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Lion Links: 12/22/16

The craziest MLS finishes, Lions’ new GM looks to make his mark, Ambrose Speaks about Atlanta move, Orlando City B and Pride to hold tryouts, and more.

United States v Cuba Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

You have to love Thursdays. Hopefully, most of you are about to get a few days off for the holidays. And for the even more fortunate, a Christmas bonus (fingers crossed). With Christmas right around the corner, an abundance of cheer and joy should be on the way. This Thursday is filled with entertaining news from around MLS and abroad, so sit back and enjoy the latest news.

Orlando City and the Craziest MLS Finishes of 2016

Major League Soccer always has its fair share of brilliant finishes in games. Each and every year the league’s teams set out on a mission to become champion. On that route, MLS provides each and every one of us fans with pleasant screams or head in hands depression. This year was no different.

Goals, saves, and some of the wildest finishes of the year around were abundant. When it comes down to those final minutes in games, fans always believe their team has a chance. Fans of these winning teams had every reason to always believe. Orlando City fans have reason to believe, as their team was involved in the top two of MLS’s top five. Check out the video linked above.

The Lions’ New GM Looks to Make His Mark

Just over a week ago, Niki Budalic was promoted to general manager of Orlando City SC after serving as the club’s assistant GM. He has the job of making things better and smoother around the team as previous chief soccer officer, Armando Carneiro, had caused a number of ripples in the organization. MLSSoccer.com’s Simon Veness caught up with the Lions’ newly promoted GM.

“We’re probably at nine-and-a-half on a 10 scale, trying to get as much done before the Christmas holidays as possible,” Budalic said. “I was fortunate to be given the time to work in an assistant capacity and that was a perfect way of learning the ropes and getting to know the different areas of the job.”

Budalic will be tasked with the job of helping the Lions get to their first playoff berth. This would be quite the accomplishment to go along with the opening of the new stadium. The Orlando City organization hopes 2017 will be a year full of firsts for the franchise.

Ambrose Talks About His Atlanta Move

When Orlando City left defender Mikey Ambrose unprotected for the MLS Expansion Draft, he knew it was a possibility that he’d have to leave his teammates behind. But Ambrose said being selected by Atlanta still came as a surprise.

"I had no idea that I was going to be taken, it was a big surprise to me," the Orlando City defender said a couple days later. "I wasn't that surprised I wasn't on the protected list, I only played five games … but I was shocked I was taken. Shocked, but very excited."

In the story linked above by the Sentinel’s Alicia DelGallo, Ambrose speaks about his excitement to embark on the net phase of his career in Atlanta and how hard it is to leave longtime friend and teammate Tony Rocha behind.

Orlando Pride and OCB Tryouts

The Orlando Pride are always looking for the right player to better the team and organization. If you have ever wanted to play at the professional level then this is your chance. Tryouts will take place Jan. 21, 2017 at Seminole Soccer Complex at 8 a.m. Just as the women are having tryouts, the men are too. Orlando City B will have team tryouts on Jan. 22, 2017 at 8 a.m. It will be important to register in advance as walk-ups will not be guaranteed a tryout. The sign-up information can be found in the links above.

On to Greener Pastures?

Julian Green moves on from the world-class club of Bayern Munich to second-division club Stuttgart.

With Green’s departure from Bayern Munich, one would hope that more playing time is on the horizon. Green never really earned his chance at the world-renowned Munich club and, now at age 21, he looks to get more playing time to jump-start his career. As Green settles into Stuttgart, he will look to earn his way back into the German first division, similar to Bobby Wood.

United States fans will be hoping Green gets playing time and quality playing time at that. With playing time, fans of the USMNT will hope to see improvement over the course of the contract and perhaps more international appearances as a result.

That’s all we’ve got for you today. Enjoy your Thursday and try to avoid the mall for a while.