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Lion Links: 11/16/17

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Young Lion gets unthinkable diagnosis, more in the #SaveTheCrew saga, MLS awards out the wazoo, NASL champs fold, and more.

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Good Thursday morning to you, Mane Land readers. I hope you are in good spirits. There’s a young man on the Orlando City roster who could use your support, well wishes, prayers, good vibes, etc. More on that below.

On a selfish note, I hope you got a chance to hear me and Dave Rohe interview Jason Kreis on the latest PawedCast. He had some interesting things to say about what the club wants to do with Kaká’s DP slot, why we maybe shouldn’t be too attached to Cyle Larin as we head toward 2018, and a whole lot more. Give it a listen.

OK, now that the shameless self-promotion is out of the way, let’s get to today’s links.

Stajduhar Diagnosed with Bone Cancer

In the most terrible news out of Wednesday, 19-year-old Orlando City Homegrown goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar received a diagnosis that no teenager should ever have to deal with. The young Lion was being examined by team physicians when a lesion revealed an eventual diagnosis of Localized Ewing Sarcoma. Orlando City Medical Director Daryl Osbahr said the condition was discovered early, which should improve his chances of beating it. The young keeper will be placed on the team’s season-ending injury list for 2018. I think I speak for everyone here at The Mane Land when I say get well soon, Mason.

The Latest on the Columbus Crew Saga

Let’s just say the meeting didn’t go well. Depending on who you believe, either Anthony Precourt and Don Garber didn’t show up ready to commit to keeping the Crew in Columbus, or Mayor Andrew Ginther showed up with no real plan to somehow entice Precourt to stop his courtship with Austin. Both sides used the word “disappointed” about their meeting in New York City. It looks like it’s getting harder and harder to #SaveTheCrew.

Atlanta Fans Stuff Ballot Box, Ruin MLS Awards

OK, that headline might be half-kidding. Or it might not. Brad Guzan (incorrectly) won MLS Save of the Year and Hector Villalba (maybe correctly) won MLS Goal of the Year on Wednesday. Now, we all know that Joe Bendik’s last-ditch tracking back to deny D.C. United was objectively better than anything Guzan has done in Atlanta. I mean, look at this thing:

That’s just too pretty to win, I guess.

Meanwhile, it takes a superhuman strike to score a game winner from distance against Bendik, so Villalba’s award makes more sense. I’m not sure it’s the best goal of the season but at least it has some logic to it.

Dempsey is MLS Comeback Player of the Year

It was a big day for Clint Dempsey yesterday. He was named the 2017 MLS Comeback Player of the Year after his return from an irregular heartbeat that was treated in 2016. The USMNT striker also inked a one-year contract extension with the Seattle Sounders. Big day for Deuce. He and the Sounders will visit the Houston Dynamo on Tuesday for the first leg of the Western Conference semifinals.

NASL Champion Deltas Cease Operations

Life comes at you fast. On Sunday night, the San Francisco Deltas were capping their inaugural season by winning the NASL championship over the storied New York Cosmos. Yesterday, the Mercury News reported that the club has ceased operations. You never want to see this happen to any team, but the NASL is no stranger to financial problems and if the league’s hail Mary lawsuit doesn’t work out, the entire NASL could follow the Deltas in shutting down.

More USL News

The USL season ended Monday night — when James O’Connor became the first person to win the USL as both a player (with Orlando City) and a head coach (with Louisville City) — and yet the news has been flowing non-stop from the league ever since. Wednesday brought us the rebranding of the Harrisburg City Islanders, who will now be known as Penn FC. The Central Pennsylvania club has also partnered with the Rush Soccer organization, which should only add to the team’s resources. Personally, I think the new logo makes it seem like the club should be called FC Penn, but whatever.

Additionally, the Rochester Rhinos announced that they will need to raise $1.3 million in order to remain solvent enough to compete in the USL in 2018. Even worse, the last non-MLS side to win the U.S. Open Cup needs the money by Nov. 30 — just two weeks away. The club has seen a dramatic decrease in attendance in recent years and ownership is seeking 2,500 new season ticket holders in the next two weeks. The club averaged around 2,000 per game this past season. Good luck. #SaveTheRhinos

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City’s Yoshimar Yotun is headed to the World Cup as Peru defeated New Zealand 2-0 in Lima last night to qualify for the country’s first WC in 36 years.
  • It appears the NWSL’s FC Kansas City franchise may be headed to Salt Lake City.
  • Speaking of the NWSL, Sky Blue FC announced that its new head coach will be Denise Reddy, formerly an assistant with the Washington Spirit. Hopefully she’ll be Reddy for the new challenge (see what I did there?).
  • Why did Honduras bother advancing out of CONCACAF on the final day when it couldn’t even beat Australia? Los Catrachos lost the second leg (and the series on aggregate), 3-1. The Socceroos advance to the World Cup.
  • Romelu Lukaku is recognized as Belgium’s all-time goal scorer by his country — but not by FIFA. The governing body nullified a 2014 friendly between Belgium and Luxembourg because the Belgians used seven substitutions instead of six, wiping out a Lukaku hat trick. Imagine that...repercussions for a team using an illegal player.
  • Among those born on this date were former NASCAR driver Terry Labonte (1956), CSI actress Marg Helgenberger (1958), baseball’s Dwight Gooden (1964), Lisa Bonet (1967), Paul Scholes (1974), figure skater Oksana Baiul, The Deuce actress Maggie Gyllenhaal (1977), and basketball’s Amar’e Stoudemire (1982).

That’s all the time I have for today. Enjoy your Thursday!