Welcome to the Friday edition of Lion Links. There’s a surprising amount of news for this time of the year. So as we head into the weekend, let’s head into the links. But just before that, let’s wish Orlando Pride forward Sarah Hagen a happy birthday!
OCB End of the Year Review
Orlando City may not have made the playoffs, but OCB did. It was a successful year for the new USL side. Anthony Pulis’ team may not have been great, but the young Lions certainly made a statement in year one. It’s hard to argue with a playoff run, developing players for the MLS squad, and creating opportunities for growth — all in the club’s first year.
Robbie Keane is Leaving LA
Fast on the heels of Steven Gerrard heading back to Liverpool, Robbie Keane has announced that he is leaving the LA Galaxy after five years when his contract is over at the end of the year. No word as of yet where the Irishman is heading, but he has said he’s ready for one last club challenge.
Frank Lampard to Orlando City?
With Stevie and Robbie leaving the MLS, it would have been no surprise that NYCFC’s Frank Lampard would also depart as his contract there has expired. It seems that he’s not ready to go into retirement, and that means that Orlando City is knee deep in the rumor mill about where he might end up. The other rumored team? LA Galaxy, of course.
Potential Klinsmann Replacements?
Who knows if Klinsmann will be retained as the skipper of the U.S. Men’s National Team? Despite no definitive reports, there are already rumors about who might be in the running to replace him. The three names being thrown about are former USMNT and current LA Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena, U.S. U-20 Head Coach Tab Ramos, and Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes. Most agree that Klinsmann needs to go, but the questions still remains if that will happen. In the meantime, we get to speculate and argue.
2017 Florida Cup teams are set
This January, the third annual Florida Cup will descend upon Central Florida. There’s a definite South American flavor this year with six of the 14 teams coming from Brazil. Here’s the full list:
FC Challenge: Bayer Leverkusen (GER), VfL Wolfsburg (GER), Tampa Bay Rowdies (USA), Estudiantes de la Plata (ARG), CR Flamengo (BRA) and Clube Atletico Mineiro (BRA).
FC Playoff: SC Corinthians (BRA), Barcelona SC (ECU), Club Atlético River Plate (ARG), SC Internacional (BRA), Sao Paulo FC (BRA), Millonarios (COL), Vasco da Gama (BRA), Shanghai SIPG (CHN).
Representing Florida will be the former NASL — now USL — team, the Tampa Bay Rowdies. There will be stars playing as well, with Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, Robson “Robhino” de Souza, and Givanildo “Hulk” Vieira de Sousa representing their respective clubs. Orlando City’s own Julio Baptista will play in an All-Star match.
Well, that’s going to do it for your Friday Lion Links. Have a great weekend, and keep checking in with us throughout your day for more Orlando City news.