What's going on Mane Landers?
With Saturday's loss to Toronto in the rearview mirror, let's try and think happy thoughts as the Lions prepare for a big home match against the Chicago Fire this weekend. The Lions are still in the hunt for the MLS Cup playoffs (seriously, look at the standings), and a win over the Fire could give Orlando some much needed confidence as the MLS season rolls on.
And don't forget, the club is in Kentucky tonight for a friendly against its soon-to-be-former USL affiliate Louisville City FC, and The Mane Land will have complete coverage of the match for your viewing pleasure.
But first, be sure to check out your Tuesday morning Lion Links!
Brek Shea Nearing Return, Possibly Against Louisville City
A midweek friendly against USL competition isn't a top priority for Orlando City (Kaká didn't even travel with the team), but tonight's game could provide Brek Shea with an opportunity to make his long-awaited return for the Lions. Shea hasn't played since Orlando's 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids back in June, but traveled with the club to Louisville and has been training with his teammates all week.
Mr. Brek Shea doing some agility warmups! pic.twitter.com/jpkuUW12wp— Louisville City FC (@loucityfc) August 24, 2015
Shea could provide the Lions with a huge boost, as the club hasn't exactly done well since its USMNT star went down with a sports hernia earlier this summer. Orlando City has gone just 1-6-2 without Shea and has struggled with depth on the wings.
There hasn't been anything official on Shea's status tonight (though the club did indicate he's nearing a return). Be sure to check back with The Mane Land for the very latest.
Kaká and Other Stars Deal with MLS Struggles
With both Orlando City and NYCFC sitting outside playoff position in the Eastern Conference, the international soccer community is beginning to take notice of how European stars like Kaká have struggled since coming to North America.
A recent article in The Telegraph focused on the blowout losses that both Orlando and New York endured this weekend, despite the presence of such high-priced players on their rosters. The article suggests that the growing frustration among these designated players may be due to the lack of overall talent in MLS, something to which players from the Premier League and La Liga must adjust.
One piece of evidence included in the Telegraph article is this clip of Kaká and Cyle Larin from Saturday's match:
It's probably worth considering the other factors that have played a part in Orlando City's struggles this season (the sheer number of injuries, red cards, suspensions and the whole "expansion club" thing), but this still worth a read.
Philadelphia Union Part Ways with Goalkeeper Rais M'bolhi
It really doesn't matter that the Union terminated the contract of their Algerian goalkeeper on Monday. What matters is that it gives me an excuse to post a video of Mbolhi's greatest contribution to soccer in America. Watching this will drastically improve your Tuesday...
Where in the World is DeAndre Yedlin?
Yedlin is light years away from seeing playing time with Spurs this season and hasn't even dressed for the club's first three Premier League matches. But he's drawing interest from a number of other clubs in Europe for a possible loan deal, including Birmingham City, Bolton, Derby County, Anderlecht, Werder Bremen, Norwich City, West Bromwich Albion and AS Roma.
The most prominent clubs on that list are Premier League sides Norwich City and West Brom, as well as Serie A club AS Roma. But, Yedlin would probably see more playing time at a lower-tier club, which could actually be more important if he wants to break into the first team at Spurs.
In other transfer news, American soccer prodigy Gedion Zelalem inked a loan deal to Scottish giants Rangers yesterday. That sounds a little more impressive on paper because Rangers are currently in the second tier of the Scottish league, but it still speaks to Zelalem's promise that a big-name club is showing interest.
Moroccan Soccer Highlights? Moroccan Soccer Highlights
It wouldn't be Lion Links without a grainy video of some crazy soccer thing from an exotic country. The saddest thing about this video is that I'm actually a little surprised it hasn't happened to Tally Hall yet. You'll probably get a red card just for watching this.
So the goalkeeper got kicked off the field for removing a fan from the field? CONCACAF's probably jealous they didn't think of this first.
* * *
That's it for Lion Links today. Can we get Ian Darke to do some MLS games?