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Lion Links: 12/26/18

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Orlando City spreads holiday cheer, learn more about new Lion Kyle Smith, Tim Weah loan deal nears, and more.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-New England Revolution vs Louisville City Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Happy day after Christmas, everyone. I have to go back to work today for the first time after 11 straight days off, so I’m not going to be in the best of moods this morning, especially since five of those days were at sea on a cruise. But I suspect I’ll muddle through, somehow.

I hope Santa brought everyone what they asked for this year. Me, I’d still like an Orlando Pride head coach pretty soon and some exciting player signings.

While we wait for Luiz Muzzi to rebuild the Lions and solidify the Pride, let’s check out some reading material.

Lions Spread the Holiday Cheer

As you’d expect, our club was out in the community on Christmas, lifting the spirits of those who need it most — in this case, the patients at Arnold Palmer Hospital. First came the preparation:

Then came the visit.

I’m not sure it’s wise to have Kingston around anyone with a heart condition, as he’s easily the most terrifying mascot in MLS, but it’s always great to see the club doing good work. (However...#FreeOldKingston)

Learn More About New Lion Kyle Smith

Kyle Smith’s story is pretty well known to the fans of Louisville City FC, but Orlando City supporters may not be quite as aware of his soccer journey. This story in the Lexington Herald-Leader paints the picture of Smith’s long odds at reaching the top flight here in the U.S. Smith didn’t get much fanfare out of high school and attended tiny Division III Transylvania University — under 1,000 students, per Wikipedia — in Lexington, KY, which sounds more like a movie about a vampire attending college than a place to play soccer.

Smith played for the Cincinnati Dutch Lions while working as an accountant for two years and ended up paying for two different tryouts with Louisville City before earning a tryout. The rest is history. Here are some words that should make Orlando fans happy:

Smith credited O’Connor and his assistants for creating a great team culture at Louisville City, and he’s hoping they bring the same to Orlando. He’s glad he made a big enough impression with them in Louisville to tag along.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Orlando and playing in front of all the fans,” Smith said. “I’m hoping we can win games and make the playoffs and eventually win the (MLS) Cup.”

Tim Weah to Go on Loan — Likely to Celtic

Rising young USMNT star Tim Weah is understandably having difficulty earning playing time for star-studded Paris Saint-Germain. As a result, rumors have swirled recently about a loan move and Weah confirmed that on Christmas day. French radio reports have Weah moving to Celtic in Scotland — which would make me happy as a fan of The Bhoys — on a six-month loan. It would be good for Weah’s development to get steady minutes with a club like Celtic, and it would be good for the USMNT in the long run.

“I just want to take the time to talk to everyone about the decision my family and I made about going on loan this winter,” Weah wrote in French on Instagram. “First of all, I want to thank the fans for their constant support, as well as the coaching staff and my teammates for making me feel part of the family.

Adams Wants to be Eventual USMNT Captain

Sticking with the USMNT for a moment, Tyler Adams told Grant Wahl on the Planet Futbol Podcast that he’d like to become captain of the national team one day.

“My eyes are set on that,” he said. “Why not aim to be a captain of the national team and continue to be an important stable piece for this team?”

I love Tyler’s ambition and drive and I think he’s going to be an outstanding USMNT regular for years to come.

Free Kicks
  • Did you get a Christmas present this cool yesterday?
  • Juventus will rest Cristiano Ronaldo against Atalanta.
  • In case you missed it while making merry with family, the San Jose Earthquakes released a stellar holiday video, ripping off paying homage to such holiday movie classics as Home Alone, Elf, A Christmas Story, and Die Hard. (Yes, it is a Christmas movie. Shut up.)
  • Those born on this date include TV host and comedian Steve Allen (1921), baseball’s Carlton Fisk (1947) and Ozzie Smith (1954), Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich (1963), film critic Matt Zoller Seitz (1968), Tottenham and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (1986), Game of Thrones star Kit Harington (1986). Russia/Valencia winger Denis Cheryshev (1990), and Wales/Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey (1990).

That’s all from me today. Enjoy the Boxing Day matches on television if you’re at home today and enjoy streaming them on the down low if you’re at work today. Just don’t let the boss catch you.