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Lion Links: 10/13/18

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Crew en route to being saved, OCB’s coach optimistic about the future, Ellis has USWNT on right track, and more.

MLS: Eastern Conference Championship-Toronto FC at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Happy match day, everyone! It’s another chance to stop the bleeding and you can’t get a win if you don’t play. That’s not likely to happen tonight but I have to be optimistic because I don’t want to stick my head in the oven today. It’s a poor alternative, in my opinion.

The Lions are at New England tonight (here’s a preview) and we’ll have full coverage for you here at The Mane Land, so keep your internet dial tuned in to www.themaneland.com. Also follow our Twitter feed because we post stuff there too.

While we wait for tonight’s kickoff, why not digest some Lion Links? I have some for you and we’ll get to those now.

OCB’s Coach Returns from Brazil Trip

Orlando City B Head Coach Fernando De Argila has returned from his trip to Curitiba, Brazil, where he spent time with OCSC’s partner club, Clube Atletico Paranaense. The new gaffer from Orlando’s USL League One team and OCB GM Mike Potempa met with coaches and leaders of Paranaense while in Brazil, and the visit was chronicled on the coach’s Twitter feed over the past several days. One theme of the trip was optimism for bringing top quality players to Orlando and his social media feed promises to be a good follow to learn about the future of Orlando City. You can’t help but get excited about his positive attitude.

Crew Saved?

The massive #SaveTheCrew movement may have finally found a breakthrough in keeping original MLS club Columbus Crew SC in central Ohio. Yesterday was an eventful day in Columbus with news breaking that a group including Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is close to an agreement to save the Crew. After a year of stressing out over losing their club, Columbus fans appear to have pulled off the feat of keeping their club.

“Major League Soccer and the Columbus Partnership have been working together for several months on a plan to keep the Crew in Columbus and we have made significant progress,” MLS said in a statement released on Friday. “MLS, the Columbus Partnership and the investor group all agree that for the Club to be successful, it requires strong local owners, long-term corporate support, a strong season ticket base and long-term plans for a stadium, practice facilities and associated sites. MLS is committed to keeping the Crew in Columbus should we continue to make progress on these critical components and agree to key terms with the investor group.”

This came on the heels of news that Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt had seen another deadline come and go without an agreement in place with the city of Austin over a stadium.

It’s obviously great news that an original club will remain in MLS. There’s still work to be done, but if this comes to pass, Precourt will have a new franchise in Austin while the Ohio group will pay an expansion fee yet keep the colors, logo, and likely the current roster and management as well. Precourt isn’t going to repair his relationship with Columbus fans after his statement yesterday.

Jill Ellis’ USWNT Plan Working

Say what you want about USWNT Head Coach Jill Ellis’ tactics or player selections, but after the team’s worst-ever finish in a major tournament in the Rio Olympics, she has the United States playing at a high level again in 2018. Caitlin Murray chronicles this in a story in The Guardian. Ellis’ squad has dominated Concacaf but also won both the Tournament of Nations and the SheBelieves Cup against top competition in 2018 — a year in which it hasn’t lost. The U.S. is 14-0-2, seems to have put all the experimentation in the past, and has a plan to not only get to the World Cup in France next year, but to make a deep run as well. The USWNT could clinch a spot in the World Cup as early as tomorrow with a win over Jamaica.

Usain Bolt Bags Brace in First Pro Soccer Game

If you want speed on the front line, they don’t come any faster than track star Usain Bolt. The 32-year-old Jamaican speedster is trying to make the first team and got his first start with the Central Coast Mariners in Australia’s A-League in a friendly against Macarthur South West United on Friday. He did OK, scoring a brace with goals in the 55th and 69th minutes in a 4-0 win.

“My first start and scoring two goals, it’s a good feeling,” Bolt told Fox Sports said after the match. “I’m happy I could come here and show the world I’m improving.

“I’m keen to be a Mariner, to play my best and get into the team.”

Bolt fired six shots — three on target — on the night. This is a great story and I hope Bolt can make the club and begin his second sports career while he still can. Here’s a look at his first goal:

Free Kicks

That’s my time for this morning but I’ll be back later as part of our comprehensive coverage of Orlando City at the New England Revolution. Have a great day and don’t let tonight’s match spoil your weekend.