As the days tick down until our next must-win game, it's nice to take a step back and look around at the good, bad and the stupid that the world of soccer has to offer. So without further ado, I give you Tuesday's Lion Links.
Orlando City is MLS
After demolishing the Eastern Conference-leading New York Red Bulls, it will come as no surprise that a fair few Lions made the Week 30 MLS Team of the Week. The performance was dominant across the board and it's nice to see our lads get more recognition as they continue to stay in the playoff hunt.
First up, Cyle Larin. Larin's name being on this week's roster is certainly no shock. After being tied with Damani Ralph on 11 goals since Aug. 1, the fact that Larin broke and then smashed the league's rookie goal scoring record against the best team in the East means that he was truly deserving of his place on the roster. Larin also garnered a nod in ESPN's MLS Team of the Week and his first goal of the evening on Friday night has also been nominated for MLS Goal of the Week.
However, Larin wasn't the only Lion who had a great 90 minutes. Cristian Higuita once again dominated the holding midfield role while completing 90% of his passes. Kaká is also listed after notching two (or three, depending on which MLS page you are on) assists and once again showing the kind of brilliance that people expect from him.
But that was not all, our fearless leader Adrian Heath was also named Coach of the Week. After heading into another must-win game and then having to deal with an early injury to Seb Hines, the tactics and inspired substitution of Carlos Rivas highlighted Heath's acumen for the game and he rightly won this accolade.
Róchez on a Roll
After notching his third goal in as many games from the substitute bench, Bryan Róchez is really starting to highlight his potential and prove his worth under his young DP contract. However, as has been a theme this season, Róchez will be away from Orlando again for the 2015 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying Championship. Róchez's length of time away will ultimately depend on how far Honduras progresses in the tournament, but it's unfortunate that the young DP will be away just as he and his club have hit their stride. However, Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel writes (see previous link) that Rochez will not miss the Montreal match and should be back for New York City FC.
The emergence of Larin and Róchez this season could also leave the Orlando City front office with a bit of a headache this off-season. Heath's system requires only one forward and, with Larin on a Generation Adidas contract and Róchez taking up a young DP slot (which means significant cap room), there is a possibility that something will break after the season. MLS analyst Matthew Doyle takes a quick look at the quandary Orlando City may have.
The FIFA saga continues. After announcing a few months ago that he would be leaving FIFA in February, Sepp Blatter yesterday announced that, despite allegations of impropriety involving a payment to UEFA President Michel Platini made on Friday by Swiss prosecutors, he will not be leaving FIFA early.
Despite being questioned on Friday, Blatter maintains the payments made to Platini were for compensation for work performed and that everything was above board. However with a nine-year gap between the work performed, the amount involved and the actual payment, it would appear that this story doesn't add up and either they are in on it together or something much larger is going on and the iceberg has yet to hit the S.S. FIFA.
That's a ‘fine' mess that he has gotten himself into
We have all been there. Parking tickets, court fees or just additional charges that we don't think we should have to pay. We have all also dreamed up stupid ways of paying the fine. Well one person eventually decided to do it.
Liverpool FC's U-21 goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux, who was out on a season-long loan to Swindon Town, managed to get himself fined by the club for turning up late to training. The fine was £50. Now you are thinking a fine for turning up late, well that was his own fault. Vigouroux, however, thought otherwise and thought it was ridiculous.
So to get his own back he decided to pay his fine, but instead of handing over a crisp 50-pound note, he decided to pay his fine in pennies, 5,000 of them. Needlessly to say, the team didn't find it funny and decided to terminate his loan. Now that Swindon is down to a single GK, it might be time for the Orlando City front office to give them a ring and let them know that Josh Ford is available for the very reasonable price of free.
Have a happy Tuesday, Lions.