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Lion Links: 8/1/17

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Toia Makes MLS Team of the Week, Kaká’s Real Madrid connections, Dwyer deal turns heads around MLS, and more.

MLS: MLS All-Star Training Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to August, Lion Nation, and a belated happy 142nd birthday to Orlando (which was yesterday). The MLS All-Star Game is tomorrow night and the timing kind of sucks for us because Dom Dwyer is in Chicago getting ready to play Real Madrid rather than building chemistry with his new teammates in Orlando.

It’s another busy week as OCB hosts Harrisburg City Islanders tomorrow at the Purple Palace and the All-Star Game takes place in Chicago. The USWNT wraps up the Tournament of Nations Thursday night, and Saturday is a triple game day with OCB at Cincinnati, Orlando City at Montreal, and the Pride hosting Chicago — all at the same time!

While we prepare for such a match-heavy week, let’s ingest some morning links.

Toia Earns Team of the Week Honors

Donny Toia turned in a great performance on the road against Atlanta United on Saturday and his outstanding play down the left flank for the Lions earned him MLS Team of the Week honors. The 1-1 draw could have been a loss without Toia’s efforts. We called him our Man of the Match and our readers agreed, giving him 37% of the votes as of this writing. This weekend, he’ll go up against his old teammates in Montreal.

Coaches and GMs Discuss Dwyer Deal

Kristian Dyer wrote this story quoting various unnamed coaches and general managers, discussing the mechanics of the transfer that brought Dom Dwyer to Orlando in an MLS-record allocation money deal. Here’s a taste:

“This didn’t just raise the bar, it blew it away,” one head coach tells Metro. “This is potentially so far above the going rate – and that is no disrespect towards Dwyer who is a fantastic player – but it kills our transfer system. This isn’t a gradual uptick, it really is beyond the scope of many teams. Frankly, I’m not sure this is sustainable moving forward. You may not see a move like this for a long time; it might make future moves of star players very, very difficult.”

One Western Conference sporting director said that an unnamed Eastern Conference striker “whose strike rate over the past couple of seasons stands with Dwyer” is on the market for big money as well.

Personally I disagree with the unknown coach above. This is exactly why allocation money exists — to buy players. And we’ve seen how economically the team that sells within MLS can get more money to spend on players than if they had sold the player overseas, due to the league capping how much of that sale can be used. It will be fun to see how this — and the Kevin Molino deal — impacts the allocation money rules down the line.

Kaká’s Real Madrid Connection

Orlando City’s captain will line up against his old Spanish team tomorrow night when the MLS All-Stars take on Real Madrid. This piece over at the Orlando City team site provides some background on the Brazilian’s time in Spain, including his friendship with fellow superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Beast to Bolton?

Former Orlando City striker Julio Baptista turned some heads with his play in the Star Sixes tournament in London recently. Now he could be on the move back to England to play for Bolton Wanderers. Bolton was recently promoted to the Championship from League One and could use someone like “the Beast” to provide some offense. The 35-year-old Baptista seems keen to keep his playing career going.

“I’m not done yet, my agent is looking for a team so I can keep playing a little longer.

“Maybe it will be in Spain, or China, we will have to wait and see.”

Free Kicks
  • This long form from the mothership paints an amazing picture of soccer and life in the Kenyan refugee camp of Kakuma.
  • Galaxy defender and frequent card accumulator Jelle Van Damme is mulling an opportunity to return to Belgium.
  • Those born on this date include Francis Scott Key (1779), Moby-Dick author Herman Melville (1819), Dom DeLuise (1933), Grateful Dead singer/guitarist Jerry Garcia (1942), King Crimson and Bad Company bassist Boz Burrell (1946), Oakland Raiders legend Cliff Branch (1948), North Carolina hoops coach Roy Williams (1950), blues man Robert Cray (1953), boxing’s Trevor Berbick (1954), actor/comedian Taylor Negron (1957), 10,000 Maniacs guitarist Rob Buck (1958), basketball’s Kiki Vandeweghe (1958), Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott (1959), rappers Chuck D (1960) and Coolio (1963), Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz (1964), baseball’s Gregg Jefferies (1967), basketball’s Stacey Augmon (1968), former England goalkeeper David James (1970), Columbus Crew gaffer Gregg Berhalter (1973), football’s Edgerrin James (1978), actor Jason “Khal Drogo” Momoa (1979), Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (1984), former USMNT star Stu Holden (1985), and basketball’s Austin Rivers (1992).

That’s all the time I have for you today. Enjoy your Tuesday. Play me out, Dom Dwyer!