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Lion Links: 10/15/17

Jason Kreis says changes are coming, James Rodriguez rumors, NWSL final comes to Orlando, and more.

Brad Smith/ISIPhotos.com

Happy match day, lovers of a purple soccer team. It’s Kaká Day at Orlando City Stadium this afternoon, as the captain suits up for what we expect is the final time in a competitive match for the Lions. He’s reportedly skipping the trip to Philadelphia but he will participate in the charity friendly in support of Puerto Rico.

Anyway, it’s your chance to head downtown and say goodbye to a guy who brought a lot of attention, as well as quite a few goals and assists, to Orlando over the last three seasons.

That said, let’s get you to your regularly scheduled links, already in progress.

Kreis Looking at More Than 3-4 Acquisitions

So, you think that Orlando City needs multiple upgrades? Well, so does Head Coach Jason Kreis. In this story by Simon Veness, Kreis said there “could very well be quite a few more” than three or four new acquisitions this off-season.

Kreis suggested there could be a lot of comings and goings in personnel over the next few months as he and general manager Niki Budalic get to grips with a roster with a number of players out of contract and other holes that need filling.

“I am very happy with a lot of the pieces that we have brought here in the last year and half, as well as a lot of the pieces that were already here,” said the coach. “But I do think we have quite a bit of work to do to get to the level where we are consistently winning and consistently playing the way we want to play.”

Some more guys like Yoshimar Yotun, Scott Sutter, Jonathan Spector, and Dom Dwyer would not be unwelcome. The Eastern Conference in Major League Soccer has gotten better by leaps and bounds since Orlando joined the league. It’s important to keep pace by adding more talent and the scouting seems to have been sound over the past two seasons.

Speaking of Acquiring Talent...How About James Rodriguez?

In a rumor I have absolutely zero faith in, Don Balon says James Rodriguez could be looking at a move to MLS teams Orlando City or New York City FC. That doesn’t seem likely since the Bayern Munich man would likely command a salary higher than Kaká’s, but it’s always nice to entertain these kinds of rumors. For its part, German site Sport Bild called the idea “more than questionable.” Hey, don’t rain on our parade, man.

Portland Thorns Capture NWSL Title in Orlando

In a sloppy and brutally physical NWSL championship match, Lindsey Horan scored the game’s only goal as the Portland Thorns topped the North Carolina Courage, 1-0, at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday. The Courage did a lot of good things in the game but could not break down the Thorns’ back line, especially the duo of Emily Menges and Emily Sonnett, who sniffed out most danger before it materialized. It was an impressive defensive performance by both teams but neither team passed well and good offensive buildup was pretty lacking. Still, a lot of finals end up like that and congratulations to the Thorns.

By the way, Horan was named the game’s MVP, but in full disclosure, I voted for Menges. Defense wins championships.

Jermaine Jones Says Young Americans Should Play in Europe

LA Galaxy and USMNT veteran Jermaine Jones, in a lengthy Instagram Live video, said that he thinks the best young players in the United States should play soccer over in Europe.

He said: "Now, I feel like we make it too easy for the younger generation. [They] have to be hungry too, to say, I want to play Champions League, in Italy, in Germany, in England, in Scotland, and battle day for day for your position. That's not against MLS, but it's good for our national team."

What do you think? Should the best young U.S. players be here, making MLS better, or over in Europe, getting better themselves? Does one thing hurt the other?

Free Kicks
  • The Orlando Pride U-18/19 team fell 3-1 to the North Carolina Courage squad yesterday at Seminole Soccer Complex.
  • Columbus Crew midfielder Artur said it’s a dream to play against Kaká.
  • Those born on this date include noted philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844), The Godfather writer Mario Puzo (1920), Alice actress Linda Lavin (1937), Laverne & Shirley’s Penny Marshall (1943), baseball’s Jim Palmer (1945), Richard Carpenter of The Carpenters (1946), Tito Jackson of the Jackson Five (1953), Jere Burns — Wynn Duffy on Justified — (1954), Emeril Lagasse (1959), Dominic West — Jimmy McNulty on The Wire — (1969), Ginuwine (1970), Manchester United legend Andy Cole (1971), and Arsenal’s Mesut Özil (1988).

That is all the time I’ve got for today. I hope to see all of you at Orlando City Stadium later today for Kaká’s sendoff. Keep visiting The Mane Land throughout the day for full coverage of Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew SC.