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Lion Links: 6/11/17

Cristian Higuita’s daughter, Maddy Evans’ back yard, and all the USMNT set-up you can handle.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Orlando City SC Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. It is the international break, but no rest for the weary here at The Mane Land. As the Stars and Stripes get set to take on El Tri at the Azteca later, settle in for this latest edition of Lion Links. Enjoy!

She’s Just Like Him

Orlando City SC midfielder Cristian Higuita recently said his 2-year-old daughter Martina is just like him in “her energy, her temper, everything …” Higuita went on to say that his daughter is “very intense” when she plays. Perhaps a future women’s soccer star in the making???

Evans Writes About The Power of Your Back Yard

In a recent post for Top Drawer Soccer, Orlando Pride midfielder Maddy Evans talks about how her back yard growing up became where she developed her skills she uses on the field.

“Snowy winters in the northeast presented a different challenge, forcing me to be creative with my development. I used to create makeshift speed ladders by laying belts down on my bedroom floor, tack pieces of paper to my bedroom wall, and track how many repetitions of various foot-skills I could complete in a minute. The single step leading into the sunroom at the front of my parents’ house served as the perfect passing partner, and two full flights of stairs made for a great cardio option. Thank you mom and dad for never enforcing a “no balls in the house” rule.”

Tonight’s the Night
Soccer: FIFA World Cup Qulifier-Trinidad & Tobago at USA Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. Men’s National Team squares off with Mexico tonight at the Azteca in the Hex. Following their win against Trinidad & Tobago earlier in the week, the Americans have seen the rise of Christian Pulisic. A brace for the Borussia Dortmund midfielder pushed the U.S. into third place in the Hexagonal — one point behind Costa Rica and six back of El Tri entering the sixth round. Here’s a flashback: remember when the USMNT picked up its only win at the Estadio Azteca? Take a look at where that team is now.

The Mystery of the Azteca

It’s no secret that playing at the Estadio Azteca has never been a kind thing for the Americans (See above and win). Then again, the Azteca isn’t kind to most foes as it presents Mexico with a ‘unique’ home field advantage that no other team in the Hex seem to have. In fact, Mexico has lost just twice in 49 World Cup qualifying matches. May the odds never be in your favor.

Pulisic Says ‘No Reason’ U.S. Can’t Beat Mexico

As if it wasn’t enough for Mexico to have the crowd and the smog on its side, now Pulisic has to rile up the masses. He recently said “there is no reason why we can’t do it” in terms of beating Mexico later today.

"Absolutely. I'm still young," Pulisic said. "They're a good team and not easy to beat at home. It's going to take a lot, but I think with the guys we have and the confidence we have, there's no reason why we can't do it."

Sure, why not?

Yeah, So This Might Just Be Too Ridiculous, But …

It might have nothing to do with Orlando City, the Pride, OCB, the U.S. Men’s National Team, or anything else for that matter, but I found it and had to chuckle. Most are aware of the fact that China is where aging footballers go for one last big payday. Well, apparently an unnamed Chinese Super League team is in the process of offering Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo €120 million a season. Now, this is what is called the “crazy season” in Europe as every media outlet almost goes out of its way to come up with the craziest potential transfer links and rumors. Just to be clear...there is no way Ronaldo leaves Madrid, especially for China.

That is about all for me on this Sunday. Now, everyone sit back, relax and get set for the USMNT and Mexico, and don’t forget the USWNT will face Norway this afternoon in a friendly. We’ll have posts later today with previews and how to watch both.