It's a Tuesday morning in late September and the race for the MLS Cup Playoffs is heating up in Orlando. Oh, and it's Estrela's 20th birthday, so happy birthday from The Mane Land!
Coming off back-to-back wins against Sporting Kansas City and the Chicago Fire, the Lions will play meaningful games down the stretch this season, something that's no small feat for an expansion club. And with key players like Kaká and Brek Shea nearing full strength, this is a club that might just be peaking at the right time.
So let's keep the good times rolling with some Tuesday morning Lion Links.
Orlando City Hit the Links for a Good Cause
The Lions hosted a charity golf tournament on Monday to benefit the Orlando City Foundation, with several players and coaches participating in order to do some good for the community
You're damn right there were tweets...
Not a great look at his backswing, though Boden certainly gets points for the dramatic reaction.
Pretty nice shot from the fairway for Tyler Turner, especially with the hat game on point.
And here's Adrian Heath, who came that close to sinking it.
If you're curious what this whole event was about (other than playing 18 holes of golf while the rest of us have work/school), check out the Orlando City Foundation page on the club's website. They do some really neat stuff.
Lions Unveil "Make It Count" Campaign
In case you needed any more proof the Lions are aiming high in 2015, the club unveiled a marketing campaign built to generate some playoff buzz in The City Beautiful.
Academy Sports + Outdoor locations around the Orlando area will be distributing free yard signs emblazoned with "Make It Count," to get fans pumped for the playoff push. They also feature the Academy Sports name and slogan, to get fans pumped for reasonably-priced athletic gear and apparel.
And you know there's a hype video.
Lions Tab Scott Neal as New Stadium GM
Orlando City has already begun construction on their new downtown stadium. And now, they've got someone to run it.
From the club's statement released earlier today....
We are thrilled to add someone of Scott's caliber to our team as we continue to build and later operate a state-of-the-art downtown soccer stadium," said Leitao. "His expertise in venue management and operation will ensure we provide the best experience to our fans from the very beginning, continuing to defy expectations well into the future."
Neal previously oversaw McLane Stadium, the gorgeous new football facility at Baylor University, and the Rabobank Arena, a sports and convention center in Bakersfield, California
Expansion Plans Underway in Minnesota and LA
With both Minnesota United and LAFC already set to join MLS in the near future, the league is beginning to set a timetable for when they'll actually start playing.
Stadium battles! Season ticket commitments! Logo designs! This is whole thing might seem pretty familiar to Orlando City fans, but it's still worth checking in on where expansion clubs are at in their quest to actually start kicking a soccer ball.
For Minnesota, the first order of business is finding a suitable place to play. Their current facility won't cut it, so the club is exploring possible venues while their soccer-specific home gets built. Right now, TFC Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota or Target Field seem to be the most popular spots.
Don Garber was in the Twin Cities this week, where he signed off on the St. Paul site where the club hopes to build their permanent home.
Meanwhile, on the west coast, LAFC announced their inaugural season will be 2018, though a report from SI.com suggested that might be a little ambitious. With so many things standing in the way of getting a stadium deal done in LA, this is not a good look for a club that's already moved their starting date back a couple times.
While it's tough to fault LAFC for not wanting to share the StubHub Center with the LA Galaxy (didn't work out so well for the last club that tried it), this might not be the last we hear about delays with the club's launch.
That's it for Lion Links today. Go put on something purple.