Pour up a cup of Joe and check out today's edition of Lion Links as you slip into your Casual Friday attire for a day of procrastination at work.
Larin Heads Into World Cup Qualifiers with Confidence
Although his outing against Columbus last week was not his finest in an Orlando City shirt, rookie striker Cyle Larin has enjoyed a nice stretch of form since his last appearance for the Canadian national team on March 30. As this story from Major League Soccer's official site illustrates, Larin is riding a wave of confidence following his first international goal and a four-goal output in league play.
"I am coming in with the confidence that I can score and with the confidence that I can play at that level," Larin told MLSsoccer.com. "I definitely feel I can contribute more to the team now and impact the game more."
Larin's impending international duty for Canada's friendlies on June 11 and June 16 as well as the upcoming Gold Cup will provide opportunities for other Lions up top such as Bryan Róchez, Martin Paterson and Pedro Ribeiro.
Klinsmann: Time for Results for USMNT
We've seen a lot of experimental lineups out of U.S. Men's National Team manager Jürgen Klinsmann in the last several friendly competitions for the Yanks, but the German said that the time for trying things out is over as the Gold Cup nears. With the Gold Cup set to start on July 7, Klinsmann said the aim of the USMNT's upcoming friendlies against the Netherlands and Germany in the next week is to fine tune the squad before the CONCACAF competition begins.
"Are we coming here to get results? Yes, we are," the coach told reporters at Amsterdam ArenA ahead of Friday's match. "We want to compete with them, in real games. And we want to see a lot of things from our players, just a couple weeks away from the Gold Cup."
Orlando City full back/midfielder Brek Shea will be with the U.S. squad for those friendlies, so we should see some meaningful minutes for him against the Dutch and the Germans, as he seems certain to figure heavily into Klinsmann's Gold Cup plans.
OCSC Youth Defender Makes U-16 Camp Roster
The U.S. U-16 Boys National Team will hold a training camp in Ft. Lauderdale from June 7-14. The week-long camp will include 36 young players, one of which is a member of Orlando City's youth program, Raul Aguilera Jr. Get it done, young Lion.
U.S. U-20s Pounded by Ukraine, Finish Second in Group A
Orlando City's own Conor Donovan made an appearance in the 84th minute, however, the U.S U-20s laid huge egg this morning against Ukraine, being dominated in possession and play, losing 3-0 to fall to second in Group A. The game was sloppy for the U.S and Ukraine put on pressure and never let off, maintaining possession while getting a hat trick out of striker Viktor Kovalenko. Meanwhile, the U.S couldn't connect any passes together and lamented missed opportunities, including a missed penalty kick in the 59th minute. The next match for the team comes on Wednesday, June 10th at 3:30 a.m against the second place team from Group C, which would either be Portugal, Colombia or Senegal.
Legend Working with U.S. U-20s as Coach and Mentor
USMNT and MLS legend Landon Donovan has officially made the transition from player to coach as he has been imparting wisdom on the young American nationals in New Zealand ahead of this summer's U-20 World Cup. According to U-20 manager Tab Ramos, Donovan has no defined role with the team at this time, as the former LA Galaxy man is "simply another member of the group." (Unfortunately, it didn't help early this morning.)
Ramos extended an invite to Donovan shortly after his retirement from MLS at the end of 2014, and the newly retired 33-year-old seems to be taking to his new role well. There are certainly worse mentors for the youngsters to have around than the man widely regarded as America's best ever soccer player.
More FIFA Scandal:
The story of the last week has been Sepp Blatter's announcement that he will step down from his position as President of FIFA, but the organization is once again in the news for controversial reasons, which seems more normal to most of us. According to Ireland Football Association chief executive John Delaney, FIFA paid off the Irish €5 million to stay quiet following the infamous Thierry Henry handball of '09, which effectively kept the Republic of Ireland out of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
As FIFA officials continue to get squeezed by the feds, who knows what other juicy secrets will come out. No one will really be all that surprised, though.
Have a great Friday, Orlando!