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Lion Links: 10/23/18

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O’Connor stresses off-season commitment, Kljestan wants to play spoiler, USSF CEO stepping down, and more.

MLS: Columbus Crew at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It felt like things were veering into the Twilight Zone over the weekend, but it turns out I wasn’t in some strange, alternate dimension. Yes, Orlando City really did beat the playoff-contending Columbus Crew on Sunday — courtesy of two (correctly awarded) penalty kicks, no less! It’s a shame that the second victory of James O’Connor’s coaching tenure couldn’t come sooner, but beggars can’t be choosers, so soak it in people! There’s lots to talk about today, so let’s get right to it.

O’Connor Wants Off-season Commitment

Orlando City Head Coach James O’Connor wants commitment after the season is over, plain and simple. While he hasn’t said specifically what or who he thinks are problems in the Orlando City locker room, on Sunday he made it very clear that he is aware of problems but wants to keep those issues in house. However, that doesn’t mean he’ll overlook those problems, as he called for commitment in the off-season and preseason, saying that he believes preseason is the most important part of the year.

Kljestan Looking to Play Spoiler

Next week Sacha Kljestan will be back in Red Bull Arena for the first time since he was traded from the New York Red Bulls to Orlando City last off-season. While a win for RBNY could very well help them lift the Supporters’ Shield, Kljestan has no intention of going up to New York and rolling over. The midfielder was quite blunt about how the game is not going to be “fun” for him, and said that while he wishes his former teammates the best, he certainly wants to get a win next week and close out the season on the right note. In a bit of a funny twist though, if the Lions do beat RBNY next week, then Atlanta United automatically wins the Supporters’ Shield. So make of that what you will.

Yoshi Makes Team of the Week

Yoshi Yotún has been included in the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Week following his efforts in Orlando City’s 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew on Sunday. The Peruvian was spectacular for the Lions with a team-leading 93 touches and 92% pass completion rate. He also created six chances, went 13/17 on his long balls, and coolly put away a devious Panenka penalty to draw OCSC level in the second half. In short, the honor is well deserved. Congrats, Yoshi.

USSF CEO to Step Down...Soon-ish

Dan Flynn, CEO and secretary general of the U.S. Soccer Federation, will reportedly step down from his duties with the USSF at some point next year. Flynn has been secretary general since 2000, and was notably on the board of directors for the committee that brought the 2026 World Cup to U.S., Mexican, and Canadian soil. As of yet there are no reasons given for Flynn’s supposed stepping aside. Although he is 63 and had a heart transplant in 2016, it has been stressed that his health is not playing a factor in his decision.

Free Kicks

That’s all for me today. Don’t forget, Orlando City will play its final match of the season on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET on the road against the New York Red Bulls. In all likelihood it’s the last time you may see some of the current players on the roster, so make sure you tune in if you’re nostalgic about that sort of thing. Take care now, ciao.