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Lion Links: 9/24/16

The story of Cyle Larin’s meteoric rise, how Dom Dwyer and OCSC changed MLS, a lifeline for Ft. Lauderdale, and more.

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MLS: Orlando City SC at Sporting KC John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a match day Saturday and Orlando City has a huge showdown with D.C. United on the docket for positioning in the East. The Pride are also closing out their inaugural season against FC Kansas City, and it will be Becky Edwards’ final match of her seven-year career.

Everyone here at The Mane Land would like to wish former FSU and current Pride forward Jamia Fields a happy birthday! She turns 23 today and hopefully she and the rest of the team can celebrate with three points over FCKC. It would be a great way to wrap up Edwards’ career and the Pride’s positive first season in the NWSL.

Larin’s Rise to Stardom

Orlando City’s number one choice up top was recently voted the league’s top player under 24, so’s Simon Veness gave an in-depth look at the young Canadian’s path to the top and what could lie in his immediate future. Veness catalogs Larin’s time in youth soccer — where he played as a goalkeeper and center back originally — in Brampton, Ontario, through his time with Orlando City and his potential. Phil Rawlins made it clear that there are no offers on the table yet for the young star, but that the club is prepared to deal with the certain interest in him. Larin’s teammates and former USMNT striker Brian McBride also discuss what Larin is like on and off the field.

How Dom Dwyer’s Loan to Orlando City Changed MLS

Dwyer’s time in Orlando did not seemingly just carry OCSC to its second USL title. It also proved to be the proof that the developmental relationship between the USL and MLS could provide tangible benefits for both sides. MLS clubs have been utilizing partner clubs and fully-fledged reserve sides like Orlando City B and it is creating one of the largest young talent pools that the league has seen. Independent clubs are also taking on younger MLS castoffs like Sean Okoli, who spent time with Seattle and New England and is now starring for FC Cincinnati. While Dwyer still stands as the pinnacle of USL development to MLS success, surely there will be more, thanks to the path that he and Orlando City set.

Qataris Interested in Fort Lauderdale Strikers

With the NASL threatened by recent losses and rumors of more clubs on the way out, one of the league’s most storied franchises has received a boost. The Fort Lauderdale Strikers have received interest from PSG Academy Florida about buying the club. The PSG Academy already has a stake in southeast Florida soccer with FC Miami City of the PDL. With rumors swirling about the Strikers being unable to pay players and potentially needing the NASL to take over, having wealthy and stable backers would be crucial for the survival of the club and, potentially, the league.

Iceland National Side not in FIFA 17

After a dispute between Iceland’s football association (KSI) and EA Sports, one of the best stories from EURO 2016 will not feature in this year’s edition of the popular video game. EA offered the association over $17,000 for the team’s image rights and refused to compromise when the KSI counter-offered. Iceland made a name for themselves this summer thanks to their surprising victories over Europe’s elite and their thunderclap chant and developed a near-cult following, so it will be disappointing not to see them involved.

Those are all of your links for today. Be sure to check back in for all of our coverage of both the Orlando City and Pride matches tonight.