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Lion Links: 9/23/17

Kaká transfer rumor, Pride play for playoff spot, a Borussia battle, Hope Solo settlement, and plenty more!

MLS: Orlando City SC at New England Revolution Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Happy third anniversary, Mane Landers! That’s right, your favorite Orlando City blog was first published Sept. 23, 2014! Here are the first words written by Managing Editor Michael Citro:

“This is the first in what I hope will be a long series of posts about Orlando City Soccer Club. Enjoy it at your own risk.”

Welp, after three years, 104 podcasts, numerous staffing changes, and countless articles, we’re still here doing what we love. And we still caution you to enjoy it at your own risk. On a personal note, it’s certainly been a pleasure for me to be a part of The Mane Land staff, both as a writer and now as the co-host of the podcast. Here’s to many more years to come. Let’s hit the links!

Rumor: Kaká to São Paulo FC

There’s been plenty of speculation on the part of Orlando City fans regarding Kaká’s future with Orlando City. Ricky has said he’d like to stay with the Lions, but there’s been no talk about his contract, and we’re pretty close to season’s end (when GM Niki Budalic said those talks would happen). Now we have rumors that Campeonato Brasileiro Série A side São Paulo FC may try to bring him down there to finish his career (you’ll need to translate the page). It would be a fitting bookmark for Kaká since he started his career with the club when he was 18 years old. Will he stay or will he go? We may not have to wait very long to find out.

Pride’s International Players Key to Victory at Home

Coach Tom Sermanni plans to use his international players in the upcoming match against Portland. Given that those players include Alanna Kennedy and Steph Catley who play for Australia, and Monica, Camila, and Marta for Brazil, it’s no surprise he wants these players on the field. The five squared off against each other in matches down under during the international break. Today’s match could clinch a playoff spot for Orlando, and you don’t hold anything back. Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris are also back from their stint with the USWNT.

The home field advantage is one aspect that Harris expects to help the Pride in the match. The Thorns play on turf, so Orlando City Stadium’s natural grass is different than they are used to. Not to mention that the Pride have been on a bit of a goal scoring bonanza recently. Harris even thinks Portland might want to be a little worried to come to Orlando at this point in the season.

Americans Clash in Borussia Battle

Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund take on Fabian Johnson and Borussia Mönchengladbach today in a Bundesliga match at 12:30 p.m. ET on FS2. Pulisic scored his second goal of the season in the 3-0 win over Hamburg. Pulisic and Johnson are not the only USMNT players suiting up this weekend. The action continues Sunday when Bobby Wood of the aforementioned Hamburg looks to get back on the winning side against Bayer Leverkusen at 12 p.m. ET on FS2. Meanwhile, DeAndre Yedlin looks for a second straight start for Newcastle United when they take on Brighton at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and Telemundo. There are also plenty of U.S. players in MLS this weekend, including our very own Dom Dwyer on Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on FS1 and FOX Deportes.

Gulati Facing Challengers

Sunil Gulati has been the President of the United States Soccer Federation for 11 years. That may not be the case after the next election in February, since he will have at least two contenders for the position. Boston attorney Steve Gans and former indoor soccer team owner Paul Lapointe have both thrown their hat into the ring. Others considering entering the race include U.S. Soccer board member John Motta and, perhaps most interestingly, Eric Wynalda. Wynalda is a Hall of Fame member with over 100 caps for the USMNT. He scored the first goal in MLS history, and spent time in the Bundesliga. If fans had a vote, he might be a shoo-in.

Hope Solo and USSF Reach a Settlement

Remember Hope Solo? She is the oft controversial but skilled goalkeeper that played for the USWNT. After a match against Sweden in August 2016, Solo called the opposing team “a bunch of cowards” for their defensive tactics in the game the U.S. lost on penalty kicks. She was then suspended by the U.S. Soccer Federation, and her contract terminated. Details of the settlement have not been made public, however, her contract has not been reinstated and she is not eligible for selection. Solo has been rehabbing after shoulder surgery, and intends to play professional soccer again.

Former Orlando City Draft Pick Seeks Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief

Former Orlando City SuperDraft pick Sidney Rivera — now playing for the NASL’s Puerto Rico FC — is raising money for Puerto Rico following the hurricanes (Irma and Maria). Rivera was Orlando City’s fourth-round pick (63rd overall) in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. He didn’t play for Orlando City, seeing action in a few games with then-USL affiliate Louisville City in 2015. Rivera has built a home for himself with Puerto Rico FC over the last year and a half and has felt the shocking devastation to that island U.S. territory first-hand. He’s looking to raise $7,207 ($1 for every one of his followers on various social media outlets) and is already over $1,000 raised. If you’re able to give, please consider helping Rivera out with this worthy cause and assisting a former Lion (sort of) in reaching his goal.

Free Kicks
  • We lost one of our own during Hurricane Irma. Season ticket holder Brian Buwalda will be honored during next Wednesday’s match.

Whew! I’m not used to having this much stuff to write about during Lion Links, but it sure has been fun. I’ll see everyone on Monday’s Links! Go City! Go Pride! Go OCB!