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Lion Links: 1/11/18

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Florida Cup returns to Orlando, Dom’s hamstring keeps him out of U.S. camp, former Pride No. 1 pick signs with PSV Eindhoven, and more.

Photo courtesy of Florida Cup.

Good day, everyone. We’ve got soccer going on at the stadium again as the Florida Cup kicked off its 2018 edition last night (more on that later). A certain Paraguayan is rumored to be hitting town today to sign a contract with Orlando City. Let’s see if that plays out the way we expect.

I don’t know how everyone else feels about this event but I enjoy seeing these clubs from around the world compete against one another. Teams from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, the Netherlands, Poland, and Scotland have arrived on our shores to do battle for our viewing pleasure. The least we can do is go watch. If you missed Corinthians vs. PSV Eindhoven last night, never fear. Orlando City Stadium is hosting Atletico vs. Rangers tonight at 7 p.m.

Before we get started on the soccer news of the day, let’s all take a moment to sing Happy Birthday to original Orlando City gaffer Adrian Heath, who turns 57 today.

Florida Cup Kicks Off with Exciting 1-1 Draw

I’m fully aware how that headline sounds, but it’s true. Corinthians and PSV Eindhoven opened the Florida Cup at Orlando City Stadium last night and the two teams played an entertaining game that ended in a 1-1 draw when Sam Lammers scored just seconds from the end of stoppage time. PSV trailed from the 26th minute on — thanks to a goal by Rodriguinho — but dominated the second half. Second-half goalkeeper Caíque França stole the show, however, denying several outstanding PSV scoring chances. Corinthians earned an extra point by winning the ensuing penalty shootout, 5-4. The only player who didn’t score? Lammers.

Dwyer Withdraws from USMNT Camp with Hamstring Strain

How do you know Dom Dwyer is a true Orlando City player? Well, he’s done his hamstring and will have to miss the USMNT January camp and upcoming friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Seriously, what is with Orlando players and their hamstrings? I’m bummed for Dom because international caps aren’t easy to come by and he’s trying to earn a place for the next cycle. Hamstrings are stupid. Anyway, it looks like Dom isn’t sweating the injury.

The USMNT’s Home-Field Advantage Problem

I found this article by Yahoo! Sports’ Leander Schaerlaeckens interesting. In the piece, Schaerlaeckens discusses why using the atmosphere at Red Bull Arena as an excuse for a failure against Costa Rica on home soil is pretty dumb. The subject of venue selection has come up repeatedly during the current USSF presidential race, so it’s been in the public conscience of late. He makes some good points about it here:

Chiefly, because when you take some time to consider it, the home-field advantage argument is stupid. Where, exactly, would the U.S. play a game where the vast majority of fans could be relied on to support it over its opponent? Unless you went to Alaska or Idaho or someplace equally desolate, you’d be hard-pressed to find a town where you’d get only pro-U.S. fans. And even then, people can get in cars or planes.

Pride’s First Ever Draft Pick Signs with Dutch Club

Orlando Pride’s first ever draft pick, Sam Witteman, has signed a deal with PSV Eindhoven that will keep her with the Dutch side for the next year and a half. Witteman, who was traded to North Carolina Courage prior to the 2017 season for Alanna Kennedy, becomes the second American in the club’s history. The Pride made Witteman the No. 10 overall pick in the 2016 NWSL College Draft.

The Pride seem to have gotten the better end of the trade even if Kennedy doesn’t return. But hey, let’s hope the Australian international signs that new contract offer and comes back for 2018.

Free Kicks
  • Jitka Klimkova has named the U-20 USWNT roster for the 2018 CONCACAF U-20 Championship coming up Jan. 18-28 in Trinidad & Tobago [insert snarky remark about the U.S. playing in Trinidad here]. Among those who made the cut are former Orlando City ECNL goalkeeper Amanda McGlynn.
  • Jonathan Gonzalez explained his decision to choose Mexico.
  • So you’re saying Zlatan could be coming to Orlando very soon? Well, at least he may be leaving Manchester United before season’s end, anyway, with China and MLS the rumored destinations.
  • Josh Sargent made his Werder Bremen debut (kind of). The 17-year-old notched an assist in his first time suiting up for the club, albeit in a U-23 team scrimmage. I was doing much less with my life at that age.
  • Those born on this date include Alexander Hamilton (1755) — side note...never duel with Aaron Burr — Clarence “The Big Man” Clemons (1942), Darryl “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins (1957), Bangles guitarist Vicki Peterson (1958), Mary J. Blige (1971), former EPL and England striker Emile Heskey (1978), Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy (1987), and footballing twins Michael and Will Keane (1993).

That’s all my time for today. Enjoy your Thursday. I leave you with the last interview Kaká did as a Lion, which the club posted on its website earlier this week.