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Lion Links: 8/24/21

Antonio Carlos makes TotW, Pride already looking forward, Angel City signs first player and coach, and more.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Orlando City SC Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everybody. It was a good weekend for Orlando City, while the Orlando Pride weren’t quite as fortunate. There’s plenty to discuss today so let’s jump right in.

AC Named to MLS Team of the Week

Orlando City defender Antonio Carlos was recognized for his dominant performance in Saturday’s 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire with a place in the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Week. Carlos finished the night with three tackles, two interceptions, eight clearances and five blocks while passing the ball with 85% accuracy. In our Player Grades piece, I rated the center back as a 7.5/10, the second-highest rating awarded on the night and second only to Man of the Match Mason Stajduhar. The Brazilian continues to be quietly excellent week in and week out, and it’s nice to see him get some recognition.

Pride Focused on Moving Forward

Gunny Jonsdottir says that while a late loss on Sunday was hard to take, the Orlando Pride are working in the right direction. She emphasized that every single one of the Pride players is dedicated to learning and getting better, and that she thinks as long as the team takes the right lessons away from the last game, Orlando will be in good shape. The Pride gave up a pair of goals in the final 20 minutes of a road game to the Washington Spirit, and ultimately lost 2-1. The Pride sit in the sixth and final playoff place and are only eight points off the first place Portland Thorns, although the Pride have played more games than every team ahead of them in the standings.

Angel City Signs First Player, Makes Coombe Hiring Official

National Women’s Soccer League expansion side Angel City FC has signed its first player ahead of its 2022 debut season, and it’s United States Women’s National Team forward Christen Press. The 32-year-old’s NWSL rights were owned by expansion Racing Louisville FC. Instead however, she has been traded to Angel City before ever making an appearance for the team. Louisville got plenty in return though, with Angel City giving up its first-round pick in next year’s NWSL Draft, $75,000 in allocation money and full roster protection during the Expansion Draft. Press is from Los Angeles and is a nice big name from which the new club can start building.

Angel City has also brought in Freya Coombe as the team’s first head coach. We mentioned this in yesterday’s Lion Links but it became official on Monday. Coombe has departed from former team NJ/NY Gotham FC, which is a bit shocking to say the least. Coombe has led Gotham FC to be in position to contend for a playoff berth, but Angel City liked what it saw with regards to the work she did with her former team and decided to snap her up.

MLS All-Star Roster Adjustments

Several roster adjustments have been made to the MLS team ahead of the upcoming MLS All-Star Game. Two additions have been made in the form of Inter Miami CF midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro and Atlanta United defender George Bello. On the flip side; however, four players have been listed as unavailable that were on the original roster. Javier Hernandez, Carles Gil, Carlos Vela, and Tajon Buchanan have all been listed as unavailable for this week’s festivities. Rather unfortunately for Orlando City fans, Pedro Gallese and Nani are still listed on the roster despite having had varying levels of availability during the Lions’ last few games. Nani has been battling muscle tightness and was only able to go for 29 minutes over the weekend while Gallese hasn’t appeared since the end of July.

Free Kicks
  • This is the definition of a feel-good story for a young Lions fan.

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