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Lion Links: 1/14/17

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Adrian Heath eyes Molino deal, Kaká spurns Cortiba, SuperDraft recap and more.

MLS: D.C. United at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a whirlwind few days in the soccer world with the NSCAA convention, NWSL College Draft, and the MLS Combine and SuperDraft. We get to relax a little bit this Saturday and recuperate before Orlando City gets to participate in the last two rounds of the SuperDraft on Tuesday. But Orlando might be getting a couple other young players into camp through other means.

I wouldn’t mind becoming like the Galaxy and trading draft picks for assets like Donny Toia while getting our young players through the academy. But that second rounder for half a year of Corey Ashe still stings a little.

With all the hoopla in the soccer world, there’s also plenty of news going around and that means plenty of Lion Links. We’ve got a loaded schedule for you today, full of Orlando City transfer talk and a run down of yesterday’s SuperDraft, so let’s get started.

Minnesota United Hoping to Land Molino

Adrian Heath is apparently trying to land his old star. Ives Galarcep of Goal.com reported that Minnesota United has “made a sizable offer” for the Trinidad & Tobago midfielder, hoping to acquire him from the Lions. Molino was arguably Orlando City’s best player in 2016, with 11 goals and eight assists in league play. According to Alicia DelGallo of the Sentinel, the club is not looking to sell.

The biggest tidbit of information in that article might be that Molino is unhappy with his current compensation, which was $121,400 guaranteed last year, according to the MLS Players’ Union. As one of OCSC’s better attackers, it’s not hard to see why he’s upset with the figures some other players are on.

Pay the man, Orlando. It would be a disappointment to see him in any other color but purple.

Kaká Turns Down Cortiba

One player we definitely know will be here in the coming year is the superstar. With only one year remaining on his contract, Kaká has already been discussing a return to Brazil but Cortiba FC of Brazil’s Serie A wants it to happen a bit sooner. ESPN reports that the Orlando captain turned down the club’s advances, opting to see out his contract in the City Beautiful. It’s good to know that the Lions will have their DP play-maker available for 2017 even though he’s a top target for some clubs in his home country. Enjoy him while he’s here, folks.

Orlando City Executives Win Two Awards

The MLS Year-End Awards took place in Los Angeles this weekend and, just like last year, OCSC took home some hardware, tying for the most awards won in the league. The #OrlandoUnited campaign earned the club the Social Media Activation of the Year. The successful tribute to the deadly Pulse tragedy united the community and the match against San Jose was a special moment.

The team’s vice president of of corporate partnerships, Rob Parker, also won the league’s Corporate Partnerships Executive of the Year. His achievements include partnerships with Disney, Publix, and Orlando Health. Still waiting on confirmation on the stadium name though.

Don Garber Eager to See MLS Grow

MLS has been expanding steadily over the past few years, with cities apparently lining up to get the next franchise, and Commissioner Don Garber has put it on himself to control that growth for the betterment of the league. Key to that has been trying to buck the trend of MLS as a retirement league and sign key players in their prime like Sebastian Giovinco and Nicolas Lodeiro.

To help that mission, a study was conducted to understand U.S. soccer markets and what they like and dislike about the league in an attempt to improve the fan experience and attract more people. Garber has already done a great job creating a stable league with investors lining up and with the explosion of Allocation Money in the last few years and the work going into future improvements, it should be trending farther up from here.

SuperDraft Recap

Orlando City didn’t have a pick in the first two rounds on Friday thanks to trades for Donny Toia and Corey Ashe, but it was still a spectacle. Our own Austin David was on site for full coverage and quotes from the draft room floor from the Orlando City brass. There was all kinds of movement in the top four picks. Adrian Heath’s Minnesota United took UCLA forward Abu Danladi with the first overall pick, followed by fellow expansion side Atlanta United taking Syracuse’s Miles Robinson. The early shocker was New York City FC trading $250,000 in allocation money to trade up to third and not take forward Jeremy Ebobisse. And that was perhaps the biggest news on the day, that MLS is now announcing the amount of allocation money involved in trades. We’re taking baby steps towards transparency.

NWSL to Los Angeles?

With USWNT legend Mia Hamm a part owner of incoming MLS club Los Angeles FC, there’s bound to be talk of a women’s team to the city. NWSL Commissioner Jeff Plush confirmed that the league was looking hard at the market in an attempt to “become a more national property.” Vancouver was also mentioned as a likely expansion destination in the near future. The Seattle Reign and Portland Thorns are isolated from the other eight clubs on the west coast, so it would help reduce some travel costs to get more teams out that way.

Those are all of the links we have for you on this post-draft Saturday. Enjoy the breather from drafting before rounds three and four commence early next week. And remember to check back early and often for all of the OCSC coverage you could ask for.