Friday is upon us, and we're just two days away from Orlando City's Sunday night showdown with Toronto FC.
We're looking out for you, as we always do, with some Lion Links to get your Friday started and springboard you into a weekend of soccer, and most likely lots of beer, too.
MLS is America's Most Diverse Professional Sports League
Major League Soccer is the most diverse pro sports league in America, as determined by birthplace. Almost half of the league's 551 total players were born outside of the United States, with a total of 58 countries represented.
Argentina and England are the two most heavily represented nations outside of the U.S. and Canada, boasting 22 players apiece in MLS. Behind those two countries, Brazil (19) and Jamaica (18) sit in second- and third-place, respectively.
Nearly half the players in MLS were born outside the U.S. and Canada – a total of 236 players hailing from Central America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Caribbean.
Within the U.S. and Canada, players hail from 41 different states and provinces. California leads the way individually by a wide margin, as 58 players hail from the Golden State. The state of Florida has produced nine current MLS players.
Montreal Coach Slams CONCACAF Referee After Draw at Azteca
Montreal Impact coach Frank Klopas was less than pleased with the officiating on Wednesday night in Mexico when his club took on Club América in the CONCACAF Champions League Final first leg. Klopas has a legitimate gripe, as it appeared that Club América should have been reduced to 10 men in the first half when Osvaldo Martinez clearly denied a goal-scoring opportunity for Montreal striker Dominic Oduro just before halftime (1:00 mark of this video).
Instead of having to manage the second half a man down, Club América was able to substitute Martinez at the half and avoid a potential second yellow for the midfielder before eventually netting the equalizer in the final minutes thanks to Martinez's replacement.
Montreal, you've been CONCACAF'd.
The MLS Disciplinary Committee Was Busy on Thursday
On Thursday, the MLS Disciplinary Committee was handing out discipline like candy on Halloween. Defender Chad Marshall of the Seattle Sounders and midfielder Marcelo Sarvas of Colorado were both hit with fines and suspensions, while Columbus was found guilty of mass confrontation for the second consecutive week.
Marshall was suspended one game for his late challenge on Colorado's Vicente Sánchez, while Sarvas was hit with a two-game ban for violent conduct after he made contact with Clint Dempsey while he was on the ground. Both were fined an undisclosed amount by the league. Columbus, meanwhile, appears to have escaped further discipline despite being warned last week in relation to mass confrontation before being caught in the act once again in the 33rd minute of their match against OCSC on Saturday.
Charlies Davies of New England was warned by the league after revealing an unsanctioned undershirt against Philadelphia on Sunday, while NYCFC keeper Josh Saunders was also dealt a one-match suspension and an undisclosed fine following a high-footed challenge on Portland's Ishmael Yartey.
Could Tottenham Host the NFL at New White Hart Lane?
Tottenham is set to begin construction on a new, 61,000-seat stadium to be completed for the 2018-19 season. Reports surfaced Thursday that the Premier League club was in talks with the National Football League over hosting future American football games at the new White Hart Lane, but Spurs declined to comment on those reports.
However, Tottenham is open to hosting other sporting events besides soccer at the new venue, per ESPN FC. According to reports, Tottenham is planning to make sure that enough space is built into the new stadium to host other events like concerts and non-soccer sporting events.
The Times are reporting that the club have made plans to ensure that space is being put aside in the new stadium that will "accommodate the 70 players and coaches of an American football team, as well as extra rooms for coaches, physiotherapy and rehabilitation," which would be required for regular NFL football at the venue.
Spursday Night Football could be in our futures.
Americans Abroad: Weekend Schedule
Soccer By Ives has compiled a schedule for the coming weekend of American players whose club teams will be playing in foreign leagues. Perhaps the biggest match of the weekend involving an American will take place in the Bundesliga, where John Brooks and Hertha Berlin will take their seven-match unbeaten streak to the Allianz Arena to face league leaders Bayern Munich.
Elsewhere on Saturday, you can find Americans such as Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron, Julian Green, Alejandro Bedoya and DeAndre Yedlin in action. On Sunday, Tim Howard, Fabian Johnson, Aron Johannsson, Joe Corona and others will be in action.
Here's to the weekend!