Good morning, Mane Landers! Today is another exciting Orlando City game day with all three teams competing. The Lions visit Minnesota tonight at 8 p.m. The Pride are back on the road at Sky Blue FC at 7 p.m. And let’s not forget the young Lions of OCB, who are hosting the Charlotte Independence at Orlando City Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
It’s a full day and we’ll have complete coverage of all three matches for you. Now let’s get to those match day Links.
Tonight’s Game Will Be Personal For Adrian Heath
Adrian Heath will forever be a Lion wherever he goes. That is because he coached Orlando City for six years from 2011-2016, even transitioning the Lions from the USL to MLS. Unfortunately, last year his tenure ended on a bad note when he was sacked. Tonight, Orlando City is paying him a visit and hoping to come back home with all three points. The game should be very emotional for both Heath and former Orlando City star Kevin Molino.
Orlando City and Minnesota United Connections
At first glance you might think that all Orlando City and Minnesota United have in common is the fact that they are both recent expansion clubs. It turns out the two clubs actually have quite a few different connections between them. We already talked about Adrian Heath and Kevin Molino. The rest of the connections are players from both teams who used to be teammates in the past. The sheer number of links means the two teams will be very familiar with each other even though it is the first time they are playing. I'd say the most relevant connection is that Joe Bendik used to play with Collen Warner.
Chicharito Too Expensive for LAFC?
For as long as Orlando City has been an MLS club, the team has been linked with Mexican star striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez. If Chicharito were to come to MLS, it would be a massive signing as he would bring lots of ability and viewers to the league. In recent times, rumors have been floating around about Chicharito possibly being 2018 expansion side LAFC's marquee signing. Now there is a report that LAFC doesn't have enough funds to pay Chicharito because he would likely become the highest paid player in MLS history.
Now that a move to LAFC seems unlikely, could Orlando City be back in play? The Lions could see some transfer money from Cyle Larin either in the summer transfer window or after the season. In addition, Kaká is in the last year of his league-high deal, even though he’d like to return. It would seem the club may have enough money to afford the Mexican star.
Christian Pulisic Lauds U.S. Soccer’s Potential
Christian Pulisic has had a meteoric rise to stardom and is now considered the
next new face of U.S. soccer. At the age of 18, Pulisic has done extremely well so far in his career, with both his country and his club, Borussia Dortmund. Pulisic is just one of many young American talents and he hasn't shied away from discussing the current state of America's youth players. Here are his comments on the matter:
"There's so much potential and I think it's changing: we've had some bigger athletes in the past but I don't think that defines us anymore. We're going to keep moving forward, developing young players and we're going to have a really good shot in the next few years."
Some of U.S. soccer's most promising young players include DeAndre Yedlin, Emerson Hyndman, and Cameron Carter-Vickers. You can see Carter-Vickers, Tommy Redding, and many more talented young Americans at the FIFA U-20 World Cup which is going now.
USMNT Squad Predictions For Upcoming World Cup Qualifiers
The United States is normally somewhere at the top when it comes to the Hexagonal, but right now the Yanks sit in the very uncomfortable position of fourth out of six. While there is still time, every game is crucial and that includes the USMNT’s next two games against Trinidad and Tobago and the mighty Mexico. While no Orlando City players are in mlssoccer.com’s predictions for who will be called up, Joe Bendik does get an honorable mention.
- Geoff Cameron signs a new long-term contract with Stoke City.
- MLS clubs should give players from the lower divisions of U.S. soccer more opportunities.
- U.S. Soccer celebrates LGBTQ Pride Month.
- Wayne Rooney has decided his future...but it’s not clear what that means.
That’s all for today’s Lion Links. If any of the three Orlando clubs play at least half as good as these links were then we should be in for another great game day. I kid of course, but hopefully we do see some wins tonight. Have a fantastic Saturday!