It's September and Orlando City is in playoff position.
I'm not really sure how the Lions did it (or how long it's going to last), but getting over that red line sure does feel good. Orlando still has plenty of issues to solve before Saturday's trip to New England, but the club has to feel better about their playoff chances as the season winds down.
And there's no better way to enjoy that postseason feeling than with some Tuesday morning Lion Links!
Darwin Cerén Gets National Team Call-up from El Salvador
Orlando City midfielder Darwin Cerén will leave the club during the upcoming international break, joining his native El Salvador for a pair of World Cup qualifiers. Cerén is one of El Salvador's most capped players and played a key role during the team's recent Gold Cup appearance, so this call-up is hardly a shock for Orlando.
Cerén has started all 21 games in which he's appeared for the Lions, but the mid-season addition of Sporting KC midfielder Servando Carrasco should help Orlando cope in his absence. He'll join Kaká and Cyle Larin in missing this weekend's game against the Revs due to international duty.
Miami FC Announce Big-Name Manager
Florida's newest professional club, NASL-bound Miami FC, announced their first ever manager in former Italian star Alessandro Nesta.
Nesta was a star with both Lazio and AC Milan before a brief stint in MLS with the Montréal Impact. His hiring makes sense given Miami FC's largely Italian ownership group, which is led by Milan legend Paolo Maldini. Miami FC will kick off their inaugural season next April.
Nesta and Maldini were back line teammates with Milan during the early 2000s and it will be interesting to see if they can attract any other Serie A stars to their new club. It might be an uphill battle, as they'll be competing directly with the David Beckham-led club that is looking to settle in Miami and join MLS in the near future.
Interim Manager Frank Biello Talks Opportunity with Montréal Impact
In his first appearance after being named interim manager of the Montréal Impact, Frank Biello talked about looking to secure the job long-term and take advantage of the talent within the club's roster.
Biello has been interim manager in Montréal before, holding the position in 2012 after Jesse Marsch was sacked. While he's been with the club as a player or coach for over two decades, Biello would likely have to guide the Impact to the playoffs to lock up the manager's job next season.
And he'll have to leapfrog Orlando City in the standings in order to do it.
It will be interesting to see what, if any, changes Biello decides to make in Montréal. He didn't really deviate from coach speak in his introductory conference ("I'm going to give everything to this team") but he'll get his first chance to show he's legit when the Impact host Chicago this weekend.
Giovinco Pulls Out of Italian National Team with Injury
After flying to Italy and training with the Azzuri, Toronto FC star Sebastian Giovinco has flown home after failing to shake an adductor injury he sustained in a victory over the Montréal Impact over the weekend.
This came only a couple days after TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko called Giovinco's call-up a "global benchmark" for MLS. Even if he won't actually play a minute for his country this month, Giovinco's call-up is still a pretty big deal, because it was predicated on an impressive performance in his first season in MLS.
For his part, Giovinco was not shy in claiming he deserved the call-up:
"I am very happy; given my performance I kind of expected the call," he said. "It means that I have worked well up to now. But the hardest thing is to remain on the squad and I hope to keep playing this way."
He would've joined fellow Italian MLS star Andrea Pirlo, who is still set to appear on Italy's roster for the upcoming international fixtures.
De Gea to Real Madrid Falls Apart Over...Paperwork?
The increasingly public courtship between Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Real Madrid was set to be consummated with a deadline deal on Monday night...before everything went horribly wrong.
Both clubs are accusing the other of mishandling the appropriate paperwork that was needed to make the deal official. And that only means one thing...
Bring in the memes!
De Gea's move to Real in a nutshell pic.twitter.com/cWNnlsu9Yx— Valentin Avila (@thepal_val) September 1, 2015
That's it for Lion Links today. Party on, Garth.