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Lion Links: 11/10/18

Orlando City youths receive scholarships, Dom and Syd work on their game, Eric Wynalda loses his house to fires, and more.

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

The weekend is here, friends. It’s time to throw off the shackles of our nine-to-fives and enjoy two days of freedom, completely unfettered by the bonds of servitude (most of us, anyway). Let’s enjoy them to the fullest with many hours of soccer watching and perhaps a delicious and refreshing beverage or two in a comfy chair.

Don’t forget the Orlando SeaWolves will be playing a preseason match against Brazil tonight at Silver Spurs Arena as part of a doubleheader. Get out and support Orlando’s newest team.

Before we get to the news of the day, I want to remind you that you’re running out of time to vote for Scott Sutter for MLS Goal of the Year. Voting closes tomorrow night at midnight Pacific Time.

Orlando City Youth Players Earn Scholarships

I love hearing stuff like this and, frankly, there’s not enough news like this. Orlando City/Orlando Pride sponsor, Central Florida Audi Dealers, have given scholarships to four Orlando City youth soccer players. Congratulations are in order for Rodney Bargaineer (age 11, from Sanford), Magnoly Isaac (15, Orlando), Courtney Jones (13, Apopka), and Lindsay Sheets (13, Sanford).

“We are very fortunate to have great partners like the Central Florida Audi Dealers who are not only integrated with our professional men’s and women’s teams, but are also invested in helping us at the core youth development levels of our business,” added Orlando City SC Chief Revenue Officer Chris Gallagher. “Audi understands the importance of supporting youth development and shares our vision to provide the best opportunities to young athletes to be part of the fastest growing sport in North America.”

It’s the second consecutive year that Central Florida Audi Dealerships have passed out such scholarships. It’s very cool to kick off today’s Lion Links with such a positive item.

Eddie Johnson Putting Dom, Syd Through Their Paces

Former USMNT and MLS striker Eddie Johnson has found a nice second career training players of all ages. He famously trained Christian Pulisic during his off-season and we told you a few days ago (via linking a story in Lion Links) that he would be working with Orlando City striker Dom Dwyer and Orlando Pride forward Sydney Leroux. Well, now we have visual evidence.

It’s nice to see soccer’s power couple staying sharp and looking to improve so soon after the end of their respective seasons.

U.S. U-20s Win Group A at Concacaf Championship

The U-20 USMNT advanced to the next stage of the U-20 Concacaf Championship after winning Group A last night with a 7-0 victory over Suriname in Bradenton. Alex Mendez and Ayo Akinola each scored a brace in the match.

The tournament now moves into a second group stage, where the winner of each of the two remaining groups will advance to the 2019 U-20 World Cup, which will be held in Poland.

The US will play Honduras and either Haiti, Costa Rica or Saint Lucia, with that stage beginning on Tuesday.

FC Cincinnati Expansion Draft Details Released with Off-Season Calendar

Major League Soccer released its annual off-season calendar yesterday with all of the various draft dates. We already know the SuperDraft will be Jan. 11 in Chicago, but now we know when in December the MLS Expansion Draft, Waiver Draft, and two stages of the Re-Entry Draft will take place. Click the link above for the details. FC Cincinnati may select up to five players on Dec. 11 from the pool of eligible MLS players and each club may lose only one player.

Eric Wynalda Loses Home to Ventura Fire

The fires in California are no joke and our thoughts are with everyone who is in harm’s way or who have homes in the area. Former USMNT star and current Las Vegas Lights coach Eric Wynalda had his house destroyed, including many irreplaceable mementos of his playing and coaching days. Thankfully Eric has his health, but you’ve got to feel for someone who has lost so many memories in the forms of photos, jerseys, etc.

Wynalda said they received an alert on their phones about 12:30 a.m. of a voluntary evacuation. His wife decided to leave then, loading their kids into the car with jewelry, important documents and four suitcases of clothes.

Wynalda said he’d be right behind them and began packing clothes into a smaller sedan. At about 3 a.m., he went upstairs and saw decades worth of soccer memorabilia — jerseys from a career that took him to the 1987 NCAA championship game with San Diego State, to Germany’s Bundesliga, to scoring the first goal in Major League Soccer history, to being the U.S. national team’s all-time leading scorer, to three World Cups, to international all-star games, to several stints as a TV analyst and now to coaching.

By 4 a.m. he got a text from a friend who informed him he was watching Wynalda’s house burn on the local news. Man, that suuuuuuuucks.

Free Kicks
  • What do you think of this conceptual home Orlando City kit?
  • Former Orlando City forward and SuperDraft selection Hadji Barry had an outstanding USL season and it caught the eye of his national team. Congrats to Hadji.
  • Didier Drogba announced on Twitter that he wasn’t going to retire after his Phoenix Rising FC lost the USL title Thursday evening to Louisville City FC. Much like the way he plays, he did it like a boss.
  • Italy announced the squad that will be playing the United States Men’s National Team in a Nov. 20 friendly. After reading who made the squad, I’m in the mood for lasagna. Also, Kevin Lasagna has one of the all-time great names.
  • The Portland Timbers would like you to know that they were just excited about penalties and it wasn’t at all that they thought they advanced on away goals after extra time or anything. Honest!
  • Those born on this date include Martin Luther (1483), inventor of the flush toilet George Jennings (1810) — seriously, thank you George! — actor Richard Burton (1925), Jaws sheriff Roy Scheider (1932), ELP bassists/guitarist/vocalist Greg Lake (1947), former college football coach Les Miles (1953), film director Roland Emmerich (1955), writer Neil Gaiman (1960), Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy (1963), actor/comedian Tracy Morgan (1968), former Arsenal/Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann (1969), Grey’s Anatomy actress Ellen Pompeo (1969), and Justified star Walton Goggins (1971).

That’s all my time for today. Enjoy your weekend, folks!