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Lion Links: 11/5/17

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Puerto Rico friendly, NASL denied D2 status, UCF marches on, Pulisic shines, and more!

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

Good morning, Mane Landers. Hope you all remembered to set your clocks back and are well rested after getting an extra hour of sleep last night. After last night’s friendly with Puerto Rico, we are officially without Orlando City soccer until 2018 and headed into the off-season. While we wait for the transfer rumors to start rolling in, enjoy some links from around the soccer world.

Orlando City Trounces Puerto Rico in Friendly

The game may have ended in a lopsided victory, but it was all smiles from both sides in Orlando City’s 6-1 victory over the Puerto Rican National Team in a friendly where all proceeds went towards recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria.

In his final game as a Lion, Kaká delivered a gem to Dom Dwyer for Orlando’s first goal of the game and the Brazilian superstar was given a standing ovation when taken off the field in the second half. Cyle Larin (in possibly his final game in purple as well) would go on to score to put the Lions ahead and the floodgates opened for the Lions. Hadji Barry, Seb Hines, and Tony Rocha all put the ball in the net and the scoring stopped when Larin earned his brace in the 90th minute.

It was a fun night that fittingly said goodbye to a rocky season for the Lions, while also playing a part to rebuild Puerto Rico and give its people something to cheer about for once. Fuerza Puerto Rico!

UCF Men’s Soccer Team Marches On to AAC Championship

With all the excitement going on yesterday, you may have missed the University of Central Florida’s men’s soccer team go on to win off a golden goal in a thrilling 2-1 victory against the University of Cincinnati. The win extended UCF’s unbeaten stretch to seven and earned the Knights a high seed in next weekend’s American Athletic Conference Championship bracket, where they’ll take on UConn in the semifinals on Friday in Dallas. Host SMU will face Temple in the other semifinal.

NASL Request for D2 Status Gets Rejected

The North American Soccer League’s request for a preliminary injunction to keep its Division 2 status was denied yesterday morning by Judge Margo K. Brodie. The request would’ve granted the NASL a small victory as it continues its legal battle with the U.S. Soccer Federation over a federal anti-trust case. Judge Brodie determined that although losing Division 2 status would constitute as “irreparable harm” for the NASL, the league never “made a clear showing of entitlement to relief.” It is not yet known if the NASL will fold or continue as a Division 3 league in 2018.

Christian Pulisic Shines in Der Klassiker

Although Borussia Dortmund fans likely cringed at the German club’s 3-1 defeat to rival Bayern Munich, those who have been keeping an eye on Christian Pulisic were rewarded with quite the performance from the young American. Winning eight of a whopping 14 times when he took on Bayern players one-on-one and showing a fierce intensity late in the game when down 3-0 earned the 19-year-old some praise from Dortmund Head Coach Peter Bosz. And how about that nutmeg to kickstart the play for Dortmund’s only goal? Nifty stuff.

Free Kicks
  • Celtic FC set a new British domestic record yesterday with its 63rd win in the Scottish Premier League. The Celts have a ways to go to reach the European record of 104 set by Romania’s Steaua Bucuresti, led by the legendary Gheorghe Hagi. Good luck, lads.
  • The 2017 USL Cup Final has been set! Lousiville City FC defeated New York Red Buls II, 4-3 in penalties in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Final. It was sweet revenge for former Lion and current LCFC Head Coach James O’Connor to eliminate the team that ousted his in 2016 and move on.

The game also went to penalties over in the Western Conference but it took an intense 11 rounds before a winner was decided. It came down to a showdown between goalkeepers where Adrian Zendejas got one past C.J. Cochran to give the Swope Park Rangers a 7-6 win in penalties to beat the Oklahoma Energy and return to the USL Cup Final. What a finish.

And in the Western Conference, things are all square at 0-0 when the Houston Dynamo take on the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. The winner of that game will face off with the Seattle Sounders, who punched their ticket thanks to Clint Dempsey’s brace on Thursday night.

  • Rounding out yesterday’s busy soccer night here in the Sunshine State, the Florida Tropics opened their season with a 10-5 win against Barracudas FC in the Major Arena Soccer League.
  • In our final link of the morning, check out Cameroon’s amazing new kit made by Puma to celebrate its 20th anniversary of its partnership with the African nation. Now just imagine it in purple.

That’s it from me, folks. Check back later today for some more Orlando City coverage and have a blessed Sunday!

We leave you today with Orlando Pride forward Rachel Hill, scoring the first goal of an eventual hat trick in Perth’s 4-1 win over Brisbane Roar. She now has five goals in two W-League games.