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Lion Links: 8/4/17

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MLS youths show league growth, USWNT finishes Tournament of Nations, Miami’s MLS bid, and more!

Soccer: Tournament of Nations - Women's Soccer-Japan at USA Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Mane Landers! We’re finally at the end of the week and luckily providence has handed us a rest day (from soccer) before a hectic Saturday — there’s going to be three games! Until then, we have the ever-fulfilling links.

Morgan Scores as USWNT Rolls Japan, 3-0

Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh, and Alex Morgan led the USWNT to a 3-0 win over Japan in the Tournament of Nations finale at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA. Morgan didn’t come on for the U.S. until the 73rd minute so she might be available this Saturday when the Pride take on the Chicago Red Stars. Morgan snapped an eight-game international goal drought with her 80th-minute strike to cap the scoring. Ali Krieger didn’t play so she should be good to go against the Red Stars despite having to fly back from California.

Young Stars Such as Larin Show MLS Growth

Major League Soccer sure has changed a lot in its relatively short history, and right now it looks like its youth is genuinely the future, but not in the way you’d expect. MLS might actually need to sell some of its top young talent — which has become a larger group every year — in order to continue its growth as a league. It seems counter-intuitive, and is sure to upset many of you who would never want to see Cyle Larin go, but it appears as if MLS is already heading in the direction of becoming a selling league.

While it comes with lots of stigma, there is proof that not only is MLS moving in that direction, but that it is a good direction to be going in. Orlando’s own Larin is one example as its always seemed as if its just a matter of time until he leaves. Perhaps a better example would be FC Dallas, a club that takes pride in its business model of selling talented young players and reinvesting back into the team. This has led to success over the past few years, so hopefully MLS can continue evolving by trying to bring in as many talented youngsters as possible, but also allowing them to leave.

Beckham’s Miami Team Close to Finalizing Its Expansion Bid

It seems as if its been ages since it was announced that Miami would be launching an expansion bid. Now, it appears we are nearing an end according to MLS Commissioner Don Garber. Garber also spoke about the 12 expansion bids for the four remaining spots, saying that they’re on track to announce two teams this December.

“Their plan was very well-received by our owners,” Garber said. “There was a vote earlier this afternoon that authorized me, along with a committee of owners...to work with them to finalize the details of their expansion plan in order for us to officially close on this Miami team.

“There are still a couple details we need to finalize. We needed to get through today because I had some concerns we wouldn’t get past today.”

Alex Morgan Reminisces On Her Time With the Pride and Lyon

Alex Morgan was without a doubt the face of the Pride, and after winning the UEFA Women’s Champions League with Lyon, has come back and is now sort of a number two to Marta. Morgan says the she is just fine with it though because it takes a bit of the burden off of her. In this interview with Morgan, it appears that confidence is key for her and that’s something she says she lacked with the Pride in year one and with the USWNT recently, the latter due to lack of playing time. As for her time in Lyon, she it as a new challenge and loved it there.

Two U.S. Lower Division Teams Want Pro/Rel in the U.S.

If you think about it, it kind of sucks to be a really good lower division team. Of course its always good to win, but it’s a little disheartening that there’s nowhere else to go but stay stagnant in the same league forever. This is a large part of Miami FC — I know they’re in the second division but still — and Kingston Stockade FC’s claim that U.S. Soccer should adopt a system with promotion and relegation. They claim that it is against FIFA rules to not have it and also that it defeats meritocracy, or the belief that you should have to earn your place.

They definitely have a point, but it would be pretty hard to implement here in the U.S. after years of a system without it. If the people with power agree, then this can be done. The only problem is Miami FC and Kingston Stockade don’t really have any power, and I don’t think Garber really wants to complicate his life with having to deal with that any time soon.

Free Kicks:

That’ll wrap it up for today’s Lion Links. Have a wonderful weekend! We leave you with this curious omen from Orlando City CEO Alex Leitão.