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Lion Links: 4/13/17

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Sutter settling in, The Wall featured, the Lions move up in the power rankings, the World Cup joint bid continues to be a debate and more.

New York City FC v Orlando City SC Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

Hello all and welcome to Thursday’s edition of Lion Links. While this week has been hectic for myself, I hope others are having a week that is going a little more smoothly. As we prepare for a great weekend of games in MLS there just happens to be a lot of different stories surfing the web. As Orlando City prepares for a tough match-up against the LA Galaxy, I am here to get you all caught up on the soccer world.

Orlando City Prepared for the Galaxy

As you saw above, Orlando City is set to take on the LA Galaxy in the coming weekend of MLS action. Over at the club’s website, the Lions posted an interview with Head Coach Jason Kreis and a few players. Check out the video here.

Scott Sutter talked about the club’s new stadium in the interview:

“It was personally my first game in the new stadium and I was blown away by it. It was awesome and I am really, really looking forward to Saturday. Speaking to the other guys, we just need to keep this going and if we want to have a good season, a successful season we need to know that we are going to win these games at home.”

Sutter getting settled

Speaking of the Lions’ new defender, Sutter seems to finally be getting settled into the city that bleeds purple, writes Alicia DelGallo of the Orlando Sentinel. Despite being a veteran player, Sutter still felt some heat in his first MLS start for Orlando on Sunday.

Sutter, 30, was brought in to supplement the back line after multiple injuries at the right back position. Despite his years of international experience, he said he still felt pressure to perform and prove he could deliver what the team needed immediately.

Expect Sutter to continue to find a way into the lineup and add his strengths to the team.

The Wall Effect

The Wall got its own feature story on mlssoccer.com and just how awesome is that? The Wall is the spot for the fans to get rowdy and make sure their voices are heard far and wide. The stadium itself is beautiful and combined with the wall, Orlando City has gotten off to a great start in its new home.

When the team began planning its own stadium, founding owner Phil Rawlins met with leaders from the fan groups to ask what they most wanted, and the response was simple – a standing section.

With that, one entire end of the new venue was drawn up along the lines (if not the size) of Borussia Dortmund’s famous Yellow Wall. Now, given their own stand – with its low roof and steep, safe-standing design – as a deliberate policy, the two groups have turned it into one of MLS’ most distinctive fan features.

Lions Move Up in MLS Power Rankings

The Power Rankings are in and Orlando City is on the rise. Jumping four spots from 12 to eight, the Lions have shown much improvement since their outing at Columbus a couple weeks ago. Now, after the win at home against the New York Red Bulls, the Lions are back at a comfortable position of number eight. Hopefully a win against the Galaxy can further improve this ranking.

The NWSL Looks Toward Future

The NWSL is setting up for its fifth season as a professional organization and looks to only grow larger. With a newly acquired talent of the likes of Marta, the Orlando Pride have helped raise the NWSL’s visibility — this will only continue as TV deals, contract negations, new facilities and further financial stability improve.

“Interest of MLS clubs coming into the league further stabilized it and brought resources in the league,” Orlando Pride coach Tom Sermanni said. “Financial stability, MLS, federation support and where the women’s game is now even compared to five years ago – put all those factors together and now you have an environment to have a thriving and successful league.”

Joint World Cup Bid Continues to be a Hot Debate Topic

The U.S. could more than likely go solo and bid on the World Cup all alone but adding in North American countries like Mexico and Canada not only strengthens the bid, but cheapens it too. On top of it all, the U.S. doesn't stand to lose all that much either, as the semifinal games and the final will be played on American soil.

Yes, of course, the United States could do this on its own. Heck, California or Texas, each with an ample inventory of suitably behemoth stadiums, could host a World Cup. But that’s not the point. Again, this is a politically stacked exercise in minimizing risk.

Not only does a joint bid play into FIFA’s new purported ways of inclusiveness, but there’s a harder business strategy at work. See, North America is more or less “due” to host a World Cup soon. Consider this as the United States giving up 25 percent of the tournament to ensure rival bids from Mexico and Canada won’t sweep in to block off U.S. chances.

Drogba Finds New Team, Buys It

Didier Drogba was in search of a new team and after much speculation of him signing with USL side Phoenix Rising — he did just that. After a long list of wise, star-studded veterans have joined USL clubs, Drogba becomes the latest to tackle the growing league and its competition.

“The USL is a league on the rise, further demonstrated by the caliber of players who have recently joined our ranks,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “The addition of Drogba in Phoenix, as well as the numerous other world class and domestic players competing in the USL speaks volumes to the professional-quality environment our league continues to build.”

The nice thing to think about out of all of the different signings in the USL is that players overseas want to play here in the United States. I feel like that is something to be proud of and look forward to.

Drogba said on Twitter that he’ll be part of the ownership group trying to get Phoenix into MLS.

That will be all from me today. I look forward to seeing Orlando City continue its dominance at home this weekend against Jermaine Jones and the rest of the LA Galaxy. Whether you are tuning into the game or lucky enough to attend, one thing remains certain, you should #NeverHuntAlone. If you want some honest, unhinged tweets to read then I may be the follow you desire, check me out: @awesomeniemeier