Happy Fri...Oh my gosh what's that behind you?
It's Friday the 13th, so you're probably better off just not leaving the house today. At least that's my plan. But don't let the unluckiest day of the year stop you from enjoying your morning cup of Lion Links, as we recap a busy Thursday for Orlando City SC.
Orlando City releases Gustavo and Akeil Barrett
The Lions cut ties with two players on Thursday, waiving Brazilian defender Gustavo and rookie midfielder Akeil Barrett.
Neither move comes as a total surprise, as Barrett was always a long shot to make the roster (even as a SuperDraft pick) and Gustavo simply found himself the odd man out in an increasingly competitive battle for a spot in the Lions' back line. With the emergence of trialist Sean St. Ledger, Gustavo became expendable as a defensive option for the Lions and the club made the decision to release him.
However, it appears Orlando isn't quite done shoring up their defense, which brings us to...
Lions close to signing defender Seb Holmes
With Gustavo off the books, the Lions have been linked to Middlesbrough defender Seb Holmes on a potential loan deal.
The 26-year old English-American has bounced around Europe for most of his career, but saw regular playing time with Middlesbrough in 2013. Holmes has relatives in America and has previously expressed interest in plying his trade stateside.
He would compete with the remaining defenders on the roster for a spot in the back line, possibly as a center back next to Aurelien Collin.
Orlando City hits the ice with the Solar Bears
A day after being honored by the Orlando Magic, Kaká returned to Amway Arena and brought a few teammates with him to see the Solar Bears' game.
There were Lions all over the arena on Thursday night, as Orlando City players signed autographs in the concourse and goalkeeper Josh Ford even scored a "goal" from center ice.
With the home opener less than a month away, Orlando City is pulling out all the stops to make #FillTheBowl a reality. If seeing Kaká on skates doesn't get you hyped for this season, then I don't know what will.
USL rebrands with eye on second division
The league Orlando City called home for their first four years as a club is already a vastly different place, as the USL (having dropped the Pro) announced a new name and logo this week.
The league also announced a goal of pursuing second division status, having secured a partnership with MLS in which every club will be required to maintain a USL affiliate. The NASL is currently the only league within the second division.
United States slides in latest FIFA rankings
Despite a convincing victory over Panama on Sunday, the U.S. Men's National Team slid in FIFA's World Rankings, all the way down to No. 31. It's the lowest the Yanks have been in almost two years.
This isn't totally unexpected, as Jurgen Klinsmann has been forced to make do with a largely makeshift squad following last summer's World Cup, but it's still a bit disappointing to say the least.
Perhaps even more surprising is the rise of Costa Rica, which has proven last season's World Cup run was no fluke by rising all the way to No. 13. For now anyway, it looks like Los Ticos are kings of CONCACAF.
That's it for today. Stay safe out there guys...