Good Friday morning, Lions. As the weekend looms, so does a Sunday evening showdown for Orlando City with the Portland Timbers in the City of Roses. There's plenty of soccer to be consumed this weekend, both domestically and abroad, so lets start it off with a fresh batch of Lion Links.
OCSC Delivering Worldwide Exposure, Driving Economy
It's an exciting time to be a soccer fan in the City Beautiful. In fact, according to Orlando City SC, if you're a soccer enthusiast living anywhere in the Sunshine State, you're currently at the epicenter of soccer fandom around the globe.
"Our city once again has proven why it is the 'Soccer Capital of the South' through massive fan turnouts for events, a growing global spotlight on our city and the increased number of soccer-related activity over the past three months in Central Florida," said Orlando City President and Founder Phil Rawlins.
The Soccer Capital of the South certainly has turned out fans in droves over the first month of the Major League Soccer season, as OCSC drew over 126,000 combined supporters to the Citrus Bowl in its first three home matches. The excitement surrounding the franchise has made for a fun time, and has also provided a boost to the Orlando economy in its first quarter.
Kaká Sits Down with BT Sport
Orlando City's star midfielder Ricardo Kaká was interviewed recently by BT Sport, talking about life at Orlando City and his future in the Brazilian national team.
Jozy Altidore Handed One-Match International Suspension
When the Stars and Stripes take on Mexico next week in a friendly in San Antonio, they will do so without the services of forward Jozy Altidore. According to a report from Goal USA, Altidore will be unavailable due to a one-match ban resulting from his red card in the USMNT's friendly against Switzerland on March 30.
Jürgen Klinsmann didn't technically have to sit Jozy for the bout against El Tri, but if Altidore participates the U.S. could potentially be subject to fines and/or have to forfeit the results of the match. Not worth it when you have Clint Dempsey at your disposal, and Altidore's absence could mean a chance for another American striker to get a look against our friends from the south.
Eddie Johnson Likely Retiring in D.C.
News broke Thursday evening that the career of D.C. United Designated Player Eddie Johnson is likely over, due to issues relating to the forward's enlarged heart. United could see salary cap relief as a result, but it is sad to see the career of an MLS and USMNT veteran come to an end at the age of only 31.
U.S. Soccer Moving from Suburbs to the Mainstream
Orlando isn't the only place in America that soccer is thriving. Over at Four Four Two, Manny Otiko examines how the game is crossing over the lines of ethnicity and gaining ground on America's most popular traditional sports like football and basketball. The recent success of the U.S. Men's National Team, along with a changing youth system, are helping influence a cultural change in the States.
The Weekend's Full Soccer TV Schedule
If you're a Fubo TV subscriber like myself, you can find plenty of distractions this afternoon to lead you into happy hour. Starting at 2:30 p.m. Eastern, you can catch some Ligue 1 action on beIN Sports when Caen takes on Monaco, or perhaps take in some Bundesliga scenes on GolTV with Hannover vs. Hertha Berlin.
Otherwise, there is plenty to look forward to in the MLS, Premier League and elsewhere, with the Manchester Derby headlining the slate in England on Sunday morning and, of course, OCSC and Portland kicking things off on Sunday evening, followed up by LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders at 7 p.m.
Here's to the weekend, Lions, have a great Friday.