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Lion Links: 8/10/17

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Spector injury concern, Kaká called “almost great,” Ashlyn Harris set to return, Paul Arriola to D.C. United, and more.

Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Happy Thursday, Mane Landers. Big shout out to our readers in Missouri, since your state was admitted to the union on this date in 1821. I’m sure we’re huge in Missouri.

We’re gearing up for a big weekend, with all three of Orlando City’s teams in action on Saturday night. We’ll be out at the Orlando Pride’s home showdown with Sky Blue FC (more on that below) and have full coverage of Orlando City at New York Red Bulls and OCB at Richmond.

But while we wait for Saturday, let’s indulge in some rumors and a little Linksocology.

Spector Left Training Wednesday with Injury

From the “not great, Bob!” department, center back Jonathan Spector picked up a knee injury in training on Wednesday.

He underwent multiple tests with the club’s medical staff on Wednesday. Results of those tests and an update on his status is expected Thursday.

This is the player Orlando City can least afford to lose, so hopefully this isn’t a serious or long-term injury. If so, get ready for a back line of Jose Aja and Tommy Redding, with Leo Pereira called in as the break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option off the bench.

Kaká: “Almost Great”

Economic Times published this story about world-class soccer players whose stay at the top of their game didn’t last long. They included current Orlando City captain Kaká among the six players on the list. Names along with the likes of Ronaldinho, Fernando Torres, Michael Owen, and others, said the Brazilian’s stay on top lasted from 2005-2007.

He was the most graceful footballer of his generation and in 2007 he was on top of the world. In January 2009 Manchester City tried to sign him for £91million until, in Garry Cook's immortal words, Milan “bottled it“. Later that year Kaka did get his move, to Real Madrid for 65m, but it never worked for him there.He got injured and lost that famous old burst of pace. In 2013 he returned to Milan and is now in Major League Soccer with Orlando City.

Orlando Pride Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris Cleared to Play

Just a day after Aubrey Bledsoe recorded her second clean sheet of the season, the Orlando Pride have cleared starter Ashlyn Harris for play for Saturday’s match-up with Sky Blue FC. Harris injured her quad while taking a goal kick against the Seattle Reign on May 21 and Bledsoe has provided steady backstopping duties in her place for much of the 2017 NWSL season. Still, it’ll be good to have the captain available for duty again.

Also, some guy over at orlandocitysc.com wrote this piece about the Pride’s strong second half showings.

Red Bulls Shorthanded This Weekend

When Orlando City visits Red Bull Arena this Saturday, the hosts will be down a couple of players. Sal Zizzo was sent off in the New York Derby last weekend but the bigger news is the injury sustained by Daniel Royer. The MLS Player of the Month for July was injured in the match at New York City FC and is listed as week-to-week with a hyperextended right knee that resulted in a bone bruise. With 10 goals on the season, Royer is a key component to the NYRB attack. No need to weep for da Bulls, however, who still have a potent offense and are 7-2-2 at Red Bull Arena in 2017.

USMNT Midfielder Paul Arriola to D.C. United

D.C. United’s makeover continues with a huge expenditure of money to bring in USMNT midfielder Paul Arriola from Club Tijuana.

The transfer would be the most expensive in the history of the club, costing DCU $3 million. United would also be on the hook for acquiring his rights from the LA Galaxy.

Man, what Orlando City could have done with a right-sided winger like Arriola. But that price tag is pretty significant in terms of the transfer fee, and the club will reportedly have to tack on a boat load of allocation money for his rights to the Galaxy and over a million per year on salary.

Rafa Marquez Linked to Drug Trafficking

Mexican soccer legend and noted USMNT thorn-in-the-behind Rafa Marquez could be in big trouble.

the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control added Rafael “Rafa” Márquez, a Mexican soccer legend and current captain of the national team, to its list of specially designated nationals for alleged connections to drug trafficking. He is allegedly linked to, among others, the Flores drug trafficking organization — that is, the group led by Raúl Flores Hernández.

I always knew the guy was shady but not that shady.

Free Kicks
  • SB Nation has put together this awesome English Premier League preview for 2017.
  • Columbus Crew sent Ethan Finlay to Minnesota United. I’d have liked to have had Finlay in Orlando, honestly.
  • The Philadelphia Union have hired a chief tattoo officer.
  • Austin is returning to the USL and the club will play at Circuit of the Americas. I’m still not feeling bad that Phil Rawlins moved the Aztex to Orlando for the 2011 season.
  • The Florida Tropics of the Major Arena Soccer League have signed league veteran Mauricio Salles, who has 195 goals in 160 career arena games.
  • Those born on this date include Herbert Hoover (1874), Monopoly creator Charles Darrow (1889), sausage mogul Jimmy Dean (1928), baseball’s Rocky Colavito (1933), “Ronette” Ronnie Spector (1943), Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson (1947), Rosanna Arquette (1959), INXS drummer Jon Farriss (1961), basketball’s John Starks (1965), boxer Riddick Bowe (1967), sportscaster — who didn’t quite work out in soccer — Gus Johnson (1967), Toad the Wet Sprocket guitarist Todd Nichols (1967), former NHL and U.S. defenseman Bret Hedican (1970), Manchester United legend Roy Keane (1971), The Leftovers actor Justin Theroux (1971), former Minnesota United goalkeeper John Alvbåge (1982), and Portland Thorns midfielder Dagný Brynjarsdóttir (1991).

That’s all the time I have today. Please enjoy your Thursday and let’s gear up for another triple game day on Saturday.