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Lion Links: 10/6/17

Stadium gets makeover, futures of Kaká and Kreis, Pride players make Team of the Month, and more.

Soccer: 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup-USA  at Panama
America
The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports

It’s match day everyone! No, not your usual excitement for the boys in purple, but a day for all of us to get American as possible to cheer on our boys on the USMNT in a critical World Cup qualifier against Panama. This is a dominant story in American soccer right now, but there are other items to bring to your attention. Here are today’s Lion Links for you to chew on before those Yanks go marching in.

Orlando City Stadium Makes History Today

This isn’t the first time the USMNT has visited The City Beautiful, but this is the first time in 20 years, and it is a World Cup qualifying match. Did you know it is being played in Orlando City Stadium for the first time? Of course you did. Orlando City Stadium also received a makeover for the match, a game of extreme importance in the Hex as a win today will go far in helping the Yanks book their ticket to Russia in 2018. Here is hoping that Orlando City Stadium becomes a fortress for U.S. Soccer for many years to come.

Sermanni and Morgan Reveal Pride’s X Factor

The Orlando Pride begin their NWSL playoff push on Saturday when they visit the Portland Thorns in a semifinal match. Head Coach Tom Sermanni and Alex Morgan both say that one key factor to the late season push that saw the Pride reach the playoffs in their second year was commitment. Commitment can be contagious, especially when younger players see the dedication coming from veterans. Could this help drive the Pride to winning the NWSL championship? Some think so.

Marta and Kennedy Make Team of the Month

For the fourth straight month, Orlando Pride’s Marta has made the NWSL Team of the Month — this time for September. She is joined by Pride midfielder Alanna Kennedy, who also won the Week 22 Goal of the Week. Congratulations ladies!

Kaká Gives Details on Past and Future

Kaká has revealed that he turned down an offer to play for Manchester City. While playing for Milan in 2009, the recently Sheikh Mansour-acquired City offered $100 million in a bid for the Brazilian midfielder in an effort to immediately bring City to power in English football. As we all know now, Kaká declined the offer, although the reasons why and what happened shortly after may surprise you.

Now, Kaká is currently in talks with the club to extend his contract through 2018. City CEO Alex Leitão has confirmed that the team has made an offer to Kaká. No details yet, but the ball is in Kaká’s court at the moment.

Kreis is ‘100%’ Orlando City’s Coach in 2018

Alex Leitão also said that Jason Kreis will return as the Lions’ coach next season. Meetings are already planned for the two to meet with majority owner Flávio Augusto da Silva and General Manager Niki Budalic to plan for next season. Leitão also expressed his readiness for a busy off-season.

Bob Bradley Flies In for Bruce Arena

The pressure couldn’t be higher building up to tonight’s World Cup qualifying match. USMNT Head Coach Bruce Arena called in some familiar faces to help this week. Former USMNT Coach, and current Los Angeles Football Club Head Coach Bob Bradley flew in to Orlando on Wednesday. No official role has been given, but Arena and the boys can use all the help they can get. Panama has only conceded five goals in eight Hex matches and has a very physical defense, which targeted Christian Pulisic. But Pulisic says he is ready for it this time around.

Free Kicks
  • While we wait on work from MLS on the outcome of the ineligible player fiasco during the Orlando City vs. FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake Coach Mike Petke was asked his opinion and he freely gave it.
  • Some sources are letting info out in regards to what the outcome will eventually be from MLS and the investigation.
  • Salaries have been revealed for MLS players signed during the summer transfer window, including our very own Yoshimar Yotun.
  • Portland Thorns’ Emily Menges is throwing shade on social media before her team’s match with the Orlando Pride tomorrow. Not sure I would want to taunt the Pride right now.
  • Ever wonder how much a Ballon d’Or goes for on the open market? Cristiano Ronaldo just offered a replica of one of his four to raise money for charity and it sold for some decent scratch.
  • According to some of our European-playing Yanks, the pitch at Orlando City Stadium is firm.
  • One of the hot buttons in U.S. sports right now is what are players going to do during the playing of our national anthem. Tim Howard was asked how he would react if one of his USMNT teammates decided to take a knee.
  • As you may have noticed, I like to sneak in some music for your listening pleasure that has a tie to an upcoming match from the place where it is going to be played. This Free Kick is no different as I submit to you Death, from Orlando, FL, playing “Destiny.”
  • And one extra because I... I Believe... I Believe That... I Believe That We Will Win!

Just so many Links to enjoy. It is going to big day in Orlando today. Remember to hydrate, stretch out before all activity, and exercise those vocal cords. Orlando is going to make a big statement tonight and I am extremely excited to be a part of it. If you see me at the match, stop by, say hi, and let’s chat soccer! Come on you Yanks!