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Lion Links: 10/30/18

O’Connor to begin speaking with players, Pulisic wants revenge, remembering Leicester’s owner, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Mane Landers. It was a tough final weekend of MLS play, but now the long suffering nightmare of the 2018 season is over. That means we can sit back and enjoy the MLS playoffs and, more importantly, look ahead to next season and what it holds. There’s lots to get to today, so let’s be about it.

O’Connor Beginning One on One Talks

Orlando City Head Coach James O’Connor will begin talks with individual players this week regarding their future at OCSC. The first step is having these discussions with the players and getting everyone on the same page. After that, decisions will begin to be made about who stays and who goes, although there is understandably no sort of timetable for any personnel decisions as of yet. O’Connor did not mince words when he was asked about the number of players who have the required mentality and commitment for his team, only saying, “You’ll find out.”

Pulisic Wants Revenge for Qualifying Disaster

Christian Pulisic is understandably peeved about the USMNT’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. He’s now gone on the record as saying he wants to “get some revenge and be back in the World Cup.” Much like the Grinch when Cindy Lou Who asks him what Christmas is really about, Pulisic has vengeance on his mind after a 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago sent the United States packing before it could even reach the World Cup. He says the team has a lot of hungry players and that he’s excited to see what the team can do moving forward.

Hopefully, Pulisic will be available next month when the U.S. plays its last two friendlies of the year across the pond; before he can get his revenge, he has to be able to stay healthy for national team duty after missing the last two camps.

Remembering Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

As most of you probably know, Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha tragically died in a helicopter crash over the weekend. Fox Sports has written a very interesting article in remembrance of the man who helped engineer the Foxes’ unlikely Premier League title in 2015-16. It discusses how Khun Vichai started owning a small duty free shop in a Thai city. That one shop was expanded into two airports and only continued to grow from there. It also talks about how he purchased the club for a mere £39 million, less than the transfer fee of many players in today’s soccer market. Perhaps most importantly though, it touches on his relationship with the club’s fans and what made him a special owner. If you have the time, it’s truly worth a read.

Lopetegui Sacked

If you follow European soccer, then you surely had to know it was coming. The day following a 5-1 La Liga mauling at the hands of their hated rivals Barcelona, Real Madrid have fired Julen Lopetegui a paltry 10 games into the La Liga season. The team was admittedly struggling, winless in the league since Sept. 22, and with one win and a pitiful four goals scored in their last seven matches. Seven points behind the team that just walloped them in front of a global audience, Florentino Perez apparently decided he had seen enough and brought the ax down on Lopetegui’s neck. Santiago Solari has been named the interim manager, with Antonio Conte apparently favored to step into Lopetegui’s old gig.

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That’ll be all for me today. If you plan on celebrating Halloween tomorrow, please be smart and stay safe. The MLS Cup playoffs also start tomorrow with NYCFC taking on the Philadelphia Union and FC Dallas squaring off against the Portland Timbers. Have a lovely rest of your day. Ciao.