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Lion Links: 1/27/17

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Kevin Molino dealt to Minnesota, Kreis counting on Spector, All-Star Game headed to Chicago in 2018, Ancelotti on MLS, and more.

MLS: New York City FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What’s up, Mane Landers? It’s Friday, and that’s got to be some salve to the wound all Orlando City fans suffered yesterday with the big trade (more on that below). The Lions had a fairly quiet off-season going and then…BAM! The club has gone balls to the wall over the last week or so, adding pieces to Orlando City, the Pride, and OCB. It’s been nuts, and also exciting.

Looks like John Adair picked the right week for vacation because it’s been a busy one. I will try to fill his shoes today with a selection of Lion Links specifically chosen to optimize your Friday morning. Let’s get to them.

Now His Watch Has Ended: The Original Departs

The huge news yesterday, of course, was Orlando City’s trade of original Lion Kevin Molino to expansion upstart Minnesota United, where The Original will be reunited with Adrian Heath. Rumors surfaced on SuperDraft week that Heath and United coveted the Trinidad & Tobago international but City quickly squashed talk of an offer in the neighborhood of half a million bucks for the attacking whiz by stating that he wasn’t for sale and was a big part of the club’s plans. My, how things change. The deal tied a league record with $650,000 in allocation money ($450k in GAM and $200k in TAM) coming back to Orlando, along with a percentage of any future sale of Molino by Minnesota if he transfers to a club outside of Major League Soccer. While losing Molino hurts, I figure the team got top dollar for him. Whether City wins or loses the trade will all depend on what the team does with the money. Goalkeeper Patrick McLain also heads to Minnesota. Patrick, we hardly knew ye.

The price tag for Molino definitely raised eyebrows around the soccer blogosphere. MLSSoccer.com writer Benjamin Baer explored whether the now ex-Lion is worth so many Garberbucks.

Kreis Says Spector Will Lead City’s Defense

Sure, coaches always say good things about players their teams just acquired, but in this story on MLSSoccer.com, Jason Kreis told Simon Veness that he expects Jonathan Spector to bolster his side with his leadership and communications skills. Although Spector had been playing right back with Birmingham City, Kreis squashed any confusion over where the former U.S. international will play.

“We brought him here to play center back. We looked at what he has done over many years in England. He has played extensively at right back this season, but last season he was mainly a center back, and that’s where I saw him playing for the national team, so that’s where he will fit in for us.”

The gaffer also told Simon about his pursuit of Spector and the thought behind bringing him back to the U.S.

“We went over there in December and spoke with him at length,” Kreis explained. “One of my key questions was, do you know what’s going on in MLS? And he does. He’s been watching and he’s actually done some broadcasting of MLS games in England, so he’s been paying attention to it and keeping in touch with it. At the end of the day, he is also American; he was born and raised here and I don’t think there’s going to be much of a transition, if at all.”

2018 MLS All-Star Game Heading to Chicago

Major League Soccer’s summer All-Star extravaganza will take place at Chicago’s Soldier Field in 2018. That’s not the home of the Chicago Fire. The MLS side plays out in Bridgeview, IL, at Toyota Park. While Orlando City might be in line to get an MLS All-Star Game in the next few years, to showcase the club’s brand new downtown soccer palace, Chicago will host the event next year in early August. Having it at Soldier Field will prevent Chicagoans from having to travel out to Bridgeview and will enable the event to host a bigger crowd. The official announcement from the league is expected next week.

Ancelotti Says MLS Needs Relegation

For some reason, Bayern Munich Manager Carlo Ancelotti was talking about promotion and relegation in Major League Soccer. I was shocked to learn Ancelotti knows what MLS is. The veteran coach has spent his entire career in Europe, where promotion and relegation is a common system. So it’s not exactly shocking he doesn’t get why MLS doesn’t have it. He told ESPN FC:

"I think the fact that there is no relegation hurts, because it's demotivating," Ancelotti said. "It's inevitable.

"I'd watch Vancouver and they weren't doing well but, hey, what changes if they finish last? They don't get relegated, they still get paid... But that's the structure of U.S. sports and you have to respect it."

He may have a point about incentive, but I’ve never met a professional who was OK with losing.

Free Kicks

Jason Kreis visited with Extra Time Radio and talked about how his wife kept him from quitting coaching…Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann as Superman in the Lego Batman Movie? Really?...Nashville’s stock is rising in regard to MLS expansion, while Charlotte’s is not...Among those born on this date are Mozart (1756), writer Lewis Carroll (1832), actress Donna Reed (1921), Bobby “Blue” Bland (1930), Troy Donahue (1936), character actor James Cromwell (1940), Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason (1944), Mikhail Baryshnikov (1948), Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey (1951), Billy “White Shoes” Johnson (1952), Mimi Rogers (1956), Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers (1957), legendary comic book artist Frank Miller (1957), Cris Collinsworth (1959), Keith Olbermann (1959), Bridget Fonda (1964), Faith No More singer Mike Patton (1968), and Patton Oswalt (1969).


That’s all the time I have for your Friday morning. In honor of Nick Mason’s birthday, I’ll leave you with an old favorite of mine.