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Lion Links: 12/29/16

The best Canadians in MLS, joint World Cup bid, Minnesota United makes a signing, soccer viewership in the U.S. and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Philadelphia Union
Cyle Larin
Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Hello everybody. The weekend is near, which means that a new year is upon us. This weekend, people all across the world will be celebrating the end of 2016 and will be welcoming 2017 with open arms. 2017 is the year Orlando City fans will be looking forward to most. New signings, a new stadium and Jason Kreis’ first full season should all make for an exciting year. Speaking of Jason Kreis, it is his birthday and he deserves a very special shout out. So here’s to you Coach, please help lead our Orlando City Soccer Club to its first playoff run.

The Top 10 Canadians in MLS

Major League Soccer recently released its list of Top Ten Canadian soccer players. This year’s list has been put together pretty well but what is most important is who is number one on the list.

Orlando City forward Cyle Larin tops the list of best Canadian soccer players and for good reason. Larin made 32 appearances over the course of the season, scoring 14 goals for OCSC. On top of being a goal-scoring machine, Larin was also featured as an All-Star subbing on for Sebastian Giovinco against Arsenal.

A Joint World Cup Bid?

CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani recently suggested that the door is wide open for a possible joint bid between the United States, Mexico, and Canada for a World Cup.

Montagliani is hopeful that the governments of the three countries would be interested in working together on a joint bid. He said, “At face value I don’t see it being a challenge and I think any administration, whether it be in the west or in my case Canada, or in Mexico, would be supportive of an event like the World Cup. And no pun intended, I would think the World Cup would trump any political issues.”

Julio Baptista Gets Feature on FIFATV

Former Orlando City striker Julio Baptista was recently featured on FIFATV’s YouTube channel. Baptista was accepting a FIFA Confederations Cup trophy, one of which he helped win twice in his international career.

Minnesota United Adds Costa Rican Defender

Costa Rican international Francisco Calvo has signed with Minnesota United. The Costa Rican can play two different defensive positions at either center-back or left-back. Ex-Orlando City coach Adrian Heath has the idea that he can play “virtually anywhere” in the back four.

“The great thing about Francisco is that he can play virtually anywhere in the back four, he’s an incredibly intelligent footballer,” Heath said. “He has a lot of versatility and his best years are ahead of him.”

Minnesota United will look to continue to build its roster of players as the new season gets closer and closer.

Soccer Ratings in the United States

It is always interesting to see how the United States watches soccer. Over and over again we are viewed as a country that does not seem to respect the game or have an idea of what the game is all about. Every year, as the growth continues, the fans of the U.S. continue to prove those foreign views illegitimate.

The most watched game in the U.S. for the week of Dec. 13-19 is Manchester United vs. West Bromwich Albion coming in at 1.029 million views. This game actually marked the second straight week in which views set the new record for the season.

Major League Soccer is among the most watched leagues in the U.S. as well. However, MLS ranks only fourth on the list of most watched leagues, with an average number of views at 292,365. The number one watched league in the United States might be a surprise to some; Liga MX is the most watched league on average, sitting at 760,779.

Worst Disappointments in the MLS

Orlando City’s firing of Adrian Heath came in at number four on’s list of Worst Disappointments in Major League Soccer.

A win percentage of just 33% was not enough to keep Heath around. OCSC had to move on despite how well Heath did with Orlando in the United Soccer League. However the USL is not MLS and with Kreis available, the timing could not have been better for a coaching move.

Thank you all for tuning in today and continue to have a wonderful Thursday.