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Lion Links: 12/12/17

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OCB year in review, the rebuilding process, no retirement league to see here, and more!

Major League Soccer Awards New Los Angeles Club, Announces Owners Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for LAFC

Good morning and happy Expansion Draft day. We’ll finally be getting an idea of how newcomer LAFC’s roster will look. Not only that, but we’ve also got plenty of other news to go through with you, so pull up a chair and let’s get cracking.

Factors in the Rebuilding Process

In case you weren’t aware, OCSC is currently in the midst of rebuilding the squad, following the departure of several big names like Kaká, Antonio Nocerino, and Giles Barnes. There’s been a lot of talk surrounding Cyle Larin and his desire to move abroad to Europe, and that certainly hasn’t changed. With the cap space already freed up and the possibility of more on the way, General Manager Niki Budalic expects the club to sign “anywhere from eight to 12 new players.” He also thinks that a few of those deals should even be finalized for Christmas. Sounds like a pretty good Christmas present to me.

OCB Year in Review

Orlando City B was a mixed bag as far as last season went. One of the best defensive records in the league, and an increase in wins and draws were among the positives; the most obvious negative being that the club missed out on the postseason. It was certainly a disappointment after making the postseason in the club’s first season of existence, but with a strong core of young talent there are plenty of things to look forward to in the future.

MLS Not a Retirement League

Some of you may have heard some rumors about Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski eventually taking his talents to MLS, specifically to a team in Los Angeles. It’s important to stress that in all of these conversations the Polish international wouldn’t be coming overseas until the twilight of his career. Not everyone is enthused about the idea though, with FC Dallas Technical Director Fernando Clavijo stating that he wants players in the league that come to work hard, not perform at half speed and then go hit the beach with a drink in hand.

“If someone wants to come to my team with the intention of retiring, with the greatest of respect to their career, we only want players who come to play...This league is not for retiring. This is to prove yourself. If you are a professional who has had a great career, this is not somewhere to retire.”

Good for you, Fernando. While I’m all for big-name players taking their talents to MLS, I’m not interested in them coming to retire here. The days of that sort of thing are getting farther and farther in the rear-view mirror and MLS teams should acknowledge and take pride in that.

UEFA Champions League Ties Announced

With the MLS season officially wrapping up on Saturday, we must now turn our attention almost exclusively overseas for our weekly dose of the beautiful game. And like rats fleeing from a sinking ship to a sturdy one, the UEFA Champions League has given us some knockout matches to obsess about.

Of course, by the time the first legs of these match-ups actually take place, there will only be a little under a month until the MLS season kicks back up again, so aside from predicting what might happen in them, this news won’t do much to tide over a soccer-starved soul. But boy oh boy, are there some doozies in there or what?

Free Kicks
  • Oh, dear.
  • Today’s birthdays include the late Frank Sinatra, Bob Barker, and Bill Nighy.

That’s all for me today, keep your eyes on that Expansion Draft — it’s set to start at 2 p.m. ET!