Welcome to the Saturday edition of Lion Links! Well, no match for Orlando City tonight, but that doesn't mean there aren't matches that matter. I'm looking at you, Colorado. Plus there's the CONCACAF match between the United States and Mexico. It should be quite an entertaining evening, but let's dig into the links while we wait for tonight.
Happy Happy, Brek Shea
It seems that Brek Shea is enjoying his time in Orlando. Despite having to sit for three months due to injury, Brek has been able to find the work/life balance that was missing when he was in England. Whether it's soccer, hosting an Internet show with Eric Avila, or becoming a new father to his baby girl, Phoenix, he's having fun. He has himself said that if he isn't having fun, he'll do something else. So let's all be glad Brek has found his happy place in Orlando.
The Book of Rivas
Carlos Rivas has been a welcome addition to Orlando City this inaugural season, with speed and good left-footed crosses, he has been a solid contributor. Like the organization, he is young (he was 20 years old for his MLS debut), but has grown and will continue to do so with the organization. However, his story didn't start here.
Orlando City Soccer Club has added two executives to the front office. Renato Reis has been hired as the Chief Information Officer (CIO), and John Schulze is the Vice President of Finance. While these additions aren't as overtly exciting as a new Designated Player, they do bolster the organization, so we can continue to expect excellence from the Orlando City front office.
Orlando City Foundation Launches Soccer for Success Program
Soccer for Success is a cost-free after-school soccer program that addresses children's health issues and promotes healthy lifestyles in inner city communities. Yesterday, Orlando City announced the launch of its first Soccer for Success program, in conjunction with MLS Works, at the John H. Jackson Community Center in Parramore.
The club also secured the location for its second mini pitch at Front Line Outreach Youth & Family Center in 2016. Mini pitches provide a playable space for organized soccer at lesser costs and in smaller areas, making them particularly attractive in inner cities.
"We are excited for this collaboration with both MLS WORKS and the U.S. Soccer Foundation because it allows us to implement a program that has been proven to help children across many MLS-based communities," said Kay Rawlins, the foundation's president and director of community relations. "We are in the process of finalizing the addition of three to four mini pitches in Central Florida, allowing us to expand our Soccer for Success program in 2016, and are looking forward to working with Front Line Outreach Youth & Family Center as our next partnering facility."
What's better than supporting a soccer team? Supporting a soccer team that cares about its community as much as the community cares about it.
Colorado Rapids vs. Montreal Impact
We all know who to root for in this match, but what are the chances that Colorado can take all three points? The Rapids are on a five-game winless streak, but the Impact have lost two straight. The Rapids have no chance at the playoffs, but could contribute to playing spoiler against Montreal.
Giovinco to Barcelona?
Sebastian Giovinco has certainly made an impression on MLS, netting 21 goals so far this season. Lions fans are all too familiar with the pint-sized terror from Toronto FC. Now there's rumor that he's part of a list being considered by Barcelona. He might not be their first choice, but he's done enough to get a look.
Dos a Cero!
Our other match of the night. The Yanks versus El Tri, for the "CONCACAF Cup" and a spot in the Confederations Cup. The USMNT will have to get it done without Alejandro Bedoya, who fell ill and has been replaced on the team by Bobby Wood. Is Jurgen Klinsmann on the hotseat? Will the USMNT put it together against their rivals after a less than memorable Gold Cup performance? Dos a cero? It's always exciting when these two teams clash.
That's it for this edition of Lion Links. Switching it up a bit, Go Rapids, Go Yanks! See you next week.