Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/2/19



Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. First and foremost, happy birthday to the Pride’s Danica Evans! It’s a shame we couldn’t celebrate it with the Pride also snagging their first win of the season, but we’re celebrating for you nonetheless!

All right. We’ve got a bevy of content to dive into today, so buckle up, grab some popcorn, and let’s get straight into what was both a legendary but tragic weekend in the world of soccer.

Impressive Lions Win on the Road, 3-0

Can you say “positive goal differential?” It’s not the most familiar phrase as an Orlando City supporter, but welcome to 2019! The Lions showed up in Canada ready to play, netting three times in a strong first half and taking home a 3-0 win. The third goal, in particular, was a thing of absolute beauty. After 21 completed passes (that’s right, 21 passes), Will Johnson found himself on the end of a punched cross, heading the final touch past a helpless goalkeeper. It may have been the best team goal the club has scored…ever. Just take a look for yourself.

Following a well-played first half, the Lions held fast to their 3-0 lead to take all three points back through customs with them. While the absence of Ignacio Piatti was obviously a factor, this result was stunning and only serves to raise hopes of the Lions finding their way into the MLS playoff picture for the first time.

Also keep an eye out for Jennifer Warren’s five takeaways from this exciting road thrashing!

The Pride host the Courage, Lose 3-0

Let’s be honest: it’s been an abysmal start to the 2019 campaign for the Orlando Pride. Winless through the first nine matches of the season, it’s clear that the squad is hampered (to be generous) by a lack of quality. The World Cup absences certainly can be blamed, but it can’t shoulder the full load. This team is close to crisis, with attendance still at an all-time low and the team at the bottom of the table. A silver lining? The team didn’t concede a goal in the first half for the first time this season. I guess that’s pretty cool. Kristen Hamilton put three in the back of the net to complete her hat trick and the Courage coasted to a 3-0 win.

Marta is Ready for the World Cup, Shrugs Off Retirement Talks

The Brazilian star has reportedly denied any plans of retiring soon, declaring that she currently has no intention of hanging up her boots following the World Cup and the 2019 NWSL season. The 33-year-old was front and center for the few matches she could play for the Pride this season, and led the team in shots and shots on target while playing the full 90 in each match. The fiercely competitive Marta was fully focused on the Pride during the buildup to the World Cup, exemplifying her professionalism and intense commitment. It wasn’t until her time with the Pride was put on hold that she turned her attention to the World Cup, but she did so with a fervor that has impressed her club teammates and coach, as well as her fellow Brazilian international teammates.

The USWNT Dictionary

That’s right, the U.S. Women’s National Team has released a team dictionary, providing insight for supporters into what all of their inside jokes mean. It’s a nice gesture from the World Cup favorites. My personal favorite? Hair perfection. Why? Because I always find myself saying something along the lines of, “Damn. That haircut is really something. In a good way.” Check it out and familiarize yourself with it before the big tournament kicks off in less than a week!

Free Kicks

  • When I mentioned that it was also a tragic weekend in the world of soccer, I was referring to the profoundly upsetting passing of José Antonio Reyes. At just 35 years old, the former Spanish international is being mourned by Real Madrid, Sevilla, Arsenal, and a bevy of other fortunate clubs that were able to secure his services. Rest in power, José. You will be missed.
  • Orlando’s new NPSL side, Central Florida SC, lost a close one to a strong Naples United FC in Winter Park. The match was affected heavily by weather delays, but hey, we do live in Florida, right? The Panthers see action next on June 8, facing off against the table topping Miami FC.
  • Tallahassee SC traveled to Hattiesburg to take on Hattiesburg FC and took home all three points, winning off of a beautiful Boneco Bazil bicycle kick. The Battle Lions take to the pitch again on June 8, in Tallahassee, against Port City FC.
  • Looking for some insight into the roster that will eventually represent the U.S. in the Gold Cup? Look no further, I’ve got you covered.
  • I’ll believe it when I see it, but apparently Argentina icon Lionel Messi is considering passing on representing his country at the World Cup in 2022. But again, I’ll believe it when I see it.
  • Congratulations are in order to Liverpool FC for taking home the European crown, beating Tottenham in the Champions League final, 2-0. It wasn’t the most entertaining affair (that pitch invader was entertaining though), but the Reds will happily take the monumental win. To add to that, Sadio Mane, easily one of the the club’s most influential players, almost signed for Manchester United, but a man named Jürgen Klopp convinced him otherwise, and the rest is history. You’ll never walk alone! Also, this guy probably didn’t have to buy a single drink yesterday.

Whew. It was a busy one, huh? But almost everything went perfectly this weekend. Almost. Hopefully the Pride can figure things out and right the ship. Time will tell, but I’m not the most optimistic about their chances, even after the World Cup stars return.

Regardless, I hope you all enjoy the remainder of your Sunday and then have an even better week.


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