Happy November, everyone. While most of the world's attention has been outside the pitch this week, I just wanted to recap some of the news coming out of the club in the seven days between November 5 and November 12, 2016.
Tuesday, November 8
While the eyes of the world were on a political election, Orlando City was tallying votes that fans of the clubs provided to MLS in terms of votes for Goal of the Week and Save of the Week. Orlando City players won Goal of the Week honors six times, with Cyle Larin getting the nod six times. And Joe Bendik, who played every match in 2016 for Orlando City, won Save of the Week 11 times during the season, getting nearly a clean sweep for all 12 times he was nominated. Full story available on the Orlando City web site.
Also on Tuesday, the club announced that Jason Kreis had paid a visit to partner club Clube Atlético Paranaense in Brazil. Partner clubs make it easier for management and coaching to exchange ideas and strategic insights; it also provides more opportunities for players to transfer more easily between international leagues. Clube Atlético Paranaense plays in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A league. Orlando City's other two partner clubs are Stoke City of the EPL, and SL Benfica of the Portuguese Primeira Liga. Full story available on the Orlando City web site.
And the Orlando Pride's own Laura Alleway of the Australian Women's National Team provided an interview during her off-season time playing in Australia's W-League. She talked about her Olympic experience as well as the benefits of playing for the Orlando Pride and life in Orlando in general. Full story available on the Orlando City web site.
Wednesday, November 9
Orlando City's Academy teams enjoyed success last weekend, winning 5 out of 6 matches in play against the Clearwater Chargers. The U-12 teams went 1 - 0 - 1 with a 4-3 victory and a scoreless draw in their matches. The U-13s won their match 4-1, while the U-14s were victorious on a 2-1 score. The U-15/16 squad won 2-0. Finally, the U-18 team dominated their opponents with a 6-0 drubbing. That's a fantastic outing by all the Academy teams. Well done! Full story available on the Orlando City web site.
Coach Tom Sermanni gave an interview to the Orlando Sentinel's Alicia DelGallo reflecting on the 2016 season with the Orlando Pride. In the interview he praised the team's effort on the pitch and took accountability on behalf of the coaching staff for not helping the players find a way to break through for more consistent wins. The 2016 was a year of chaos, not only from the standpoint of launching a brand new team, but also with all the interruptions for International Duty leading up to and including the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Added to that were the many off-field distractions for the club, including the horrific June mass killings at the Pulse nightclub, which hit many of the players and fans of the Orlando Pride very hard. But fans should be encouraged--Tom Sermanni has a long track record of success as a coach, and with a more stable 2017 season ahead, I think we should all look for much stronger results from our ladies next year. Full story available on the Orlando Sentinel web site.
Friday, November 11
Several Orlando Pride players are participating in the Westfield W-League in Australia during this offseason. Most teams have played their first league matches. Steph Catley and Laura Alleway with Melbourne City FC registered a win, as did Maddy Evans with Brisbane Roar. Monica's Adelaide United drew in their opening-round match, and Jasmyne Spencer's Canberra United had a bye week to start the season. Full story available on the Orlando City web site.
The USWNT is in the middle of a two-game series of friendly matches with Romania. Ashlyn Harris got the start in goal for the 8-1 victory last Thursday night, and Orlando Pride captain Alex Morgan came on as a second-half sub in the match. Fellow Orlando Pride member Kristen Edmonds has been called up to the national team for the first time for this series, but she did not play on Thursday. You can watch the final game in the series on Sunday, November 13 at 9:30 pm (Orlando time) on FS1 to see if Edmonds can earn her first cap and first minutes with the national team. Full story available on the Orlando City web site.
Forbes Magazine has named Orlando City the 9th most valuable club in all of the Americas. This puts the value of Orlando City ($240 million) above such venerable clubs as Brazil's Sao Paolo, Mexico's Club América, and Argentina's River Plate. This ranking comes on the heels of a September survey ranking Orlando City as the fifth most valuable club in MLS after only its second season. Full story available on the Orlando City web site.
Adding to honors awarded at the Orlando City Gala last month, Joe Bendik has won MLS Save of the Year. Bendik was awarded the honor for a double-save that came in the 45th minute of the May 12 match against Kansas City FC. In the space of about 10 seconds, Bendik stopped strikes from both Dom Dwyer and Graham Zusi. The award is a great recognition for Bendik, who had to play in front of one of the weaker defensive lines in MLS all year. As a fan I am glad he got the honor, but next season I hope he is one of the least active keepers in MLS because the defense prevents other teams from even being able to take shots at his net. Full story available on the Orlando City web site.
Well that wraps up the news for this week. Stay tuned here for more news and opinions during the offseason!