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Lion Links: 5/4/21

Nani not slowing down, the captain is recognized, FA launches ESL probe, and more.

MLS: FC Cincinnati at Orlando City SC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

While the Orlando Pride’s scoreless draw wasn’t enough for the team to advance in the NWSL Challenge Cup, it was a good weekend overall for Orlando soccer. The Pride got a result and Orlando City notched its first win of the season. As usual, there’s lots to talk about today so let’s get after it.

Nani Not Slowing Down

Orlando City’s main man for the last two years has been Luis Nani, and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down in 2021. The 34-year-old has netted twice in the Lions’ opening three games and both goals were of the spectacular variety. However, even with his good start, OCSC coach Oscar Pareja wants to make sure that the team’s captain is still fresh and fit when the back end of the season rolls around. “I can see Nani fresher now and we will pace him out”, Pareja said, and credited strength and conditioning coach Fabian Bazan with doing a good job of managing the workload of of one of the team’s elder statesmen. Bazan has been helping Nani manage his daily fitness and do a better job of choosing when to ramp up during training and when to pump the brakes a bit. Hopefully, we see those benefits later on in the year.

Nani Recognized for Week 3 Efforts

If nothing else, the benefits are being seen right now in front of our eyes. Nani’s weak footed, Cruyff-turn golazo was nominated for the MLS Goal of the Week, and it’s not hard to see why.

Spectacular stuff all around from OCSC’s talisman. He was also included on the bench of the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Week for the second straight week. If not for particularly strong showings from the likes of Cade Cowell and Raul Ruidiaz, he might have found himself in the starting lineup but its nice to see him getting the props he deserves either way.

FA Launches ESL Inquiry

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the English FA has launched an investigation into the six clubs who were involved in the ill-fated European Super League. The FA is specifically investigating the individual roles that the six teams played in the formation of the league, and says that it will decide what actions to take against the teams after determining the level that each team was involved. As of now there are no concrete reports as to what steps the FA could take against the teams. Executives from the involved teams have reportedly stepped down from their roles on the Premier League’s various subcommittees, and all six owners have publicly apologized for the plans to break away.

Seb Hines Leaves OCYS

Seb Hines has announced that he is leaving his coaching post at Orlando City Youth Soccer, and has coached his last game for the club. The former Orlando City defender, who has also been assisting with the Orlando Pride, had been with the club’s youth setup for the last four years, joining up shortly after his time playing for the senior team came to an end. He didn’t give many details about the reasoning for his departure but talked about wanting to continue to grow as a coach, which is certainly understandable. He will certainly be missed, and we wish him best of luck in his next adventure.

Free Kicks
  • The MLS is Back Tournament was also nominated for an award.

That does it for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.