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Lion Links: 10/25/18

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Kljestan not looking forward to Sunday, Red Bulls still like Sacha, new MLS shirt sponsorships approved, and more.

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

Good day, everyone. I’d like to make one thing clear: I didn’t win the Mega Millions jackpot because if I had, I probably would have been far too drunk to write today’s Lion Links column.

It’s a pretty special day here in the City Beautiful, actually. On this very date back in 2010, the USL announced that Orlando City would start up for the 2011 soccer season. At the time, Phil Rawlins announced his intention to take the club to MLS within three to five years and he made good on that promise before heading for parts unknown.

So, it’s a momentous day that should be celebrated, preferably with something purple involved.

But for now, let’s get to our news of the day.

Kljestan Says Club Identity May Take A While to Establish

Sacha Kljestan is set to return to Red Bull Arena on Sunday to close out what he called “the hardest, most difficult, most frustrating season of my career.” Kljestan isn’t looking forward to the match, saying he will either be sad for his old teammates who failed to win the Supporters’ Shield, or he’ll be unhappy because his team lost. Either way, he said the day will be a “little bit of a bummer.”

Beyond that, the most candid thing he said in this ProSoccerUSA.com story is that he expects the club will need more than just the 2019 preseason to build a winning culture and start to truly turn things around.

“I think there are big things that need to be established in this club, which I don’t think can happen over one preseason,” Kljestan said. “Coming from playing [with] some very good clubs before and seeing the way things are done, I think there are big changes that need to be made.

“And they’re not just individual things. They’re almost like from a mentality standpoint. From how we treat people every day to the way that we go about things as a club, it needs to be raised. In that way, it’s difficult. It takes time. Building an identity of the club, it takes time. These things are going to have to happen over longer periods of time, in my opinion.”

If there’s a culture issue within the club offices and it’s trickling down to the team, there are definitely issues that must be addressed immediately.

Red Bulls Not Upset with Kljestan Wanting to Play Spoiler

For their part, Kljestan’s old teammates with the Red Bulls aren’t using his words as bulletin board material, nor are they upset in any way. In fact, they want Sacha’s best game.

“He’s on another team. If I was him I’d be trying to win too,” Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips said. “Their season hasn’t been great so they’re going to have to get something out of here. For him, that would be a big accomplishment to stop us winning the Shield. I don’t see him playing any other way. I want him to come and play well. We’ll be up for the game and we’ll see what happens.”

The piece linked above is worth checking out. BWP went on to say more nice things about Kljestan and NYRB Head Coach Chris Armas — formerly an assistant while Sacha was there — also had some good things to say about Orlando City’s acting captain.

Become the New Face of Orlando City

The Lions are looking for new faces for 2019. Do you think your face should be a new Face of City? If so, there’s a way to let the club know (and to find out more about the whole thing). Personally, I do not think my face should be the new Face of City. New Kingston is scary enough. No need to get my mug involved.

MLS Clubs Will Sell Second Jersey Sponsorship

Orlando City and everyone else in the league will be able to have more than one sponsorship on jerseys starting in 2020. The league approved sleeve patch sales and clubs will be able to find a secondary shirt sponsor to place a patch up to 2.5 x 2.5 inches on the right sleeve. For comparison’s sake, the NWSL jerseys have included patches with television sponsor Lifetime. I must admit that I didn’t even really notice them after a while and it will probably be pretty much the same with the new MLS sleeve patches.

Free Kicks
  • Those born on this date include Pablo Picasso (1881), Happy Days actress Marion “Mrs. Cunningham” Ross (1928), college basketball coaching legend Bob Knight (1940), longtime Yes lead vocalist Jon Anderson (1944), Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton (1947), 1980 U.S. hockey gold medalist Mike Eruzione (1954), Scorpions guitarist Matthias Jabs (1955), Nancy “voice of Bart Simpson” Cartwright (1957), late Divinyls vocalist Christina Amphlett (1959), baseball’s Pedro Martinez (1971), actor/comedian Craig Robinson (1971), Shaun Wright-Phillips (1981), Katy Perry (1984), and Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza (1986).

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Enjoy your Thursday everyone.