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Lion Links: 4/1/17

Jonathan Spector joins ExtraTime Radio, a bad April Fool’s joke, Rivas becoming a weapon for the Lions, a huge report on the FIFA corruption scandal, and more!

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MLS: Philadelphia Union at Orlando City SC Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

Happy April and, more importantly, happy April Fools Day! Spring has sprung, and with it, comes some heated MLS soccer. It’s been a couple weeks (again) since the Lions have played a match, winning against Philadelphia Union 2-1 on March 18.

But, the long and terrible wait for OCSC soccer is over this weekend! So turn that frown upside down, and get ready, because it’s game day! There’s a game to watch this afternoon, so I’m not going to beat around the bush, and get right into today’ Lion Links!

Jonathan Spector on ExtraTime Talks Cyle Larin Transfer Rumors, OCSC

Thursday afternoon, Lions center back Jonathan Spector joined the MLS radio show, ExtraTime, to talk about the USMNT, Cyle Larin transfer rumors, and how he thinks Orlando City has a chance to make the World Cup (sorry, Bastian). Hitting the highlight from Spector’s interview, the American international said that he has full confidence in Larin and his ability, and believes that the rumors surrounding the young up-and-coming player can only be a good thing.

Spector also cautioned another young player, Borussia Dortmund’s and the USMNT’s Christian Pulisic, about letting all the talk get to his head. At just 18 years old, Pulisic is already being compared to one of the best Americans to ever play the beautiful game, Landon Donovan.

The Orlando City defender is also very confident in the Lions’ ability to make it all the way to the World Cup after a good start to the season. He meant the FIFA Club World Cup, of course.

Carlos Rivas Has Become “a fundamental weapon” for Orlando City

It’s been a long journey for Colombian winger Carlos Rivas. At age 20, Rivas became one of the youngest Designated Players in league history. Now almost 23 years old, Rivas has appeared in 48 Orlando City matches, accounting for three goals and eight assists in that time, and his game is growing by leaps and bounds, drawing praise from his manager.

Yeah, I think he’s growing,” Jason Kreis said. “He’s a young player who is growing as a professional. He’s really embracing now what’s being asked of him, and trying to do that.He’s done a great job of that so far this season and I’d love him to get a goal, because he deserves it. Hopefully it will come this weekend.”

Rivas has been a great complement to Cyle Larin and his hot start this season, and there is a noticeable sharpness to the two’s form early in the season. Uruguayan center back Jose Aja said he thinks the 2017 version of Rivas is primed for a career year.

“Carlos has become a fundamental weapon for us,” he said. “We know he has been growing a lot and, if he is physically and mentally prepared and fit, we know he can be a decisive player on the field for us.”

Minnesota, Colorado Swap Players

One day after today’s Orlando City’s opponents from Columbus acquired Kekuta Manneh from Vancouver Whitecaps FC for Tony Tchani and allocation money, MLS saw another swap. The Colorado Rapids acquired Mohammed Saeid, attacker Josh Gatt, and an international slot from Minnesota United in exchange for defender Marc Burch. The Rapids also waived midfielder Sam Cronin so that Minnesota can immediately claim him in what most assuredly isn’t part of the deal (wink, wink). On paper it looks like the Loons won this deal but Colorado is clearing cap space for an additional move, so it should benefit everyone. Cronin and Burch should help improve the league’s worst defense.

Charlotte Independence, Randy Moss Stage Bad April Fool’s Joke

The USL’s Charlotte Independence decided to celebrate April Fool’s Day on a day that was not April Fool’s Day. Yesterday, the North Carolina-based club sent out a press release, complete with a video, saying that Randy Moss was embarking on a career in professional soccer at age 40. The words “April Fools” were spelled out with the first letter of each sentence in the release. While a somewhat unique gag, it wasn’t a very good joke, and posting it on March 31 not only didn’t fool anyone, but it also violated the spirit of the “holiday.” Do better, Independence.

FIFA Sends 1,300-Page Corruption Investigation to Swiss Prosecutors

Well, this could get ugly. After 22 months of investigating, interviewing, collecting documents, and so on and so forth, American-based legal firm Quinn Emanuel has finally finished its probe into the FIFA corruption scandal.

The firm was retained by FIFA to internally investigate the organization’s former president, Sepp Blatter, and former CONCACAF head Chuck Blazer, for taking bribes linked to regional tournaments and World Cup qualifying games in Latin America.

It will take some time for Switzerland’s attorney general to go through the extensive report, and FIFA said on Friday, “it was legally barred from publishing the full reports or commenting on the evidence or conclusions.”

The United States federal authorities said they have already indicated or received 40 guilty pleas from marketing executives, and marketing agencies, as well as a couple former vice presidents from the CONCACAF region.

Go out and enjoy spring and your Saturday, but remember, you need to be on your couch watching Orlando City play Columbus Crew SC at 4 p.m., or in Columbus rooting on the Lions in Mapfre Stadium!