Welcome to Wednesday, Orlando.
The good news is we've reached the halfway point of the week, which means only a few more days until we get to wash the bad taste from LA out of our mouths with a home match-up against Columbus. The bad news is we've still got to get through Thursday and Friday before the weekend is upon us. Have no fear, with a few early morning Lion Links and a little want to, we'll make it there no problem.
Let's dive in.
Molino Fined for International Duty Exploits
Orlando City star Kevin Molino has been docked his qualification bonus from Trinidad and Tobago for leaving the team hotel with two teammates prior to T&T's Sept. 2 World Cup qualifier against Guatemala. Three days before the showdown with Guatemala in Trinidad and Tobago, Molino, along with teammates Joevin Jones and Mekeil Williams, left the team digs to go on a boat ride. Molino and his mates -- who play for MLS clubs Seattle and Colorado, respectively -- were apparently caught, and the staff investigated and dealt with the incident on its own ahead of the game.
Whether Molino, Jones and Williams receive further punishment remains to be seen, according to T&T Head Coach Stephen Hart: "That is entirely up to the FA to decide," Hart said. "We have dealt with it as a team but I cannot say what the FA should or should not do." The boat ride apparently did Molino some good, as T&T qualified and he scored the opener in LA on Sunday upon his return to the club.
Several Lions on '24 Under 24' Shortlist
Starting next Monday, MLS will reveal its 24 Under 24, ranking the top 24 young players in the league.
The 50-player shortlist was dropped on Tuesday, and five Lions are included: Cristian Higuita, Cyle Larin, Rafael Ramos, Tommy Redding and Carlos Rivas. We'll see exactly where these Lions fall when the list is released in segments next week, and maybe -- just maybe -- one of them will follow in the footsteps of teammate Brek Shea, who topped the 24 Under 24 list back in 2011.
Wow, 2011 was a long time ago, huh?
MLS Sets Expansion Draft Rules
The league, after deciding not to drop the Expansion Draft entirely, has set up its rules for the upcoming draft for expansion sides, the Uniteds of Minnesota and Atlanta. In the modified setup, MLS had dropped the number of expansion picks per side from 10 in the draft two years ago -- which OCSC took part in along with NYCFC -- to five, so each existing club won't lose more than a single unprotected player.
The report from Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl also includes a change in location for the MLS Player Combine:
MLS is also close to confirming that the next MLS Player Combine will move from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where it has taken place in recent years, to the Los Angeles area in the days before the MLS SuperDraft takes place in L.A. on January 13.
FC Dallas won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup late last night, downing New England 4-2 after normal business hours. The win ended a 19-year trophy drought for FCD.
Giovani dos Santos has been named SB Nation's MLS Player of the Week following a four-goal, two-assist performance across two matches last week. City fans still have fresh memories of Gio's two-goal, one-assist outing against the Lions on Sunday evening, which came on the heels of another brace with an assist against RSL. The voting wasn't all that close, as Gio's stats would lead you to believe.
Elsewhere, our Jeff Milby bumped Orlando City up one spot in his weekly MLS power rankings on the strength of its blowout at Montreal last week, but the haters at the official MLS site kept the Lions steady at No. 14 in their rankings.
UEFA Champions League Updates
There was a host of UCL matches on Tuesday afternoon, with notable results coming in a 1-1 draw between PSG and Arsenal, Barcelona drumming Celtic by a touchdown, 7-0, as well as Bayern Munich and Atlético Madrid picking up group stage wins. Manchester City and Borussia Mönchengladbach were forced to delay their match a day because of inclement weather.
That's it for this morning's edition of links. Have a good Wednesday, Mane Landers.