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Lion Links: 2/20/15

Previewing the Carolina Challenge Cup, Orlando City surpasses 12,000 season tickets, MLS labor negotiations continue, and more in this morning's Lion Links.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Congratulations ManeLanders, you've made it to Friday.

And Orlando City SC has made it to the Carolina Challenge Cup, where the Lions will play their last three exhibition matches of the preseason before kicking off their MLS campaign on March 8.

As you get ready for an exciting week of Orlando City soccer, we've got you covered with your Friday morning Lion Links.

Looking ahead to the weekend

The Lions will begin CC Cup play on Saturday. The match should be interesting from a tactical standpoint, as neither Adrian Heath or New York City FC boss Jason Kreis figure to show each other much of what they can expect to see when their teams meet for real in Orlando next month.

City will also take on former USL running mates Charleston Battery on Wednesday night before playing the Houston Dynamo next Saturday to close things out.

Though these games are technically just friendlies, that doesn't mean nothing is at stake for the Lions next week in Charleston.

You better believe there's a trophy...

photo credit:

It's pretty breathtaking.

But it would certainly be nice for Orlando to come into its first MLS season already packing some hardware. The Lions will probably need to get points out of at least two matches to get the job done. Last season, D.C. United was able to claim the cup with a victory and a draw.

Orlando City surpasses 12,000 season tickets

The Lions reached another major milestone ahead of their inaugural MLS season, reaching 12,000 season tickets sold on Thursday. The club announced they will cap season tickets at 14,000 to "ease the transition" into their 19,500-capacity soccer-specific venue next season.

Long story short, people want to watch to this team.

The season ticket numbers are even more incredible when compared with MLS attendance averages from last year. If the Lions can average 10,000 fans a game on top of their season ticket holders, they'll have the third highest attendance numbers in the league.

MLS and Players Union continue negations

With MLS looking to avoid any future work stoppages, the league has brought in a mediator, as negotiations with the Players Union continue this week.

A similar strategy was utilized in 2010, the last time the league and its players were forced to talk it out, and no games were canceled. The players have expressed a willingness to strike, which makes sense, considering they have much less to lose from a work stoppage than the league does.

Nonetheless, the introduction of a third party into negotiations can be taken as a sign that both sides are committed to getting this thing done without having to miss any games. That, or Man City just bought the entire league.

Carolina Challenge Cup Tailgating

I would never claim that Orlando City has the BEST fans in MLS. I'm only saying that's a lot of purple.

photo credit: @FixtureWire

That's it for Lions Links everyone. Tomorrow, we take Charleston.