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Lion Links: 11/21/17

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Orlando City transfer rumors, Christian Pulisic discusses his life, FIFA bribery galore, and more.

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

Good morning, Mane Landers! I hope your weeks are off to a good start and you’re excited about the prospect of some Thanksgiving dinner and time off from work. Personally, I can’t wait. I look forward to this holiday all year. But enough with the dilly dallying because there are some downright tasty links to discuss today. Let’s dig in.

Lions in the Market for a Striker?

Even though the MLS season isn’t over yet, transfer rumors are already in full swing and Orlando City has popped up in a few of them. One that came to light yesterday comes from FourFourTwo’s Paul Tenorio, who reports that the club is interested in Miami FC’s Stefano Pinho. Pinho plays as a striker for the fellow Florida club, and just so happens to be the current NASL Golden Boot winner after he thumped in 17 goals this past season. You may recall his hat trick against the Lions in the U.S. Open Cup this summer. The 26-year-old Brazilian has had past stints with Minnesota United when they were in the NASL, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, and Fluminense, among a few other clubs. This will be something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks folks, stay frosty.

Pulis to St. Louis is Official

The report we heard on Sunday came true on Monday. Orlando City B’s first ever coach is gone, as Anthony Pulis was officially introduced as the new head honcho at Saint Louis FC yesterday. The Lions will have to find a new gaffer for the reserves and it will be interesting to see if they can find someone as adept as Pulis at turning USL prospects into MLS contracted players. Pulis helped move Tony Rocha, Mikey Ambrose, Pierre Da Silva, and Leo Pereira into MLS deals in just two seasons with OCB.

An Interview with Christian Pulisic

It seems like every time I’m writing a Lion Links piece, Christian Pulisic’s name pops up in the news. To be fair, the young man’s a pretty famous dude, and The Independent talked to him last week at Borussia Dortmund’s training ground. Among the topics covered are the path that Pulisic took to get to Borussia Dortmund, the family history that allowed him to secure the European passport he needed to play for the German outfit, and just how fortunate he knows he is. Pulisic declined to speak about the USMNT’s failure to qualify for Russia 2018, but he also penned a lengthy piece for The Players’ Tribune last week in which he covered the topic. Maybe a link about the young gun two weeks in a row seems like a bit much, but he seems like a good guy who also happens to be a precocious talent, so damn the torpedoes.

Update on World Cup Broadcasting Bribery Trial

As some of you might know, there is currently a large and pretty important trial underway in New York investigating claims that soccer officials and major broadcasters engaged in bribery to decide World Cup broadcasting rights in the Americas. Among the broadcasting companies being implicated are Fox Sports, TV Globo, and Televisa, all of which have professed their innocence. But wait, that’s not all because this trial has everything! I’m talking potential death threats, possible information relating to bribery that led to Qatar winning the 2022 World Cup hosting rights, implication of current FIFA officials...I could go on and on, but I might legitimately miss Thanksgiving if I do. Don’t let me stop you fine people from doing some digging on your own though, there’s a lot of interesting stuff that’s happened and the trial’s only a week old. Juicy.

Bribery Payments Disguised as...Car Names?

Here’s a fun follow-up to the previous Link. I honestly can’t even make this stuff up, guys. Apparently the Argentinian marketing company Full Play used car names like “VW,” “Toyota,” and “Kia” (just to name a few) instead of the actual names of people they were paying money to. Apparently it worked, because Full Play won marketing rights for the CONMEBOL WC qualifiers, the Copa America, and the Copa Libertadores. Oh, and there were also a pair of payments labeled “Q2022,” which seem to be related to the FIFA executive committees’ 2010 vote to award the 2022 World Cup rights to Qatar. So that’s awkward. Much like the link above, this is information that came out during the ongoing trial in New York, and again, there’s much more to this story but there simply isn’t enough space here to do so. Grab some popcorn, guys, because this show’s just getting started.

Free Kicks
  • A well-deserved shout out to some of OCSC’s youngest players!
  • I didn’t understand all of the things this man said about Leeds United FC, but he sure seems fired up.
  • Diego Restrepo of San Antonio FC was named USL Goalkeeper of the Year yesterday, edging out Orlando City B’s Earl Edwards Jr., who finished second with 26% of the vote.
  • Atlanta United announced contract statuses yesterday and a couple former Lions were involved. The expansion side exercised its option on defender Mikey Ambrose but declined midfielder Harrison Heath’s option. The club also opted not to pick up Kenwyne Jones’ option and the Jamaican veteran announced his retirement.
  • In NWSL news, FC Kansas City has ceased operations and the club’s entire roster — including Dom Dwyer’s wife Sydney Leroux — is now property of the new Utah-based club that has yet to be named. For some reason the league also threw in the No. 1 overall pick in 2019 for the new team.
  • Today’s birthdays include Jesus Navas, Michael Strahan, Troy Aikman, and Ken Griffey Jr.

That’s all for me today. Please all of you travel safely as you make your way to wherever you’ll be spending Thanksgiving this year. Be it driving, flying, boating, or taking another form of transport, keep your heads on a swivel, stay alert, and eat as much turkey as you can without busting a gut. Ciao, friends.