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Lion Links: 1/16/18

Lions get their man, Larin saga gets weirder, a new leader at Florida Cup, Hadji has a new home, and more.

Good morning, readers of The Mane Land. I hope some of you slept better knowing that the signing you’ve been waiting for finally happened. Ben’s got the week off so I’m filling in on a Tuesday for a change. Hope you don’t mind.

We’re just two days away from the NWSL College Draft and three days away from the MLS SuperDraft, and the Lions are well positioned to select a talented young player out of the college ranks at No. 6 overall, while the Pride pick late (third round). Both teams have just one pick. The MLS Combine is rolling along, the Florida Cup is approaching its final match, and we’re probably getting a full preseason schedule announcement in the near future. Things are happening so quickly it almost doesn’t feel like the off-season.

Let’s get some Tuesday morning linking done.

Lions Get Their Man

We’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting and well...good things come to those who something something. Midfielder Josue Colmán is an Orlando City player, signed, sealed, and delivered. The Paraguayan toured the stadium during the Combine on Tuesday, chatted with Lions Head Coach Jason Kreis — who is expecting big things from his new midfielder — and picked up his new No. 10 jersey. As exciting as we think his arrival is, you can bet the 19-year-old is even more amped about it. Is it March yet? This must be what it’s like for people who know what they’re getting for Christmas well in advance of Dec. 25 but it doesn’t arrive until then.

Larin Saga Gets Weirder

Just when you thought the whole Cyle Larin-to-Besiktas thing had reached maximum surrealism, you get a new wrinkle. Yesterday, there was this:

The idea that the Turkish side is in a huge hurry to skirt the rules and sign Larin so they can ship him off to Osmanlispor sounds too hilarious to be true.

New Leader in the Florida Cup

Barcelona S.C. out of Ecuador is your new clubhouse leader in the Florida Cup, passing Scottish giants Rangers. Both teams are on six points and a +3 goal differential but Barcelona has scored more goals due in part to yesterday’s 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Brazilian side Fluminense. They’re not home free yet, though. Atletico Nacional can still claim the tournament with a two-goal win over Legia Warsaw in the final match of the tournament. That doesn’t happen until Saturday and will take place at 6 p.m. over at St. Petersburg’s Al Lang Stadium.

Hadji Barry No Longer Out of Work

Former Orlando City first-round pick Hadji Barry has signed with Swope Park Rangers for the 2018 USL season. Barry couldn’t quite wiggle his way into regular playing time at the MLS level with the Lions but at times he seemed beyond the USL level. He was a bit of an enigma during his two years with OCB, seemingly doing nothing for huge chunks of the game and then you blink and he’s got a brace. Barry made 11 total appearances with Orlando City’s senior squad without a goal but he scored 10 of them to lead OCB for the season in just 18 appearances with the young Lions. Hopefully Hadji will continue to grow as a player and look back fondly on his time in purple.

Combine Results

The second day of matches at the 2018 MLS Combine took place yesterday at Orlando City Stadium. In the first match, Team Nemeziz came from behind to beat Team X, 3-1. Hartford center back Andre Morrison scored one of the best goals of the tournament to put X ahead early in the first half. Nemeziz equalized on a Brian White penalty, then took the game on strikes by Issaka Nyemewero and Marcelo Acuña.

The second half of the double-header remained scoreless until the 74th minute, when Markus Fjortoft’s goal handed Team Predator a 1-0 win over Team Tango. The Combine concludes Wednesday at OCS with X vs. Predator in the early game and Nemeziz vs. Tango in the second game.

Free Kicks

That’s all I’ve got for you today, but I’ll be back for Thursday’s Lion Links, plus we’re recording January’s podcast and it’ll be a doozy with a great guest that you won’t want to miss. Enjoy your Tuesday. At least it’s not a Monday. I leave you now with something I’m still not sure is real or just the strangest mass hallucination ever.