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Lion Links: 8/17/21

Nani preps for skills challenge, Carli Lloyd announces retirement, Harris up for Save of the Week (again), and more.

OL Reign v Orlando Pride Photo by Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, Mane Landers. We have a busy week of Orlando soccer ahead of us with three games in the next six days for our players in purple. As usual there’s lots to discuss today, so let’s get straight to it.

Nani Preps for Skills Challenge

Orlando City captain Nani will be taking part in the All-Star Skills Challenge when the MLS All-Star Game rolls around once again later this month. Nani will be joined by Carlos Vela, fellow Lion Pedro Gallese, Lucas Zelarayan, and Chicharito (to name a few) in taking on the best of Liga MX. As part of the buildup for the event, Nani showed off what he’s capable of with a nifty little clip from the Orlando City training ground. Things were pretty darn entertaining the last time the captain took part in the All-Star festivities, so hopefully his inclusion this year brings more of the same.

Harris Again a Save-of-the-Week Nominee

The sun shines, the grass is green, and Ashlyn Harris gets nominated for the NWSL Save of the Week. That’s right, the Orlando Pride netminder is once again up for the latest edition of the award following her efforts in the Orlando Pride’s 1-1 draw with the Portland Thorns over the weekend. The save in question came during the 36th minute, with the Pride defending a one-goal lead. Harris got up high and parried away a header that was bound for the back of the net, preserving Orlando’s lead. While the team ultimately drew the match, Harris continued her trend of making big saves when her team needs them.

Lloyd to Retire Following NWSL Season

Carli Lloyd has announced that she will be retiring from professional soccer at the conclusion of the current NWSL season. Lloyd is one of the greatest players to ever suit up for the United States Women’s National Team, and will also be calling time on her national team career following her participation in four friendly matches that will be played this fall. Lloyd’s international career began all the way back in 2005 and she has a whopping 312 caps to her name, and she will finish second in appearances only to Christine Lilly, who has 354. The 39-year-old has won two Olympic gold medals, two World Cup trophies, and is the fourth all-time leading scorer in USWNT history. The Stars & Stripes won’t seem quite the same without her.

Whitecaps Academy Players Assaulted

Three Vancouver Whitecaps academy players were assaulted over the weekend, with the club believing that the attack was racially motivated. One of the players was taken to the hospital with injuries that will require surgery, although they were not life-threatening. One suspect has been arrested as part of an ongoing police investigation and the club has released a statement understandably condemning the incident. This is an extremely sad incident, and the fact that seeing this kind of story is only mildly shocking is perhaps even sadder. Hopefully the players involved make full recoveries and can get back to being on the field soon.

Free Kicks
  • We wrap up with just a stellar photo capturing both Sydney Leroux’s and Gunny Jonsdottir’s amazing reactions to an Ashlyn Harris save.

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