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Lion Links: 12/4/18

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Another award for Marta, Concacaf Champions League draw, Ballon d’Or winners announced, and more.

Soccer: World Cup-Croatia vs France Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, Mane Landers. The holiday season is upon us, which means my winter break at my job is finally, sort of, a little bit in sight. It sure can’t come soon enough, though. There’s lots to talk about today, so on to the links.

Draw for Concacaf Champions League

The match-ups are all set for the five MLS teams taking part in the 2019 Concacaf Champions League. The Houston Dynamo will play Guastatoya, from Guatemala, Toronto FC plays Club Atletico Independiente from Panama, and Sporting Kansas City has drawn Toluca out of Mexico. The last two spots are not yet finalized, as while Atlanta United has secured one of them, their seeding is not yet determined. If Atlanta wins the MLS Cup, then the New York Red Bulls will play Club Atletico Pantoja from the Dominican Republic, but if the Portland Timbers win then they will play Atletico Pantoja while Atlanta faces the 2018 Caribbean Club champions.

Prestigious Awards Roundup

The awarding of the Ballon d’Or took place yesterday, along with several other honors of note. Real Madrid’s Luka Modric took home the men’s prize, breaking a 10-year monopoly of the award by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. For the women, Ada Hegerberg of Lyon took home the first ever women’s prize, beating out the Orlando Pride’s own Marta. It wasn’t all bad for Marta though, as she was awarded the Bola de Prata, the highest award in Brazilian soccer, in honor of her achievements. Elsewhere though, Kylian Mbappe unsurprisingly won the first edition of the Kopa trophy, awarded to the best player under the age of 21. Christian Pulisic actually came in (a distant) second place for that particular award.

Premier League Managers in the News

Premier League managers are making the news for all the wrong reasons. Mark Hughes was sacked by Southampton yesterday after the team’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United left them 18th in the table on a paltry nine points and still without a home win. The Welsh manager was only at the reigns for eight months but was unable right the sinking ship even after helping the team stay in the first division after being appointed in March of last year. Elsewhere, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been charged by the FA for his slightly over-exuberant celebrations following his team’s last-gasp victory over Everton on Sunday. After Divock Origi’s 96th-minute winner, Klopp sprinted roughly 40 yards onto the field to hug goalkeeper Alisson. His opposite number for the day, Marco Silva, doesn’t bear any ill will over the incident, but the English FA looked on it less kindly and has charged the German with misconduct.

Roadblock for British Women’s Team?

There may be something standing in the way of Great Britain fielding a women’s soccer team at the 2020 Olympic Games. That potential obstacle is the Scottish FA, which has expressed its concern at how fielding a unified team could affect the country’s FIFA status. Previously, a deal was thought to have been agreed upon, but now the SFA may be looking to back out of the agreement after concerns have arisen that fielding a British women’s team will threaten individual member status within FIFA, even though soccer’s governing body has said it will not. While Great Britain deployed a men’s and women’s team at the 2012 Olympic games in London, no such agreement took place for the most recent iteration of the games in Rio.

Free Kicks
  • Feyenoord has some of the wiliest ball boys in the game.
  • Alexi Lalas has dropped some new music. I leave you to make your own judgement on it, but personally I think it could be a lot worse.

That’s all for me, ya’ll. Don’t forget that the MLS Cup final is this Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. Be good to each other, and get all your Christmas shopping done early. Ciao.