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Lion Links: 4/1/21

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Weather ruins Orlando City scrimmage, Lions and Pride players set to get COVID-19 vaccines, Pride releases new otherworldly kit, and more.

Image courtesy of Orlando Pride/Mark Thor

Greetings, Mane Landers. I hope you’re all doing well this April Fools’ Day. Buckle up and prepare for those unfunny people who are sure to pull some sort of gag today. While you’re waiting to see what kind of pranks your friends, family, and/or coworkers have in store today, let’s get right into the links.

Orlando vs. Cincinnati Scrimmage Washed Out

The Lions were poised to improve upon an already solid 3-1-0 preseason record last night against FC Cincinnati when Mother Nature stepped in and made a mess of everything. With Orlando City leading 1-0 on a goal by Homegrown fullback Michael Halliday, the weather turned nasty and the game was called. The Orlando City Academy U-23 team met the same fate, as the Young Lions had their game halted around the 13-minute mark with no score. It may be preseason, but the Florida weather is in mid-season form.

Orlando City, Pride Players to Receive COVID-19 Vaccines

Orlando City and Orlando Pride players and staff are set to receive their first doses of the Coronavirus vaccine on Monday at Exploria Stadium.

“Orlando City partner Orlando Health will assist in the distribution of the vaccine for the club. Once employees receive their shots, eligible family members of players and staff will be provided with vaccinations at the stadium Tuesday.”

“This means — dependent upon which version of the vaccine they receive — club employees could be fully inoculated against coronavirus by mid-May.”

If the players are not given the Johnson & Johnson shot, they may get their second shot during the early part of the NWSL Challenge Cup and MLS season. Most people report some type of side effects from the second round, so that could prove problematic. Time will tell what happens, but at least things seem to be improving in regard to the pandemic. Hopefully the players will get through this without any major side effects.

Orlando Pride Release Ad Astra Kit

The Orlando Pride have released an absolutely beautiful kit for the coming season. The heartthrob of a jersey, called their “Ad Astra” kit, will be the side’s primary one for the 2021 and 2022 NWSL campaigns. Additionally, the new shirt and a ball set to be used in a match were shot up into space to symbolize the ambition of the women’s game reaching new heights. The space ball will be used in a match.

Orlando City SC and Orlando Pride CEO Alex Leitao lauded the jersey itself, but above all, what it signifies more than anything.

“While this jersey itself is special, all that it represents is truly extraordinary, inspired by our very own Space Coast and some of history’s iconic women. As a Club that strives to break barriers each and everyday, we are proud to celebrate the women, both on our Orlando Pride squad and beyond, who do the same,” Orlando City SC and Orlando Pride CEO Alex Leitão said. “Thanks to the dedication of our team and support of our partners at Orlando Health, we are thrilled to really ‘shoot for the stars’ in our unveil of this kit and to continue investing in the women’s game, including the launch of this jersey. We hope our fans love it as much as we do.”

Former Lion Recommended to Besiktas by Canadian Teammate

Former Orlando City midfielder-turned-Toronto-fullback Richie Laryea has been recommended to Besiktas by Canadian teammate Atiba Hutchinson. The 26-year-old impressed the veteran in the Canada camp so much the latter believes the Turkish club should try to sign him.

“According to Turkish news outlet A Spor, the 38-year-old Hutchinson has recommended the fullback to his club Besiktas, although no offer has been formally extended to Toronto FC. Laryea is apparently being pushed as the replacement to right-back Valentin Rosier, who is currently on loan from Sporting CP.

Laryea has been fantastic with Toronto since joining from Orlando and changing positions under former Reds coach Greg Vanney. It will be fascinating to see if the Canadian side considers selling the fan favorite.

Paul Arriola Ends Loan Spell with Swansea City Early

A quadriceps injury has ended Paul Arriola’s loan spell with Swansea City early. The injury will have him out four to six weeks, which is the remainder of Swansea’s season. Given the severity of the issue, the only way the player would take part for the Welsh side again would be if if the club made a deep playoff run.

“Arriola’s loan began on February 1, and he made his debut in a 3-1 FA Cup loss to Manchester City, playing 26 minutes and getting involved on Swansea’s lone goal. From there, though, he played just two more times, totaling 18 minutes in league play. Swansea initially were said to be in need of more competition and depth for their wingbacks — Arriola’s natural position — but the 26-year-old USMNT regular appears to have played most of his minutes there as part of a forward pairing.”

The defender’s time in the Championship did not go nearly as well as he would have hoped. The USMNT player could be eligible to play against Orlando City on May 16 if all goes to plan in his recovery.

Free Kicks
  • Jozy Altidore fired shots at Taylor Twellman after his comments on the USMNT Olympic qualifying failure.

That’s all for this Thursday’s set of links, folks. Thanks for reading. Have a good second half of your week.