Hey, everyone! A holiday is upon us, time to rev up the Christmas music, but only after you’ve eaten your Thanksgiving meal, alright? Seriously, no jumping the gun. Thanksgiving is a glorious holiday to make us all feel great about wearing sweatpants as an everyday item. And if you start too early it’s like going to the Free Kicks before you read the links. It’s just not right.
Lions Linked to Uruguayan International Attacker
The silly season is indeed upon us. In yesterday’s Lion Links we discussed the interest Orlando City reportedly has in Miami FC striker Stefano Pinho. Today, it’s an attacking midfielder from Uruguay making the papers. Globo.com reports that Brazilian Serie A side Cruzeiro has turned down a bid from Orlando City for Giorgian De Arrascaeta.
We cannot confirm that the club has even made a formal offer for Arrascaeta, and the price tag seems on the high side at $6 million considering the club doesn’t seem interested in spending Kaká-level money, but the 23-year-old could potentially be that No. 10 the Lions are looking for. He’s got 15 goals and 11 assists in 67 appearances over the last three seasons at Cruzeiro according to whoscored.com. He also has scored one goal in seven appearances with Uruguay. We’ll continue to monitor this rumor and all others that come across our desks.
Ant Says Farewell
If you didn't already know, Anthony Pulis has moved on to St. Louis. While we are very sad to see him go, we wish him nothing but the best as he is one of the best young coaches in the USL (we might be biased).
As part of the organization since 2012, Pulis has a very strong connection with us Mane Landers and the Orlando soccer community. It’s no surprise he continued to show class with this final goodbye:
Thanks to everyone for your kind messages of support. A few words to express my gratitude... pic.twitter.com/cj9rxswRVI— Anthony Pulis (@antpulis) November 21, 2017
Orlando Executives Raise Awareness for Homelessness
One of the best aspects of the the organization — in my humble opinion — has always been its outreach and community interaction. This week was no different as a number of executives joined other Orlando business executives in a “sleep-out” event at Covenant House. Additionally, they raised money for the homeless with a $175,000 goal in mind.
Orlando City’s Mackenzie Thirkill joined in, and you can see part of the experience and donate here:
Last night all I had was a sleeping bag & cardboard box to get me through the night. That was only for a night, that's how some people live daily.— Mackenzie Thirkill (@KenzieThirkill) November 21, 2017
Let's put a stop to homeless youth: https://t.co/mYYpIUpvUZ pic.twitter.com/QrxH5AxnzA
Get Your Phones Ready, Orlando City Doubles Down On Mobile Entry
Orlando City has extended its partnership with Ticketmaster, so get your mobile devices ready for 2018. It’s been a hot topic as a combination of entrance flow, internet/cellular access, and user error does cause some issues — and lack of stubs for collectors is a loss — but overall it has been a very successful introduction of mobile entry for the club as they've been able to improve and increase fan engagement while eliminating counterfeit ticket fraud.
The good news is the new system will feature Ticketmaster’s easy to use “tap and go” venue entry system, which should alleviate some of the issues as well. For season ticket holders, they are still offering the physical cards (if you opt in by Dec. 1), but for the rest, mobile entry is the new standard. One of the more interesting aspects of the partnership is that the club will be bringing more live entertainment events to the stadium through Live Nation.
MLS Semis Underway
The Seattle Sounders took a big step toward a return trip to the MLS Cup final with a 2-0 away win at Houston Dynamo last night in the first leg of the Western Conference finals. On the other side of the bracket, Columbus Crew SC and Toronto FC drew 0-0 in Ohio. That’s a tough result for the Crew because TFC had no Sebastian Giovinco or Jozy Altidore. Both will be back for the second leg at BMO Field.
Morgan Brian Close To Lyon Move
While this rumor has been floating around for quite some time, it looks like it’s all but certain that U.S. Women’s National Team and Chicago Red Stars midfielder Morgan Brian is set to join French giants Olympique Lyonnais.
Brian, who has been dealing with injuries this season, will join the French champions for a reported two and a half years. This is different from Alex Morgan’s move, which was very much set to be a back-and-forth loan deal where Morgan would come back to the NWSL, whereas Brian is set to leave altogether. In the interest of a better national team, I have to hope the years Brian spends at Lyon do exactly what Morgan’s time did for her. Wish her best of luck if this really proves true.
- Three soccer officials are banned for life due to bribes. FIFA gonna FIFA.
- The NASL continues to have issues with rumors of teams leaving
Hearing that FC Edmonton will not participate in a 2018 #NASL season and will likely take a year off before CanPL launch. SF Deltas also unlikely to participate unless a new investor is found. Potential NASL 2018 would feature 12-13 teams.— Chris Kivlehan (@kivlehan) November 21, 2017
- Zlatan actually lost at something. I don’t think it’s a real thing. Lions never lose. He won Forward of the Year but lost Sweden’s Footballer of the Year honor after a 10-year run.
- Yordy Reyna, Claudio Reyna’s son, is in a horrible situation as he’s being questioned in relation to a murder investigation.
- Bob Bradley is pulling from his old national program for an LAFC Discovery Player, Omar Gaber, who is World Cup bound with Egypt
- Chicago Fire are set to be getting some in-town competition in 2020 with a new USL team.
- Everton striker Oumar Niasse is the first to be retroactively charged by the English FA for simulation.
So, have a great Thanksgiving and, per usual, I like to leave you with a good laugh. We all know Ant is gone, but maybe St. Louis is going for the bait-and-switch with good ole dad. Gotta shoot for the moon!