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Lion Links: 11/6/17

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Puerto Rican team enjoyed Orlando experience, MLS conference finals set, Pulisic to Bayern(?), and more.

Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Welp, it’s another Monday and even an extra hour of sleeping in on Sunday morning doesn’t fully prepare you for this kind of thing — regular occurrence or not. Saturday night’s friendly was fun and raised money for a good cause, but we’re fully into the off-season now and Jason Kreis will be holding exit interviews this week, so we should know soon which Lions will be part of the jigsaw puzzle for 2018.

In the meantime, we have Pride players tearing it up in Australia in the W-League. So at least there’s that. Anyway, let’s get to some soccer news.

Puerto Rican Player: Orlando Friendly was “A Beautiful Experience”

Despite dropping a friendly by a lopsided final score of 6-1, players on the Puerto Rico National Team had positive things to say after the match.

Puerto Rico defender Juan Coca spoke to the media after the match. He expressed his feelings toward the event, and what it means to the Puerto Rican players.

“It’s been a beautiful experience the whole week,” Coca said. “It’s been very difficult this past month in Puerto Rico, it was really nice to have all this emotion and all this energy of Puerto Rican pride -- seeing all those flags waving and people screaming ‘Puerto Rico’. People kept cheering us on and making us feel at home, so we’re really appreciative of all the Orlando City fans.”

Coca went on to talk about the difficulties of training in Puerto Rico right now and the team’s head coach, Carlos Cantarero, talked about the warmth of the team’s reception in Orlando and from the city’s Puerto Rican community.

MLS Conference Finals Set

Major League Soccer’s final four is now set. Toronto FC lost the game, 1-0, but advanced on away goals after finishing 2-2 on aggregate with New York Red Bulls. Perhaps the most humorous moment of Sunday was Jozy Altidore giving Sacha Kljestan a dose of his own medicine with this epic flop:

Both were sent off at halftime after a dust-up in the tunnel for violent conduct. In a fun post-match twist, Altidore called out Kljestan on Twitter. Altidore and strike partner Sebastian Giovinco, who picked up a yellow card, will both be suspended for the first leg of the Eastern Conference final series. That will be against the Columbus Crew (#SaveTheCrew). Columbus advanced after a 2-0 loss to New York City FC, but an overall 4-3 aggregate advantage. Toronto visits Columbus for the first leg on Tuesday, Nov. 21.

Over in the Western Conference, we now know that the Seattle Sounders will be squaring off against the Houston Dynamo, who went into Providence Park and left with a 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers. Because the first leg in Houston was a 0-0 draw, that was plenty for the Dynamo to advance. The Timbers were missing several injured players, but that’s still an impressive road win for a team that won only once away from BBVA Compass Stadium during the regular season. Seattle visits Houston on Nov. 21.

Will Pulisic’s Next Stop be Bayern Munich?

With his impressive performance against Bayern Munich this past weekend, USMNT starlet Christian Pulisic could find his way to the German giants when his time is up at Borussia Dortmund — at least if one club legend has his way. The 19-year-old left his imprint on Bayern Munich legend Lothar Matthäus, who told Sky:

"If Bayern Munich someday looks for a replacement for Robben and [Franck] Ribery, then they have to put out their feelers for Pulisic," Matthaus told Sky .

"He is 19 years old and has high quality." Matthaus continued. "With his confidence and his speed, he is called to higher [things]."

Speaking of Pulisic, here is an interview with the rising U.S. star where he discusses the USMNT’s qualification failure and the season at Borussia Dortmund.

Former Orlando City Target Dies

One-time Orlando City target and former Stoke City defender Dionatan Teixeira has died of a suspected heart attack at age 25. The Lions were reportedly set to sign Teixeira in the summer of 2016 but rumor has it he failed a medical screening ahead of a proposed deal to bring him to Orlando City. Instead, City brought in Uruguayan center back Jose Aja in July of last year to fill the spot that would otherwise have been occupied by Teixeira. Our deepest condolences go out to everyone who knew, loved, or supported the young Brazilian defender.

Nigerian Army Using Soccer to Keep Youths from Being Radicalized

The army in Nigeria is turning to the beautiful game to prevent kids from being indoctrinated into terrorist sect Boko Haram. The army established a soccer tournament in the Sambisa forest to further battle for hearts and minds in the fight against Boko Haram.

According Nigerian newspaper Punch, the army has organized a soccer tournament in Sambisa forest. The idea is to “make vulnerable youths in the communities unavailable for Boko Haram radicalization and recruitment,” says Timothy Antigha, the army’s deputy director of public relations. The tournament kicked off last month and will run till the end of the year. Antigha told the paper the tournament is aimed at “engaging” and “winning the hearts of youths” as well as “fostering civil-military cooperation.”

Free Kicks
  • The UCF women went to penalties after a scoreless draw in the AAC final against South Florida, but it was USF that prevailed on spot kicks, 5-3.
  • Unsurprisingly, the NASL will appeal it’s denied preliminary injunction on Division 2 status.
  • Among those born on this date are basketball inventor James Naismith (1861), baseball HOFer Walter Johnson (1887), Sally Field (1946), late Eagles singer Glenn Frey (1948), Footloose actress Lori Singer (1957), Mystery Science Theater 3000 actor/puppeteer Trace Beaulieu (1958), Living Colour singer/guitarist Corey Glover (1964), Ethan Hawke (1970), Pat Tillman (1976), Emma Stone (1988), and yesterday’s red card recipient, Jozy Altidore (1989).

That’s all the time I’ve got for you this morning. I’ll leave you with this highlight goal from alleged Orlando City striker target Jo Inge Berget.