Good Monday morning to you, Mane Landers. I, for one, am glad the weekend is over. My bracket is as big of a dumpster fire as the last performance of the U.S. Men's National Team. The sooner we all move on from it, the better. The Lions return to the Citrus Bowl Sunday night for a match against the Timbers. This is a huge match for my fantasy team; I don't want to put on any extra pressure on Brek Shea and Kevin Molino, but I've been using Google to find ways to get rid of the yips. It was a lot of golf and baseball talk, not so much with soccer. It's not time to panic. Anyway, I'll be in the supporters' section cheering on our squad. Let's get to today's links.
United States Men's National Team Talk
The USMNT is in Columbus preparing for tomorrow's match against Guatemala after laying an egg against them last week. I'm not going to sugar coat it: As a supporter of the team, I felt sickened by the result. Hoping to improve the squad, Jürgen Klinsmann added Graham Zusi and Christian Pulisic. For me, this was too little, too late and for the first time (I'm late to the fire Klinsmann wagon), I wanted more for our side. Keeper Notes editor Hal Kaiser nailed exactly what I'm feeling on the subject. Our friends at Stars and Stripes FC put together a list of managers to hire once he gets fired (fingers crossed). Okay, I'm going to try to be more upbeat about U.S. Soccer. There's still a chance the U-23 men's team can qualify for Rio and the women's FIFA rankings came out with the USWNT on top of the rankings. Imagine what the program would be like if they received equal funding from U.S. Soccer. That sounded upbeat, right?
Let's Talk Orlando City B
Orlando City B suffered a tough loss in its opener and is looking to bounce back this Friday against the Charleston Battery in Melbourne. Just because OCB didn't win its first game though, having the B team is a success. Orlando Rising points out the value of the team in Melbourne. I feel like the club is planting an apple tree which will bear fruit for us down the road. We want to support a world-class organization, and I believe we have one. Thank you, Phil Rawlins. Speaking of Phil, he will be speaking at UCF for its graduate studies speaker series on March 30. According to the website, The Speaker Series is free and open to all UCF faculty, staff, and students as well as the Central Florida community. Also, he was interviewed by The MLS Show on YouTube. Here's part one of that interview.
News Flash: It's Good to be Lionel Messi
The Argentinian has a fantastic life, with numerous awards and accolades and the Barcelona superstar does not care about comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo. In fact, when he returns to his home country, he gets a very warm reception. He can't even go to the theater without everybody giving him a standing ovation. Everybody, I mean the actors too, stopped the play and pulled him on stage to cheer him.
The Best of the Rest
Around the world of soccer, Romania decided to do something about the education problem the country has by replacing the numbers on the men's kits against Spain with mathematical equations. I hope this helps the kids there do better in school, but I'm not putting all my eggs in that basket. Here's a lesson for everyone: don't make a bet involving tattoos, ever. This Arsenal fan is learning that the hard way after Jamie Vardy scored against Germany on Saturday night for England. The goal was world class, so maybe it was worth it. Finally, I think all soccer fans are ready for goal-line technology now. Things got a bit ugly in Kenya after the referee awarded Guinea Bissau a goal during an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Police had to use tear gas and the match was suspended for half an hour.
Well, that's all your links for today. Keep roaring, Mane Landers. See you Sunday at the Citrus Bowl -- keep coming back for full coverage and analysis leading to the match against Portland.