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Lion Links: 5/2/17

Lions up to No. 1 in power rankings, Jonathan Spector and Scott Sutter recognized, City is maturing, and much more!

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Tuesday again, Mane Landers. We are still riding the wave. Orlando City got another home victory, and Kaká is back. The season is sure to be filled with peaks and valleys, but it feels good now. Before we get started, we’d like to wish a happy birthday to Orlando City Assistant Coach Miles Joseph. Now, on to the links.

Orlando City Tops MLS Power Rankings

Orlando City sits atop this week’s edition of the ESPN MLS Power Rankings. It doesn’t mean anything, but hopefully it makes the squad aspire for more. It’s nice to be at the top of the rankings early in the season, but it only matters where they are at the end of the season.

Spector and Sutter Recognized

Despite Orlando City’s most dominant performance, the squad wasn’t represented like it has been in previous weeks on the MLS Team of the Week. Possession and ball control isn’t as exciting as being under fire.

Jonathan Spector made’s Starting XI for their MLS Team of the Week, while Scott Sutter made the bench on the official MLS Team of the Week. It would have been nice for Carlos Rivas to get some recognition to boost his confidence more, but his time will come, and that rocket goal should provide all the confidence he needs anyway.

How Orlando City Ditched Dysfunction for Success

Paul Tenorio wrote an insightful piece Monday for FourFourTwo on Orlando City. The story mentioned the emergence of Carlos Rivas, but within the context that he can step in when Cyle Larin eventually leaves for Europe.

All publicity is good publicity, but Rivas will need continued improvement to be ready to replace Larin. Likewise, Larin is a natural goal scorer, but he needs to get better with the ball at his feet to make it in Europe. When he goes to Europe, he needs to be a finished product. He’s just scratching the surface now. There’s no rush, but things are setting up nicely for Orlando at the moment.

On a positive note, it seems that no one in the organization is believing the hype. According to OCSC General Manager Niki Budalic: “Nobody in the organization is under any illusions we’ve reached our potential here.”

TB Times Not Sold on Tampa Bay Rowdies to MLS

Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times wrote an article expressing his skepticism of the Tampa Bay Rowdies making it to MLS. It is hard to imagine soccer prospering in that market when their Major League Baseball team gets so little support.

It’s funny because it seems that other cities see how successful Orlando City has become and they want to duplicate it. But they will learn that Orlando City was the perfect storm. This is something special, not to be duplicated.

U-17 USMNT Qualifies for Championship Classification Stage

The United States Under-17 Men’s National Team completed a perfect 3-0 group stage at the CONCACAF U-17 Championships. The fruits of the academy system are beginning to be realized. As these players rise through the ranks, the perception of MLS and American soccer in general will change.

In case you doubted the future: The U-15 USMNT are champions of Torneo Delle Nazioni.

That’s all for today’s links. Don’t forget that OCSC has big game Wednesday on the road at Toronto FC. Remember, moderation is the key. See you next time.