Happy New Year from all of us at The Mane Land! Hopefully, you’ll be able to enjoy the holiday with some time off today and Monday. We would also like to wish Orlando City striker Bryan Rochez a happy 22nd birthday, today.
Before we get started with the Links, it seems fitting to have Cristiano Ronaldo wish us all a Happy New Year. After winning trophy after trophy, Ronaldo probably wishes the year never ended.
Desejo a todos o melhor do mundo em 2017. Bom ano!— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) December 30, 2016
I wish you all the best in the world in 2017! Happy New Year. pic.twitter.com/mgUxVfEFRa
Let’s get started with the first Lion Links of 2017:
Orlando City’s New Year’s Resolution
What would a Jan. 1 edition of Lion Links be without a New Year’s resolution? Will Parchman, for FourFourTwo, listed resolutions for each MLS club heading into the 2017 season. While the post was on the lighter side, Parchman suggested that Orlando gets away from its “attacking addiction” in the new year. Sound like a fair assessment? Are you happy with the Orlando’s off-season moves so far?
MLS Importing More Players this Year
There have been plenty of player acquisitions to talk about during this MLS off-season. If you thought this time around has felt a little different, you’re correct according to Paul Kennedy of Soccer America. This past December, MLS teams added 17 players from foreign leagues — more than the combined Decembers of ’14 and ’15. Kennedy names the expansion teams and TAM funding as contributing factors.
U.S. Soccer Year-in-Reviews
USsoccer.com posted year-in-review videos for both the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams. 2016 began as a year full of high hopes for both the U.S. men and women’s teams. The men started off the year with optimistic expectations for the summer test of the Copa America Centenario held on home soil, and the women were coming off of a year that saw them lift their third World Cup trophy. Both teams experienced significant disappointments this past year with the men’s weak start to the Hex leading to a coaching change and the women crashing out of the Olympic tournament. It’s fair to say both teams will be eager to improve in 2017.
Five Players Looking for their First Cap in 2017
Sticking with USMNT news, Scott French called on Bruce Arena to give five players their first cap in 2017. Jurgen Klinsmann gave 49 players their first international call-up during his tenure, and fans could expect to see some new faces during Arena’s second spell in charge. French noted that Cameron Carter-Vickers of Tottenham and Gedion Zelalem of Arsenal are available to suit up for other countries. Zelalem has also been rumored with a move to Dortmund. Perhaps more playing time at the club level will increase his chances for a U.S. cap?
Ball Boy Pranks Tim Cahill
You may recall Tim Cahill’s goal celebration, which involves him shadowboxing a helpless corner flag. A ball boy, who appears to have had enough of the tired celebration, pranked the former Everton midfielder after a goal in the A-League. The commentators approved, even if Cahill didn’t.
Test Your 2016 Soccer Knowledge
Put your 2016 soccer memory to the test with ESPNFC’s end of the year quiz. The quiz is a great reminder of all the great soccer moments of the past year. Be prepared for a stiff challenge with questions ranging from Iceland’s euphoric run in the Euro’s to England’s League Cup Final. Good luck.
Thanks for ringing in the New Year with The Mane Land. Enjoy the rest of your holiday.