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Lion Links: 11/17/17

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Orlando raised over $325k for Puerto Rican hurricane relief, Lions sleeping on the street, World Cup, USL, NWSL, and more.

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

Welcome to another Friday, everyone. It’s been a very interesting week, and if you have been keeping up with everything with us at The Mane Land, you would know exactly what I am referring to. If not, well, you should be ashamed of yourself, because we have been tirelessly scrounging the interwebs to bring you the freshest of banter, the newest of gossip, and keeping you on top of everything that is the world of domestic and international soccer. So let’s dive in and see what is on the reading menu today.

Fuerza Puerto Rico Friendly Donation

The tally is finally in folks. With 100% of the net proceeds being donated, the Fuerza Puerto Friendly match at Orlando City Stadium raised $327,530 for the United for Puerto Rico Fund. It just goes to show you what can happen when this community gets together to help support each other and a great cause.

Orlando City sleeping on the Street

It is the time of year when the weather is changing, it is getting darker by the day, and the holidays are right on top of us. Some people in our area are going to have a much harder time getting into the holiday spirit, and some will be even more pressed to get a simple meal, and even some will be searching for a simple safe place to sleep at night. A team from Orlando City is planning on sleeping on the street for one night to help raise awareness and money to help battle youth homelessness.

Porter, Timbers Parting Ways

In shocking news that broke late last night, Caleb Porter is reportedly out as head coach of the Portland Timbers. Paul Tenorio broke the news around 10:30 p.m. ET last night. Porter has won an MLS Cup and led Portland to two first-place finishes in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference in his time with the Timbers. It’s unlikely that Porter will be out of work for long.

Yoshi Punched his Ticket; What Else is Up with the World Cup?

As noted yesterday morning, the Lions’ very own Yoshimar Yotun is going to World Cup Russia 2018. All 32 teams are now set, so now we are in a holding pattern until June 14, 2018. There is a lot that still has to happen from today until the first whistle blows, and fan guides are starting to pop up all over the place. The pots have been filled, and it is just a matter of time before the groups are pulled and the bracket challenges can begin. I am just hoping that Peru can avoid one of the “Groups of Death,” get a decent draw, and work its way deep into the tournament.

North Carolina FC Joins USL for 2018

In yet another blow to what seems to be a daily sucker punch to the survivability of the NASL, it has been announced that North Carolina FC will join the USL beginning next season. NCFC, formerly the Carolina Railhawks, announced the move away from the NASL to the USL, bringing the number of new teams in 2018 to five. The USL has also already confirmed three more teams coming into the league in 2019. What does this mean for the NASL?

NWSL headed to Salt Lake

In even more league news, It has been announced that the “we will insert a name here shortly” will be joining the NWSL in 2018, playing in Rio Tinto Stadium. The new women’s team is being launched by Real Salt Lake, and they promise there is plenty more information to come in the next few weeks, namely a name.

Tim Melia Wins MLS Goalkeeper of the Year

Congratulations to Tim Melia of Sporting Kansas City after being named the 2017 MLS Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year (but did he get a safe driver discount?). Tim ran away with the overall vote with just over 50% of the average vote. Andre Blake of the Philadelphia Union was runner-up, and Stefan Frei of the Seattle Sounders was third in voting. Sporting has now swept the defensive awards combining this with Ike Opara being named 2017 MLS Defender of the Year.

Free Kicks
  • We knew in August that Brianna Scurry was elected to the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame (becoming the first black female to be so honored), but now we know that the ceremony will take place in Orlando on Feb. 10.
  • MLS listed its top 10 acquisitions of 2107. No players from Atlanta or Minnesota were chosen, understandably (because their entire rosters were 2017 acquisitions), but we also question the lack of seeing Jonathan Spector or Yoshimar Yotun on this list.
  • In even more interesting, yet completely random, World Cup news, here is the breakdown of teams by kit manufacturer. I may need an Errea designed kit before June!
  • In 2018, the USMNT will be in a new tournament, the Nations League. What is that, you say, and what does it mean for the U.S.? It is a new tournament for the 41 countries that fall within CONCACAF, with three divisions based on “sporting level,” some level of promotion and relegation, and will serve as a way to qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.
  • Rumors abound about Cristiano Ronaldo wanting out of Real Madrid. The 2017 Ballon d’Or winner is apparently upset because the club pursued a player that likes to operate in the wide left, right where CR7 plays now.

That is what I found to serve you today folks. As always, enjoy these delicious morsels of info on your fine Friday. And keep Mason Stajduhar in your thoughts. Cancer sucks, and I say that as someone who currently has a family member battling cancer, and knowing that you are not alone in the battle is key. Have a great weekend, everybody!