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Lion Links: 11/18/18

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Budalic says Orlando has flexibility to fix roster, Oscar Pareja may be leaving FC Dallas, U-17 USWNT facing must-win match, and more.

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

Happy Sunday to all. The weekend might be winding down, but we’re still here, doing our thing, trying to keep an eye on the soccer world.

If you’re looking for things to be thankful for this week, tomorrow is the anniversary of the announcement by MLS that Orlando City would become the league’s 21st team. Of course, there’s been a lot of pain since that announcement, but that was still a special day.

Let’s see what’s cooking besides a lot of dishes being prepped for Thursday.

Budalic: Lions have Flexibility in Middle and Back End of Roster

Speaking with mlssoccer.com’s Charles Boehm at the Soccerex convention in Miami, Orlando City General Manager Niki Budalic said the club has identified ways to improve the roster and that his side has the ability to do so despite committing lots of money toward DP-level and TAM-level players.

“When you talk about some of our TAM and DP players, those players were [already] brought in. But we have a lot of flexibility on the back end of our roster and in the middle of our roster. I think that we have plenty of flexibility to make the changes that we want to make.”

He added that the Lions have already compiled a shortlist of transfer targets overseas while also exploring the possibility of trades within MLS.

“Right now, given the time of year, a lot of discussions are happening within the league with regards to trades,” said Budalic. “But we have targets that we’ve already identified outside the league and we’ll have alternatives depending on how it plays out.”

Transfers and trades? OK, I’m here for that. Let’s see how much the Lions can overhaul the roster and how much is still left to do by the time the 2019 season arrives.

Rachel Hill Comes Up Big for Perth

Forward Rachel Hill has been repping the Orlando Pride well in Australia the past two off-seasons. Hill got off to a better start last year than she has so far in 2018-2019, but she may be starting to heat up. Hill notched a thrilling brace in Perth’s 3-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers, showing she might be back in full form. Let’s hope she brings strikes like this back to Florida with her.

Report: Oscar Pareja to Leave FC Dallas for Liga MX

This is pretty big news: FC Dallas Head Coach Oscar Pareja could be headed to Liga MX to take over at Club Tijuana, per a report by Ives Galarcep at Goal.com. Galarcep, who is well connected, cites multiple sources for this news. After five seasons in Dallas, the Colombian looks to be headed south after being (apparently?) passed by for the USMNT job. The move would reunite Parejas with former Dallas star Fabian Castillo.

U-17 USWNT Drops Second Group Match

It was not a good day for the U-17 USWNT at the U-17 FIFA World Cup yesterday. After winning their Group C opener against Cameroon, the Baby Nats fell 3-0 to Korea DPR, allowing all three goals on corner kicks. What does this mean for the Yanks’ chances in the tournament?

The loss means the USA is likely facing a must-win scenario against Germany in its group finale on Nov. 21 in Montevideo (3 p.m. ET on FS2 & telemundodeportes.com) to advance to the quarterfinals.

Germany beat Korea DPR by a 4-1 final in round one. On the other hand, Cameroon beat the Germans, 1-0 in round two. It’ll take a massive effort to advance in Uruguay by the Baby Nats on Wednesday. A win would do it. A draw might not.

Free Kicks
  • Boy is my face red. I looked up the wrong date yesterday — full disclosure, writing while sick and on cold medicine is ill advised — so all of the people whose birthdays I said it was in the Nov. 17 Lion Links were actually born on this date (Nov. 18). You can check yesterday’s Links column for today’s birthdays. Since turnabout is fair play, those born on this date yesterday (Nov. 17) include actor Rock Hudson (1925), velvet-throated Canadian Gordon Lightfoot (1938), filmmaker Martin Scorsese (1942), Danny DeVito (1944), character actor (Office Space) Stephen Root (1951), RuPaul (1960), actress Rachel McAdams (1978), and Portuguese international Nani (1986).

That’s all my time for today. I leave you with whatever this is: