Happy Birthday to us, The Mane Land. Today is The Mane Land's one-year anniversary as a website.
Go us. We rule. Other sites drool.
Also, conveniently, The Mane Land's birthday is one day before my 24th birthday. So we've got some big time celebrating going down.
Let's start our one-year anniversary by getting to some Lion Links.
Larin makes MLS "24 Under 24"
Cyle Larin was the lone Orlando City player to be selected to the MLS "24 Under 24" roster. Larin has had one of the best rookie seasons in MLS, history scoring 11 goals as the main attacking presence for the Lions. Cristian Higuita, however, was a notable snub from the roster, and as good as Larin has been, Higuita has possibly been even better as a defensive midfielder. Higuita likely missed out because he doesn't play a sexy position.
"Thanks to everyone who voted for me. It's an honor to be selected to the '24Under24' list in my rookie season," said Larin in a club press release. "I'd also like to thank my teammates as this recognition wouldn't have been possible without them."
You can see the rest of the roster and the criteria for selection here.
MLS Updated Salaries
The updated list of salaries for MLS players was released yesterday. Some notable Orlando City salaries are those of transfers David Mateos ($300,000) and Adrian Winter ($180,000). Also notable, at more than $6 million, Kaká makes nearly two-thirds of Orlando City's total squad payroll.
My last observation: If I'm Cristian Higuita or Darwin Cerén, after the seasons they have had on $60,000 bargain deals, I'm asking for a raise.
Do you guys feel the two transfers Mateos and Winter are worth those salaries? Drop us a comment.
Orlando City Playoff Projections
American Soccer Analysis released a data piece projecting the playoff chances for teams across the league. They put Orlando City at a 7% chance of getting into the playoffs. While Orlando City has won two straight, and is clearly a different team with Brek Shea on the pitch, there are still a lot of unknowns with the team that make me wary of saying they will defy those slim odds. It's very possible in a weak Eastern Conference for them to sneak in, but they will need to do something they haven't done all year: Stay healthy.
Kaká has had time to rest his aging legs while recovering from an injury, but he will quickly need to regain his fitness to get in on the field and help the squad. If Kaká can get into the central midfield role and move Lewis Neal to a substitution role, and Shea can continue to get his fitness back, then Orlando City very well could defy odds, and expectations, and get into the playoffs in their inaugural season.
Chicago Fire's Daneil Cyrus has been fined an undisclosed amount for an incident in the Fire's match against Orlando City this past weekend in which the defender violated the league's policy regarding hands to the head or neck of an opponent. In the video, you can see Cyrus put his hand near Orlando City goalkeeper Tally Hall's neck.
It's pretty clear that Cyrus did violate the policy, though I wouldn't be so quick to say him grabbing at Hall's neck was intentional. To me, it looked more like he was trying to push Hall away and just missed Hall's chest with his hand. At least, I would like to think no player was trying to go at an opponent's neck during a game.
For seemingly the fourth time this year, some Orlando City players are returning from injuries, which will bring depth to a team that has lacked it all season long. Each previous time Orlando City has had the opportunity to have reinforcements coming this season, more players have gone down with injuries or received disciplinary suspensions. So, we'll see if they actually have that depth as the season winds down.
Well, it's time to go celebrate The Mane Land's birthday with this week's beer of the week: SweetWater 420.
Enjoy your Wednesday.