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Lion Links: 12/23/17

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Servando says goodbye, Pride players make another “best of 2017” list, FIFA convictions, Pulisic rumors, and more.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Orlando City SC Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Happy holiday weekend, everyone! I get four days off in a row starting today (if you don’t count the labor of love that is running this site) and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m run down and think I’m getting a cold as I type this intro, so I’m definitely in need of a little rest and relaxation — once I finish with the holiday shopping, that is. Ugh.

Hopefully you’ve seen that we’ve begun our third straight year of picking the top 10 moments of the club (including all three of Orlando City, Orlando Pride, and OCB) from the year that was. Our 2017 version started Thursday and No. 9 will be up later today, with one posted daily from now through New Year’s Eve.

Serva Says Goodbye to Orlando

Former Orlando City defensive midfielder Servando Carrasco handled himself with class on and off the pitch while a Lion, and he grew to love the City Beautiful in his time here. After being selected by the LA Galaxy in Thursday’s Re-Entry Draft Stage 2, Carrasco penned a heartfelt goodbye to fans and staff on his Instagram.

We wish Servando the best of luck with the Galaxy (except against Orlando, of course) and we’ll never forget his game-winning goal in front of The Wall against the New York Red Bulls. Seems weird to think it’s just been about a year since the Lions brought him back.

Orlando Pride Players Make Another ‘Best of 2017’ List

The folks over at The Offside Rule have put together their list of the 100 best women players in the world for 2017 and the Orlando Pride are well represented, as you might expect. Marta tops the Pride players at No. 4 behind (in order) midfielder Lieke Martens of FC Barcelona and the Netherlands, Denmark and Wolfsburg striker Pernille Harder, and Aussie striker Sam Kerr of Sky Blue FC — the highest rated NWSL player. Alex Morgan checks in at No. 8 (the third NWSL star on the list), with Steph Catley 57th, Ali Krieger 71st, Alanna Kennedy 85th, and Camila 89th. I have no real quibbles with their list other than Julie Ertz being too low at No. 33.

#SaveTheCrew Presents Video to Austin Residents

I’ve been pretty vocal about my support for the #SaveTheCrew movement. Columbus is one of the founding franchises of Major League Soccer and the league’s history should be preserved. There’s no good reason to move the team that can’t be addressed. To their credit, Crew fans have tried about every way they can to save their team, as they should, and this now includes a pretty emotional video message to the people of Austin, TX.

Hits you right in the feels. Good luck, Crew fans. It seems to me the commissioner and owner have their minds made up already but I do hope you pull it off.

Pulisic to Manchester United?

Look, transfer rumors are just rumors to me until they’re not, but this one made me do a double-take. The Daily Mail says English giants Manchester United have interest in young USMNT star Christian Pulisic. The Reds are in the midst of a good season under Jose Mourinho, albeit in a year when it looks like their cross-town rivals at Manchester City look unbeatable for the top spot — and despite a horrific defensive effort in the league cup earlier this week. A creative attacking player on the wing like Pulisic makes sense for United and he’d be in one of the great pressure cookers in the world, which could bring out his best. Still, rumors are just rumors until proven otherwise.

Two Convicted (So Far) in FIFA Trial

A pair of South American officials have been convicted of racketeering conspiracy in the Brooklyn FIFA trial, while a third awaits further deliberation from the jury. Jose Maria Marin of Brazil and Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay, were convicted, while jurors have yet to reach a decision on the fate of former Peruvian federation president Manuel Burga. The details so far:

The three had been arrested in 2015. Prosecutors accused them of agreeing to take millions of dollars in bribes from businessmen seeking to lock up lucrative media rights or influence hosting rights for the World Cup and other major tournaments controlled by FIFA.

Marin, the former president of Brazil’s soccer federation, and Napout, formerly president of Paraguay’s soccer federation and of the South American soccer governing body CONMEBOL, also were convicted of other charges. Both were acquitted of some lesser counts.

It’s wrong to say cheaters never prosper. They prosper until they get caught and convicted. It will be interested to see what the punishment ends up being.

Free Kicks

That’s it for me this morning. I’ll leave you with a Christmas classic. If you can identify more than five of the artists in this video, I’m afraid I’ve got bad news. You’re old. Like me.