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Lion Links: 11/23/17

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Kaká’s job interview, Pride players up for CONCACAF Awards, Michael Bradley disses the Crew, and more.

Turkeys Raised On California Farm Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! It’s that annual day we Americans like to sit around, eat and drink too much, watch sports on TV, and ignore all the annoying things our families are doing.

No no, the other day we Americans like to sit around, eat and drink too much, watch sports on TV, and ignore all the annoying things our families are doing. Anyway, whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, we hope you have a great day.

Before we get into the news, I wanted to let everyone know about a big sale at our Mane Land shop that is good all day from Black Friday (tomorrow) through Cyber Monday (Nov. 27). By using the code SBNCYBER15 you can get a full 15% off your purchase of our various shirts. Here’s a link to our store. We’re working on some new designs but for now we have two. I’m partial to this one, which comes in various styles:

Now, here are some tasty Lion Links for you to chew on while you wait for the main course.

Kaká Could Go Work for AC Milan

According to Todo Mercado Web, former Orlando City captain Kaká was headed to Italy to discuss a possible executive position with AC Milan. According to the site,

A cordial talk between the parties is expected and a mutual collaboration for the future will be discussed.

The former Lion is also due to speak with Sao Paulo after the Brazilian side’s season concludes, so Kaká’s playing days may not necessarily be over. Stay tuned.

Orlando City Has Biggest Rebuilding Job

Old friend Paul Tenorio over at FourFourTwo wrote about the five biggest MLS renovation projects and he’s got Orlando City right at the top of his list. I don’t disagree that there’s a rebuild going on but I think it was a bigger one before 2017 than it is now, after the additions of Yoshimar Yotun, Jonathan Spector, Scott Sutter, and Dom Dwyer. As Tenorio points out, Dwyer is without a long-term contract but I remain convinced it will get done. Some of the dead weight is gone and I think a few more will go before March. How does Tenorio see the rebuild?

So, what does Orlando City have to do? They have some nice core pieces in place – Joe Bendik, Jonathan Spector, Yoshi Yotun, Will Johnson and Dwyer up the spine of this team. Scott Sutter showed well at right back. Donny Toia is a decent MLS left back. Everything else is up for grabs. Four starting jobs still need to be claimed, including a playmaker to replace Kaka, a center back to pair with Spector and two midfielders that can keep the ball and cover ground defensively.

He also points out the team’s depth, which is certainly an issue right now, but it remains to be seen if some players are brought back at a lower price and if Yotun is the kind of DP the club now covets, I think we’ll see a big upgrade at No. 10 for 2018. Of course, that might be my purple-tinted glasses.

Orlando’s Aussies Help Matildas Win Again

Orlando Pride stars Steph Catley and Alanna Kennedy both started for Australia in a 3-0 win over China in Melbourne in the wee hours of Wednesday morning Eastern Time. The Pride duo helped keep a clean sheet, while former Pride forward Lisa De Vanna also started and former Orlando defender Laura Alleway was on the substitute’s bench. Catley came off at halftime with her team ahead, 1-0.

Sam Kerr scored a brace and Tameka Butt added a goal as the Matildas won their sixth consecutive match. The teams will play again on Sunday in Geelong.

Pride Players Shortlisted for CONCACAF Awards

The CONCACAF Awards shortlists were announced yesterday and are available for fan and media voting. There are plenty of Orlando Pride folks to vote for, including Alex Morgan up for Female Player of the Year, Ashlyn Harris for Female Goalkeeper of the Year, Ali Krieger among the defenders, and Tom Sermanni for top coach in the women’s game. But, since CONCACAF included Aussie star Sam Kerr, who plays pro soccer within the CONCACAF footprint in the NWSL, it’s curious that the organization did not include Marta. [/CONCACAF’d] On the men’s side, you can vote for Christian Pulisic and several other MLS and USMNT players for the various awards.

Bradley Throws Shade at Columbus

Following Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw between the Columbus Crew and Toronto FC, midfielder Michael Bradley talked openly about how Columbus just isn’t getting it done and he wouldn’t blame ownership for moving the team to Austin. But sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it. Bradley, who had spent 90 minutes being booed by a crowd of 21,000+ had this to say:

"On one hand, you feel for the small group of loyal supporters that they have, who have been here since the beginning, who continue to support the team and come out week after week," Bradley said.

"On the other hand, you can't deny the fact that things here have really fallen behind in terms of the atmosphere in the stadium, the quality of the stadium, what it’s like to play here. I don’t know who’s at fault for that.

"From what I gather, there’s a lot going on and I get that and as an outsider I don’t know what that falls on, but again the reality is just that, as the league has continued to grow and grow, and this is not the only one, but this is one of a few markets that has not kept pace."

Hey, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, and in some ways the Crew haven’t grown like some teams have around the league — though you could argue fairly successfully that the man who wants to move the team is firmly to blame for some of that lack of growth — but to use words like “small group of loyal fans” is being intentionally nasty. Bradley’s next reception at Mapfre Stadium is likely to be a little frostier than the boos he got on Tuesday. Should be fun.

Free Kicks
  • Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann wants to follow in David Beckham’s footsteps and play in MLS some day. I’ve got a purple kit for him if he can be here by March.
  • Beverly Hills parents drive a kids’ soccer ref to quit. You don’t want to miss the parting letter to the parents.
  • Australia made the World Cup but manager Ange Postecoglou has stepped down as the team’s coach.
  • Those born on this date include 14th U.S. President, Franklin Pierce (1804), horror film star Boris Karloff (1887), Harpo Marx (1888), baseball’s Luis Tiant (1940), Bruce Hornsby (1954), Grease 2 and Empire Records actor Maxwell Caulfield (1959), Nerdist CEO and Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick (1971), hockey’s Saku Koivu (1974) and Nicklas Backstrom (1987), and Miley Cyrus (1992).

That’s all my time on this festive holiday. Please have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. And if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, you could always celebrate Rex Manning Day.