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Lion Links: 2/8/18

Ben Olsen will not coach the opener at Orlando, USWNT adds April friendly, Liga MX considers halting pro/rel, and more.

Soccer: Tournament of Nations - Women’s Soccer-Japan at USA Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Hello there, fans of the team with the purple sunshine lion badge. I rise from my sickbed to bring you the newsworthy happenings of the moment. Like clockwork, I get sick every single February without exception but this this year’s illness has been a weird flu thing that’s had all sorts of weird ups and downs where I feel like I’m better one day and then get knocked for a loop the next. I hate it. But of course it coincides with my dad’s annual visit for Speedweeks over in Daytona, so it’s also as inconvenient as can possible, in addition to being just plain sucky.

But hey, other people have it worse than me, so it’s time to keep a stiff upper lip, grab a fist full of Dayquil caplets and Airborne chewables, keep a box of tissues nearby and give you all of our top stories at this hour.

Olsen Out for Opener

When Orlando City takes the field against D.C. United on March 3 to open the 2018 MLS season, the visitors will be without their head coach. United boss Ben Olsen has been suspended for the opener by MLS and fined an undisclosed amount for giving the referee an earful after D.C.’s RFK Stadium finale in the fall.

He admitted directing unsavory language at referee Dave Gantar on the field after the final whistle and in the tunnel leading to the locker rooms following the 2-1 defeat in the final MLS game at RFK.

Assistant Chad Ashton will call the shots from the sidelines for United. Of course, Olsen isn’t the only one missing the opening game, as Orlando City’s Sacha Kljestan will be serving the first match of his two-game ban for his actions in the playoffs against Toronto while with the Red Bulls last season.

USWNT Adds April Friendly vs. Mexico

Orlando Pride stars Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris, and Sydney Leroux could see international action on April 8 (1:30 p.m. ET, FOX) when the United States hosts Mexico at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

This game does fall in a FIFA international window, which should make the usual suspects available for selection although it will be a slight bump in the NWSL schedule. Still, it’s only two weeks into the regular season, which begins March 24-25, and it’s certainly worth getting a preview of regional rivals Mexico.

That’s going to be a busy day for Orlando soccer fans, as the Lions host Portland at 4 p.m. We’ll make do. Somehow.

Your Obligatory Daily USSF Presidential Race Stuff

Another day brings another slew of stories about the candidates vying to build up the U.S. Soccer Federation into the world dominating force we all want it to become. Let’s hit it all, highlight style:

Liga MX Considers Suspending Promotion/Relegation

Mexico’s top flight has a nominal pro/rel system at best (just one team per year) but Liga MX is considering putting at least a temporary halt to the practice. The proposal is reportedly in order to ensure second tier Liga Asencio clubs meet minimum standards set by the Mexican federation if and when they are promoted to Liga MX.

“There are many proposals on the table, that is one (suspending promotion and relegation),” Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla said. “They handle all the possibilities, extremes and means, until after all is the best decision that can be applied and that is the best for Mexican football.”

Obviously, the move would be controversial in Mexico and around the world, but it would breathe a sigh of relief for some mainstay clubs such as Chivas and Atlas out of Guadalajara, which have been relegation threatened in the past.

Free Kicks
  • Is Jonathan Amon the next big thing among young U.S. players?
  • This isn’t soccer related but hot damn is it a good read about Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to summit Mt. Everest.
  • Those born on this date include General William Tecumseh Sherman — who is undefeated on the road against the SEC (1820), Jules Verne (1828), Lana Turner (1921), The Honeymooners actress Audrey Meadows (1926), James Dean (1931), legendary film score composer John Williams (1932), Nick Nolte (1941), Mary Steenburgen (1953), Cubs Manager Joe Maddon (1954), John Grisham (1955), Spock’s Beard — trust me, great band — bassist Dave Meros (1956), Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil (1961), Gary Coleman (1968), Alonzo Mourning (1970), wrestler Big Show (1972), Seth “Scott Evil” Green (1974), and football’s Julio Jones (1989).

That’s all my time for this morning. I hope you enjoy your Thursday morning while I’m shaking off the effects of last night’s Nyquil and hitting the caffeine hard to try to stay upright today. Once I figure out how to sleep in an isolation tank filled with Lysol I might just shake this bug. In the meantime, I leave you with this impersonation of Dom Dwyer from someone who is kinda close to the Lions’ striker:

Just like dad!

A post shared by Sydney Leroux Dwyer (@sydneyleroux) on