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Lion Links 10/22/17

Barnes helps homeless, U.S. U-17s eliminated, MLS Decision Day, and more.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Mane Landers. I hope you’re all excited for MLS Decision Day! Sure, back in March we were hoping Orlando City would be one of the teams in playoff position when today rolled around, but it’s still a game day and the last time we’ll see the Lions play until spring (unless you’re going to the Puerto Rico friendly next weekend) so let’s get hyped. It’ll be a busy day for MLS fans, so we’ll start it off the right way with some Lion Links.

Giles Barnes Starts Foundation to Aid Homeless

In his time off the field, Orlando City player Giles Barnes launched a foundation to help the homeless children here in Orlando. The Giles Barnes Foundation held its first event, “Little Heroes, Big Hearts,” in downtown Orlando and around 60 children attended. They enjoyed games and pizza with Barnes and players from both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride, and each kid was given a ball and jersey thanks to United World Soccer. Hopefully, Barnes and his foundation can continue to help the many children and their families affected by homelessness in his time as a Lion and beyond.

Getting Ready For MLS Decision Day

All 22 MLS teams will be playing at 4 p.m. ET today for the last 2017 regular season matches on what is dubbed MLS Decision Day. So cancel your evening plans and charge up your devices so you can check in around the league during Orlando City’s match against the Philadelphia Union. With the Lions already eliminated, this Decision Day doesn’t carry as much edge for us Mane Landers, but there are still plenty of storylines worth keeping an eye on as the night progresses, including many MVP candidates hoping to put on a show for voters.

U.S. Loses in 2017 U-17 World Cup Quarterfinals

In a quarterfinal match-up with England in the U-17 World Cup, the United States lost 4-1 in a game that felt a lot closer than the result. Billed to be a shootout between two of the most lethal attacking teams in the tournament, the U.S. simply couldn’t connect on a lot of its shots, whereas it was open season for England. The lone goal for the Baby Nats came late in the 74th minute when Josh Sargent jumped on a loose ball in the box.

Austin Far From a Perfect Destination for Anthony Precourt

Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt enraged most of the American soccer world when he threatened to move the club to Austin, TX, in 2019 if the city couldn’t get him a new stadium to replace the 19-year-old Mapfre Stadium. But is Austin even worth all this trouble? Charles Boehm of FourFourTwo dove into the soccer history of Austin and discovered that while it carries a certain amount of allure for soccer pioneers, there is also a high level of risk in a city that Orlando City’s Life-President Phil Rawlins left after failing to turn a profit.

Former U.S. International Joins Crowded USSF Presidential Race

Eric Wynalda, who had 106 caps and 34 goals for the United States, has announced that he will throw his hat in the ring to be the next USSF President. With a platform focused on reshaping MLS, Wynalda hopes to change the MLS schedule to mirror those in Europe and push for equal pay between the USMNT and USWNT. Wynalda will be going against attorney Steve Gans and incumbent Sunil Gulati, with rumblings of both fellow ex-player Landon Donovan and former American Indoor Soccer League President Paul Lapointe interested as well. The election should be a doozy and it’ll all come to a head right here in Orlando on Feb. 8-11 at U.S. Soccer’s annual general meeting.

Free Kicks
  • The folks over at Bleacher Report were bored kind enough to put together a 28-point plan for the USMNT to bounce back.
  • Has Liga MX surpassed MLS after the USMNT’s World Cup fallout? It’s a tough sell but the argument has been made, complete with a pretty awesome Street Fighter graphic.
  • NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira has some pretty strong beliefs in MLS. Don’t laugh. This league can already compete with European leagues. Like those in Luxembourg, and Poland, and uhm...I’m stumped.

That’s all I’ve got for you guys on what should be a glorious soccer-filled Sunday. It’s been a wild ride of a season and we’ve got one last time to grab a beer and scream our heads off for our Lions.

Check back later today for full coverage of the USWNT’s friendly against South Korea and Orlando City at Phildelphia.