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Lion Links: 4/7/17

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Kaká injury update, Sarah Hagen waived, Pride players travel to Brazil for international duty, USL media expansion, and more.

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

Hello. It is Friday. I have news for you. You have to read it to find out what it’s about. But to get the news you have to give me something. Give me your memes. Give me your memes so I can trade them on the meme market and support my family through these dire times. Please.

We have links for you.

Kaká’s Recovery Going as Scheduled

We all remember that terrible moment shortly into the first match of the season when Kaká went down with a hamstring injury on March 5. Now that we are over 30 days into the original six-week diagnosis, it seems the Brazilian playmaker is close to a full recovery. Kaká is set to be ready for action later this month, with the team hoping he can return for the April 23 match against NYCFC.

“His recovery is coming along very well,” Kreis said after training on Wednesday. “He is back out running on the field and I think we’ll see him out here again tomorrow on his own, so we feel like all that is going to plan.”

The club’s trainers and physiotherapy staff with be keeping an extremely close eye on Kaká when he returns to MLS play, adamant not to let another muscle injury hinder his season once more.

Prospective Lions Who Could Make USMNT

We all know Orlando City is home to tons of talent, both foreign and domestic. But which players will get the life-changing call-up to make their national teams? This article takes a look at the roster and predicts which American OCSC players have the talent to be called up to the U.S. Men’s National Team. Notable first-teamers like Jonathon Spector and Joe Bendik make the list alongside OCB youngsters Pierre Da Silva and Joe Gallardo, with some other Lions featured as well.

Pride Players Travel to Brazil for National Team Camp

Speaking of Orlando players being called up, Pride players Monica and Camila have been selected for the Brazil Women’s National Team training camp in preparation for Brazil’s friendly on April 9 against Bolivia in Manaus. Monica has 40 caps for Brazil, with her performances in last year’s Olympics driving her national team to the tournament’s semifinal round. Camila, 22, is newer to the Brazil national team, but has the potential to become a master class player for both Brazil and the Pride.

Sarah Hagen Released by the Pride

Yesterday, the club announced the departure of forward Sarah Hagen, who is now a free agent. Hagen was signed by the Pride in 2015 from FC Kansas City. The Mane Land’s very own Michael Neimeier covered her release here.

2017 Orlando Pride Allocated Players

Orlando Pride announced their allocated players for the 2017 season, and they come as no surprise. Superstars Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris, and Ali Krieger are the Pride’s allocations. The trio were awarded CONCACAF End of the Year Awards in January, with Morgan bringing home the prestigious Female Player of Year Award; Harris announced as Goalkeeper of the Year; and Kreiger listed on the Best XI team sheet. Krieger and Morgan both made the FIFPro Women’s World XI in March.

USWNT Pounds Russia, 4-0

Allie Long and Crystal Dunn both scored a brace to lead the U.S. women past Russia last night in Dallas, 4-0. Dunn may have scored 10 goals if she could have stayed onside in the match, getting repeatedly whistled for the violation. Long could have completed a hat trick, missing a penalty and also hitting the post on a sitter. Still, it’s a much better showing than we saw in the SheBelieves Cup, even if the competition isn’t at the same level. The teams will meet again Sunday in Houston.

United States, Mexico, and Canada Joint World Cup Bid Expected

The three-way bid for the 2026 World Cup is expected to be finalized and submitted to FIFA for approval by the end of this year. CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani confirmed the idea for a joint bid and hopes the three North American countries can have the opportunity to host the World Cup.

“Canada, the US and Mexico are aiming for a joint bid, the idea has been around for a while, discussions are continuing and it is a very exciting proposition if it comes to fruition,” Montagliani said. “We have had nothing but positive remarks about it and it is a very strong sign of what football can do to bring countries together.”

USL Media Expansion

The United Soccer League has announced its national coverage media expansion, with ESPN pairing up once again with USL Productions for the 2017 USL season. The telecast deal’s second year will see even more USL games on the sports network’s major channels. Games will be featured on ESPNU alongside USL Match of the Week airing on ESPN3. A partnership with ESPN FC will provide fans with more USL coverage on the show. This agreement further demonstrates the growth of professional soccer in the United States.

That’s all for today, comrades. Thanks for the memes, it’s highly appreciated. My daughter is happy now, and so is my wife. This might be the last time I see you guys. I’ll miss you, but will you miss me? Who knows. But don’t forget to cheer on our Lions this Sunday as they face off against New York Red Bulls here in the City Beautiful. Orlando City B squares off against Charlotte tomorrow at home. Make sure to catch them in action.

[Editor’s note: Sadly this is our last missive from Alex, who is taking time away from #BlogLyfe due to school and track team commitments. We’ve enjoyed having him here and he’s invited back whenever his real life stuff allows.]