The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Birthday Games, Serie A Supporters’ Sexism, and Dwindling Playoff Chances



Howdy, Mane Landers! I’m back and sooner than usual, so I’m either sorry, or you’re welcome. Take it however you like. One might think there hasn’t been enough time for stuff to happen since the last Good/Bad/Ugly. Unfortunately, one would be mistaken.

The Good

Orlando City takes on Atlanta United at home this Friday night in a must-win match. Let’s be fair, they’re all pretty much “must wins” at this point. Why is this under the “Good” section? Well, it’s my birthday on Friday, and it’s always nice to watch your team play on your birthday. I understand it’s a daunting task for the Lions to somehow win that match, but it’s a great big universe and I exist, so that means stranger things have happened. Our own Ethan Smith shared what the Lions must do to prevail, and so I’m going to be hopeful he had a vision of things to come.

Obviously, I’m also hoping that The Bearded Guy was wrong on his prediction for the match. No matter what happens, I know I’ll have a good time having a beer (or many), and watching by beloved Lions play my favorite game. That’s definitely a good thing, so why not join me in spirit, if not in person?

The Bad

Regular readers and those who listen to The Mane Land PawedCast know that I’m an advocate of the women’s game. I’m also an advocate of equal rights in general, and that’s why I need to point out how bad it is that Lazio fans are trying to ban women from the “sacred” parts of the stadium. For those who don’t follow soccer in Italy, SS Lazio is a soccer club based in Rome that plays in Serie A. Some of their “ultra” fans, known as the “Irriducibili,” actually distributed a letter in the stadium during their opening match that the “Curva Nord” (their main supporters’ section) is supposed to be off limits to women. That includes couples.

If you think it’s a bit of an extreme position, you should know that the different ultra groups that vie for control of the Curva Nova have often displayed Nazi flags and other alt-right propaganda during matches. I do not believe that these are good people, and I hope something is done about such groups, no matter where they show up.

The Ugly

It would be easy to use the Orlando Pride’s loss to the North Carolina Courage as the ugly this week, but I’m thinking bigger. The ugliest things I can think of are the chances of both Orlando City and the Pride to make their respective playoffs. I’m not saying they can’t do it, but they both need some help. I remember feeling pretty good at the beginning of the season for Orlando City. The off-season seemed to have been a success with all the additions, and of course the darn good start after the season began. We all know how that turned out. At the time I’m writing this, FiveThirtyEight has the chances of Orlando City making the playoffs at 1%. I’m no math whiz, but that’s not very good. A lot has to happen, and the odds aren’t good.

Then we have the Pride. Following the loss to North Carolina, FiveThirtyEight has their chances of making the playoffs at 17%. While that is significantly better than the men’s side, they still need to win out and get some help. The shame of it is that I think we were all feeling really good about the Pride’s ability to make the final this year, not just the playoffs. Unfortunately, that might make the Pride the bigger disappointment if they can’t pull it out.

Let me know your thoughts, and feel free to toast me on Twitter (@manelanddave) this Friday as the Lions take the field. Go City! Go Pride!


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