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Lion Links 3/15/18

U.S. Open Cup handbook released, Dwyer trains with team, Carli Lloyd motivated, and more.

Seattle Sounders FC v Sporting Kansas City Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Happy Thursday, Mane Landers. Hope you guys are enjoying your day and getting set for another fun weekend of Orlando City soccer as the team travels to New York City FC for its first road game of the season this Saturday. Before we get started with Lion Links, Orlando City has an off-week next week, so support the Orlando Pride in their home opener against Utah Royals FC:

2018 U.S. Open Cup Gets More Rewarding

The United States Soccer Federation announced the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup handbook on Wednesday, and it brought some very fun news.

The tournament will feature a record 33 different states, with over 90 total teams. Nine of those teams will be from Florida, including Orlando City and the Lakeland Tropics, who recently qualified. A whopping 52 of the 90 teams are amateurs and the new format will also have an increase in prize money. The champion will receive $300,000 and the team that advances the furthest in each respective division will receive $25,000.

The rest of the handbook speaks on fixing travel expenses for teams with low budgets, with match-ups possibly being based on proximity and a much more flexible schedule. Either way, these changes make the U.S. Open Cup even more fun this year.

Dwyer, Colmán and Powers All Back at Training

We all know Orlando City has been dealing with a great deal of injuries, but some relatively good news came out of training. Dom Dwyer, Josué Colmán, and Dillon Powers are all back to training with the club. This is some good news as Dwyer and Colmán are both vital pieces to the squad and Powers also contributes where he’s needed. With Sacha Kljestan debuting this Saturday against New York City FC, the injury/suspension bug is clearing up for the Lions.

There is still no update on how severe Stéfano Pinho’s injury is, as the team is still taking its time handling the injury. There are also no major updates on the status of Uri Rosell, so the shape of Orlando’s squad could form soon.

Carli Lloyd More Motivated Than Ever

Fifa.com got the chance to interview the USWNT superstar and she confirmed some big news on the World Cup in France next year.

“Absolutely. France 2019 will be spectacular. There’s no doubt about that. France is a football country, they take pride in that. Their women’s team is unbelievable. I have no doubt that it is going to be a fantastic tournament. It will be a great opportunity to see how the women’s game continuously improves and grows. Of course, first we have to make the roster, we have to qualify, but right now that is the process and the journey.”

With Lloyd at age 35, this is likely her last World Cup. Lloyd says she is more motivated than ever, and that she and the USWNT will look to repeat as World Cup winners in the summer of 2019.

The automatic qualifying for North America will take place at the Women’s Concacaf Gold Cup between October 4-17.

U.S. Soccer Could Cost FOX Millions

After the United States lost to Trinidad and Tobago in maybe the most embarrassing moment for U.S. soccer, FOX probably knew they were in trouble after already paying $400 million for the English-language television rights for the 2018 World Cup. In the 2014 World Cup, four of the top five most-watched matches included the United States, three of those matches being group stage matches. With the United States being absent, Mexico now becomes FOX and Telemundo’s main target for United States fans.

With a vast Hispanic culture in the United States, that will obviously be FOX’s target audience, and the network has prepared accordingly. Most of the advertising has now been geared towards Hispanic audiences, but we will see how ratings are affected in June and July.

Free Kicks

I would like to go ahead and recommend Jessica Jones to everyone who may or may not have seen the Marvel superhero show on Netflix. It is an amazing show and its second season was recently released. If you watched the first season, I highly recommend watching the second, and if you haven’t watched either season, you won’t be disappointed. Anyways, enjoy the rest of your Thursday!