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Lion Links: 3/20/15

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On Thursday we learned about international call-ups, Vancouver's plans to slow down Kaká, Europa League and NCAA Tourney action, and an official winter World Cup in 2022.

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We have made it to Friday, ladies and gentlemen, meaning two things: happy hour beers tonight and Orlando City soccer tomorrow. As you try to conjure up a believable excuse to give your boss before skipping out on work to watch day two of the NCAA Tournament, check out our pre-weekend edition of Lion Links.

International Call-Ups to Affect MLS Teams

With a FIFA international window set to begin on Monday, teams across Major League Soccer will have to work around the temporary loss of some players to international duty. Orlando City will be facing Montreal without the services of Kevin Molino (Trinidad & Tobago) and Darwin Cerén (El Salvador) in the midfield, as well as Brek Shea (USMNT) on the back line and Cyle Larin (Canada) up front.

Vancouver Hoping to Contain Kaká

Good luck with that, Whitecaps. While Vancouver's Matías Laba and Nicolás Mezquida, both hailing from South America, each have aspirations of swapping jerseys with Brazilian legend Kaká following Saturday night's match, Whitecaps FC is well aware of the need to subdue the dynamism of Orlando City's midfield play-maker throughout the evening. Kaká will look to get forward and create as he always does, and hopefully the Lions can start to generate more traditional goals this weekend than they managed over the past two. That being said, a goal is a goal, and we'll take 'em any way they come.

FIFA Officially Announces December Date for 2022 World Cup Final

Qatar's bid to host the 2022 World Cup has made its share of waves in the headlines, pretty much all of which are due to controversy. On Thursday, FIFA approved playing the final on Dec. 18, 2022, making it official that the tournament will be held in the winter instead of the traditional summer time in order to avoid the searing summer heat of Qatar. No start date has been announced, but play will begin at some point in November and will officially throw a wrench into the schedules of just about every major club season around the world.

Europa League Results from Thursday

Manchester City and Arsenal saw their Champions League campaigns ended on Wednesday, and now there are officially zero English teams remaining in European competition after Everton was eliminated from Europa League play in a 5-2 rout at the hands of Dynamo Kiev yesterday. Romelu Lukaku, whom USMNT supporters remember all too well from last summer's World Cup, scored his eighth goal of the tournament – his 16th in all competitions – in impressive fashion but it continues to be a long, arduous season for United States keeper Tim Howard between the sticks for the Toffees. Elsewhere in Europa League play, Roma was trounced by Fiorentina and Wolfsburg knocked off Inter Milan. Full results from the day here at SB Nation Soccer.

March Madness in Full Swing

Perhaps the most intense four-day stretch of the year in American sports tipped off Thursday with the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Two No. 14 seeds, UAB and Georgia State, wasted no time getting the upsets rolling against No. 3 seeds Iowa State and Baylor, respectively. Another full slate of games today will help you kill about 12 hours of your day as you prepare for OCSC match day, so whether you're at the bar or streaming at work, it shouldn't be too tough of a Friday to endure. As long as you didn't have high hopes for your bracket, of course.

God speed Lion Nation, see you tomorrow at the Citrus Bowl.