So far, so good, readers of The Mane Land. You’ve made it to Wednesday. The slide into the weekend and the 2017 MLS Cup final is all downhill from here.
That’s about all the intro I can muster for today’s Lion Links. It’s already been an insanely long week for yours truly, nursing a sick child all day Monday, dragging our disintegrating living room furniture out to the curb for pickup Monday night, and prepping the house for the new furniture that my wife ordered as our Christmas gift for each other (so...yay, Merry Christmas to me, who will have nothing under the tree but at least there will be someplace nice to sit and watch the kiddo unwrap hers).
So, let’s just get into the links.
Morgan a U.S. Player of the Year Finalist
The United States Soccer Federation released the names of the five finalists for 2017 U.S. Female Player of the Year yesterday and — to no one’s surprise — Orlando Pride striker Alex Morgan was among them. The Orlando and USWNT star displayed some of the best form of her career in 2017, between stints in Lyon and Orlando, along with her national team heroics. Morgan began the year nearly squeezed out of her usual starting striker position with the USWNT, as Jill Ellis looked at options to replace the 28-year-old, but Morgan earned her spot back by the final stretch of games, scoring seven goals over the final seven international matches of the year. Good luck to Alex, and she’ll need it against the likes of Megan Rapinoe, Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, and Sam Mewis.
Hey, What About Those Orlando City License Plates?
It seems like forever ago we were told that Orlando City license plates would become a thing and, so far, nothin’. That may change, as Senator Randolph Bracy filed a proposal (SB 1050) on Dec. 1 that would require the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to develop an Orlando City Soccer Club plate. Money from sales of license plates of professional teams goes to the Florida Sports Foundation, a nonprofit corporation that serves as the Sports Industry Development Division of Enterprise Florida. Let’s hope they become a reality soon. Call your state legislator about it.
A Day in the Life of the Orlando City Stadium Grounds Crew
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to take care of the pristine pitch at Orlando City Stadium, wonder no more. OCSC television host MacKenzie Thirkill found out for you and filmed it so you don’t have to do the actual work yourself. Personally, I always hated all yard work except mowing. I always found mowing to be relaxing, even when the riding mower was broken. I’d just put on my headphones and escape into some awesome music and the monotony of tracing a pattern around the yard allowed me to really sink into the tunes. Edging and trimming? Raking? That’s an entirely different story. I hate that stuff.
MLS Teams Showing Interest in USMNT Defender Eric Lichaj
Defender Eric Lichaj would provide a boost for nearly any MLS team and apparently clubs from around our league are interested in the 29-year-old USMNT right back. Lichaj is reportedly in negotiations with his current club, Nottingham Forest in the English Championship, but the Nottingham Post says the defender is drawing interest from multiple MLS clubs, including the New England Revolution. If Lichaj was left-footed, he’d make a great opposite bookend for Scott Sutter. But as he’s a right back, I don’t know that Orlando City is among the interested parties.
- Atlanta United is reportedly close to signing 18-year-old Argentinian attacking midfielder Ezequiel Barco for $12 million.
- Speaking of teams with insufferable fans, New York City FC closed an important bit of business, extending the contract of Costa Rican defender Ronald Matarrita.
- FourFourTwo’s Jonah Freedman ponders what candidate cities passed over for MLS expansion will do.
- Minnesota United announced the departure of now ex-president Nick Rogers.
- Among those born on this date are Bewitched actress Agnes Moorehead (1900), Baby Face Nelson (1908), football legend Otto Graham (1921), baseball’s Larry Bowa (1945), Animal House and Amadeus actor Tom Hulce (1953), comedian Steven Wright (1955), legendary Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads (1956), R.E.M. co-founder Peter Buck (1956), Judd Apatow (1967), Australian international Tim Cahill (1979), and Johnny “Football” Manziel (1992).
- On the flip side, we lost Roy Orbison on this day in 1988.
That’s it for me today. In honor of Roy’s passing nearly 30 (!) years ago — God, it seems like it’s been about five years — I leave you with one of my favorites from him, written by U2’s Bono and The Edge.