Welcome to the Saturday edition of Lion Links. Plenty of soccer going on, including Orlando's Citrus Bowl reportedly being named a host venue for next summer's Copa America Centenario! Oh, and the World Cup qualifying matches are underway. Let's get right to it!
World Cup Qualifiers
World Cup qualifying rounds have started, and that means plenty of soccer for everyone. To that end, here is a viewer's guide to make sure you know when and where to watch. One amendment to the schedule is the match between Brazil and Argentina that was rescheduled due to a ridiculous amount of rain. Despite the delay, the match turned out to be just as close as expected, ending in a 1-1 draw. Closer to home, CONCACAF teams were also in action with the favorites expected to win, and the USMNT did just that, securing a 6-1 win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines, although Orlando City's Brek Shea didn't play. North of the border, Orlando City striker Cyle Larin was ready for Canada's rematch against Honduras. Larin was involved in the opening goal last night, although he knew very little about Will Johnson's shot that hit him and went in:
Larin was subbed out in the 73rd minute and that goal held up as Canada got a very good result with its 1-0 win over Honduras.
New Goalkeeper for Orlando City?
The Lions have two keepers recovering from knee injuries in starter Tally Hall and backup Earl Edwards Jr. Those injuries pushed Josh Ford into his first MLS action in the final two games of the 2015 season. But Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel writes that Benfica B goalkeeper Thierry Graça is on trial with the Lions as they visit Brazil for a friendly against Flamengo. Graça is well known to Orlando City's Rafael Ramos and Estrela, who signed with Benfica at the same time as the 20-year-old goalkeeper. Orlando City Chief Soccer Officer Armando Carneiro, former head of Benfica's academy, is also well acquainted with the Cape Verde native.
Dom Dwyer, U.S. Citizen?
The door to U.S. citizenship opened for Dom Dwyer when he and Sydney Leroux tied the not earlier this year, and that opens the possibility that he could don the Stars and Stripes for the U.S. Mens National Team in the future. In the meantime, he is content at Sporting Kansas City, though he'd like his bride to get traded to NWSL team, FC Kansas City. Married professional soccer players trying to play in the same city isn't unheard of, is it Servando Carrasco (Orlando City) and Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride)?
Not sure what to get your loved ones for the holidays? Needing to pick up a new Orlando City away kit for yourself? Well, skip the crowds at the Black Friday events, and take advantage of the 50% discounts on Purple Friday! Head down to Wall Street Plaza for this Purple-tacular sale all weekend, Nov. 27-29.
MLS Important Dates
The off-season is usually a bit on the dull side. However, here is a list of the important off-season dates for MLS. Free agency, waiver drafts, super drafts, it's all there, so you can plan accordingly.
Orlando City USSDA U-14 Team impresses
While the big boys may not be playing right now, the Orlando City USSDA U-14 team was in action against the Chargers Soccer Club in Clearwater last Saturday. The young Lions won impressively, downing their opponents, 4-2. The lads will try to keep a good run going today against Tampa Bay United in Tampa.
That's it for today's Lion Links. Have a great weekend, Mane Landers! We leave you with this throwback photo of Phil Rawlins, celebrating Movember: