in on how training is going as the Pride prepare for the NWSL Challenge Cup.

USMNT Cruises to Victory in Friendly

In Austria, the United States Men’s National Team won 4-1 over Jamaica in a friendly. Sergino Dest did well on both sides of the ball and scored his first goal with the USMNT.

In the second half, Brenden Aaronson doubled the USMNT’s lead after good work by Josh Sargent to extend the play in the box and assist on the goal. Jamaica’s Jamal Lowe scored to ruin Zack Steffen’s clean sheet, but USMNT midfielder Sebastian Lletget bagged a brace late to ensure victory for the U.S.

While it was nice seeing the USMNT offense firing on all cylinders, there was still some disappointment as Dike was sidelined due to apparent injury. Hopefully he will recover in time for the USMNT’s next friendly against Northern Ireland on Sunday at noon.

Free Kicks
  • Former Lion Cyle Larin scored a hat trick in Canada’s 5-1 win over Bermuda in a Concacaf World Cup qualifying match in Exploria Stadium. Richie Laryea also scored for Canada while defender Kamal Miller started.
  • Congratulations to former Lion Lewis Neal for becoming a U.S. citizen!

That’s going to do it for today, folks. I hope you all have a great Friday and rest of your weekend.