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Lion Links: 3/5/21

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Orlando City’s strengthened offense, Lions reveal jersey tonight, Orlando Pride rookies improve from time abroad, and more.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope the work week hasn’t been too hard on you as we head into the weekend. The weather is heating up enough that it should be a nice time to head to the beach or a park unless it rains. But for now, here are some links to get your Friday morning started off right.

Orlando City Enters 2021 Season With Versatile Attack

Although Daryl Dike will be in England until May while on loan with Barnsley FC, Orlando City heads into the upcoming season with a strong offense. Nani, Chris Mueller, Benji Michel, and Tesho Akindele are joined by new additions Alexandre Pato and Silvester van der Water to help give the Lions more bite in 2021. It will also be nice to see more of Matheus Aias and Alexander Alvarado this year after only seeing glimpses of them last season. Not only will the upgraded offense give the Lions more ways to find the back of the net, but it adds depth over the course of the season to handle injuries.

Orlando Set to Reveal New Kit Tonight

During tonight’s City Art Jam from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Orlando will unveil its jersey for the 2021 season. The event will also feature a speed art competition and the reveal of this year’s Face of City class. The club also gave a sneak peek of the jersey on Twitter and you can pre-order it. I do like the two-tone look and am interested what the collar ends up looking like.

Those at the event can also be the first to purchase the new kit and the first 200 will get to walk down the tunnel at Exploria Stadium on Saturday as part of an exclusive event.

Young Players Headed to Bradenton Preseason Camp

The Lions will head to Bradenton on Sunday for their preseason camp, but the team’s draft picks are still with their college teams for the time being. The team will still have a handful of young players present though as Head Coach Oscar Pareja is bringing five academy and Orlando City B players to camp. Moises Tablante, Wilfredo Rivera, Raul Aguilera Jr., Thomas Williams, and Quembol Guadalupe will all be challenged at the camp to see if they can make it onto the first team. Defenders Williams and Guadalupe may have the most opportunity ahead of them due to the team having less depth across the back line.

Orlando Pride Rookies Learned From Loans

Like many Pride players during 2020, rookies Taylor Kornieck and Phoebe McClernon headed to Europe on loan for playing time. Kornieck played with MSV Duisberg in Germany, while McClernon spent time in Sweden with Vaxjo DFF. McClernon was able to communicate freely with her teammates in English while in Sweden and even make a trip to see the northern lights, but time away from the U.S. was harder on Kornieck. On a German team, Kornieck had a language barrier to get past and hardly enough time to learn more than a few phrases. Despite the forward’s challenges, Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner spoke about Kornieck’s improvement after her time abroad.

“I can see a hell of a lot of growth in her and her maturity as a player,” Skinner said. “We’ll keep her feet right on the ground and ready to play and perform, and she’ll be a real, real handful.”

Free Kicks
  • The Lions played soccer tennis at training and it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Mauricio Pereyra ended up winning.
  • The Pride are hard at work as they get ready for the upcoming NWSL Challenge Cup and season.
  • Although we don’t yet know which teams will take part or when, the 2021 Florida Cup is expected to be hosted in Camping World Stadium rather than Exploria Stadium.
  • MLS may make the first few games of the season incredibly important for team’s wanting a spot in this year’s U.S. Open Cup.

That’s it from me today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a great Friday and rest of your weekend.