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Lion Links: 12/9/17

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Garber’s State of the League address, Coxy and H find new teams, Hope Solo for president, and more.

MLS: MLS CUP-Commissioner Don Garber State of the League Address Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Happy MLS Cup Day, everyone! Today we’ll learn who gets to take home the big shiny trophy from Major League Soccer’s championship game. It won’t be Orlando City, but just think — someday it will be. Whether you’re pulling for Toronto FC or Seattle Sounders FC, hopefully it will be a good match.

Let’s get to your MLS Cup helping of Lion Links.

Don Garber’s State of the League Speech

The soccer don gave his annual address yesterday in Toronto, and it was a doozy. He managed to anger Columbus Crew fans and the American Outlaws, and although everything’s totally fine with Beckham’s group down in Miami — seriously, no issues there, they’re totally in, you guys! — he mentioned that other expansion teams may jump past Miami in line in terms of entering the league.

Of Columbus, Garber said that the Crew rank 20 of 22 teams:

“in every measure that matters across sports. Average ticket price, average attendance, average revenue, local television ratings, their local television deal — every aspect that is going to determine if a team is going to be viable."

OK, cool, but no word when and where teams 21 and 22 will be moving. Naturally, his speech didn’t sit well with the #SaveTheCrew crowd.

About Miami, Garber said:

"We've been working hard on trying to find a local owner for David Beckham. I feel confident that that will come together, so I continue to say that we want Miami in the league.”

This is an interesting new twist in what Garber has said about Miami in the past. It did not go unnoticed.

What about those angry American Outlaws? Well, Garbs kinda said that Sunil Gulati was responsible for the growth of the U.S. supporters group.

He also said some hilarious things about how New York City FC will be getting a stadium and if the team was among the current crop of expansion hopefuls, they’d have a stadium requirement in place in advance. This is your reminder that it was a requirement for Orlando City — the team that entered with NYCFC in 2015. In similarly humorous news, he said Boston will be getting a soccer stadium too.

You can watch the whole thing here.

Ex-OCB Striker Michael Cox Signs with Nashville SC

Canadian forward Michael Cox spent two seasons with OCB but now he’s off to Tennessee, signing with Nashville SC. Cox scored two goals and added three assists in 17 appearances in an injury-plagued 2017 season for the young Lions. He’s the club’s second-leading all-time goal scorer, with 11 goals and three assists in 28 games in 2016, for a total of 13 goals and six assists across his two seasons with OCB. Hadji Barry has 14 goals in that span for OCB. Good luck to Coxy in Nashville.

Hope Solo Running for USSF President

I’m not making this up. The woman who ran afoul of the U.S. Soccer Federation for comments after the Olympics and borrowing a team van without permission — which her husband got a DUI while driving, no less — wants to become the organization’s leader. Hope Solo is not only running for the federation’s presidency, but reportedly already has the necessary nominations to do so. Solo’s platform includes increased transparency and making soccer affordable for kids. Those are solid ideas, but does she really stand a chance? At the very least, she’ll make this election more entertaining.

Harrison Heath to Reunite with Inchy in Minnesota

Former Orlando City Homegrown midfielder Harrison Heath is set to be reunited with his father Adrian with the Loons in Minnesota. This makes a ton of sense, as H’s career sort of went off track a bit with Atlanta United (never did trust those guys). Heath’s contract option was declined by Waffle House FC after the 2017 season and so it appears he’s headed to Minnesota United in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick. If he makes his way to NYCFC and LAFC in the next couple years, he’ll have an expansion club Yahtzee.

MLS Increases TAM for 2018

We knew it was coming, but we didn’t know exactly how much or what it would look like. Now we know. Major League Soccer announced an increase in TAM for 2018 with what the league is calling “discretionary TAM.” As if the various league mechanisms weren’t complicated enough, this new TAM can’t be traded and is spent by the clubs. This comes on the heels of the $1.2 million in Targeted Allocation Money that the league gave out to clubs in 2017.

MLS clubs also will have the flexibility to spend up to an additional $2.8 million of TAM, on a discretionary basis funded by the team, per year in both 2018 and 2019, which will further enhance the quality of play across the league. This injection should increase a teams ability to build their rosters with increased flexibility and help add high-quality players outside of their Designated Player spots.

This should make things even more interesting and even harder for the average fan to figure out.

Free Kicks
  • Kaká continues to be everyone’s favorite soccer trivia answer. He’s also self-aware about it.
  • FIFA dealt a blow to Yoshimar Yotun’s Peru side yesterday when striker Paolo Guerrero was hit with a one-year ban for testing for cocaine. This will obviously keep him out of the World Cup.
  • 20-year-old U.S. goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann made his debut with Hertha Berlin during Europa League action and his save on a penalty kick preserved a draw for his team.
  • Among those born on this very date are Kirk Douglas (1916), Sanford and Son actor and comedian Redd Fox (1922), Eight is Enough dad Dick Van Patten (1928), Dame Judi Dench (1934), Beau Bridges (1941), Dick Butkus (1942), basketball’s World B. Free (1953), John Malkovich (1953), Donny Osmond (1957), and Wallflowers vocalist Jakob Dylan (1969).

That’s all my time for today. Enjoy the MLS Cup final!