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Lion Links: 12/19/18

Muzzi named Executive VP of Soccer Operations, Yoshi rumored to Liga MX, Edwards Jr. to D.C., U.S. soccer awards, and more.

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MLS: Eastern Conference Semifinal-New York Red Bulls at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Mane Landers! Yesterday sure was a fun day in the soccer world. From Mourinho to Muzzi, there is plenty to talk about today. Tomorrow is the MLS Re-Entry Draft Stage 2. Be on the lookout tonight for the list of players eligible to be drafted.

Now for some links.

Luiz Muzzi Named Executive VP of Soccer Operations

Luiz Muzzi might just have the toughest challenge of his professional career on his hands. The former FC Dallas vice president of soccer operations is now in the same role with Orlando City. The Brazilian will put his efforts into turning around the Orlando City and Orlando Pride, both of which missed the playoffs in 2018. The first item on his list should be finding a coach for the Pride. As for the MLS side, The Mane Land’s own Michael Citro detailed the top off-season priorities last week.

Yoshi on the Move?

Twitter was abuzz yesterday after reports from Mexico of Orlando City’s top midfielder possibly being on his way out. According to Mexican outlet Record, Liga MX giants Cruz Azul have started negotiating a Liga MX move with Peruvian Yoshimar Yotún.

Yoshi has been a crucial part of Orlando’s midfield since becoming a Lion midway through the 2017 season, scoring five goals and recording 14 assists. In an overall poor team, he has constantly been a standout. If this comes to fruition, Muzzi will has even more work to do with his new team.

Earl Edwards Jr. Nearing D.C. United Move

Earl Edwards Jr. was let go at the end of the 2018 MLS season after his contract expired, but it seems the 26-year-old keeper could be on his way to the nation’s capital according to Steven Goff of The Washington Post.

Edwards, an original MLS Lion on the inaugural 2015 team, was drafted out of UCLA and registered 16 saves in league play for Orlando City over four seasons. According to Goff, Orlando could be receiving a second-round pick for his league rights, which would put the Lions at seven picks for 2019.

Zack Steffen Named U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year

Steffen is the 25th player to win the award. He joins Kasey Keller, Tim Howard, and Brad Friedel as the only keepers to win it. The 23-year-old also joins Peter Vermes as the only player to win the award in his debut year with the USMNT. Steffen narrowly edged out Tyler Adams, 44% to 38%. Weston McKennie came third in voting with 16%.

“It’s an honor to be put with those names that have won before me and to have the respect and confidence from teammates, coaches and staff,” Steffen said. “I’m thankful for my support system. Without them I couldn’t have done any of this. It gives me motivation and confidence to keep going and do bigger and better things.”

Alex Mendez was also voted the 2018 Young Male Player of the Year.

Manchester United Fires The Special One

The biggest news in the soccer world yesterday was that Manchester United fired Jose Mourinho. United played to an embarrassing 3-1 defeat at the hands of bitter rivals Liverpool on Sunday. That was apparently the last straw for the United board, after countless reports of Mourinho losing the locker room. United currently sits in sixth place in the Premier League, 19 points behind Liverpool.

Michael Carrick is currently running the team. However, a caretaker will be at the helm for the remainder of the season, and United will hire a new manager in the summer. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is expected to be named the caretaker, while it looks like Mike Phelan will become the assistant caretaker. Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino is the favorite to take over after the season, and he reportedly wants it.

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