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Lion Links: 4/20/18

Mueller’s impressive start, Pride look for first win, Marta and Brazil qualify, and much more!

Australia v Brazil Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope the work week hasn’t been too rough for you. If so, just take some comfort in the fact that it’s Friday and you’re that much closer to a weekend packed with soccer. The boys are back in town, as Orlando City hosts the San Jose Earthquakes tomorrow night looking to stretch its win streak to four straight. Sunday evening, the Orlando Pride will try to shake off their loss in Portland as they return to Orlando City Stadium seeking their first win of the season against the Houston Dash. That’s quite a bit to look forward to as you go about your day, but for now enjoy some links from what you may have missed in the world of soccer.

Mueller’s Hustle Recognized and Rewarded

I think most fans were expecting big things from Orlando City forward Chris Mueller in his Lions career, but I don’t think anyone was expecting him to have such an impact straight out of the gate. Just a rookie, Mueller has shown an unprecedented hustle and scoring prowess in MLS, playing in all six of the Lions’ games and scoring twice. His relentlessness is not going unnoticed by Head Coach Jason Kreis and the coaching staff as he fights for minutes in a crowded group of Orlando City attackers.

Pride Confident Before Sunday’s Game Despite Absences

When the Orlando Pride take the field Sunday, they will still be without the likes of Marta, Alanna Kennedy, and Monica. Despite those stars, and others, not getting back until the end of the month thanks to international duty, Head Coach Tom Sermanni believes his club is well-equipped to get three points Sunday. Sermanni has been preaching about patience all season in regards to the Pride’s slow start to 2018 and he’s right that things aren’t nearly as bad as they may look on paper. In fact, the Pride had an identical 0-2-1 start last season and ended up in the postseason after going on a strong run when the team was at full strength. Until then, the Pride will just need to grab points where they come and take advantage of their chances.

Marta and Brazil Beat Argentina, Qualify for 2019 World Cup

Rev up those page translators folks, because Marta and the Brazilian Women’s National Team are making headlines down in Chile during the 2018 Copa America Femenina. Brazil took on Argentina in its second game of the tournament’s final stage and came out of the match with all three points after a convincing 3-0 victory. Orlando Pride players Marta and Monica both started for Brazil and it was Marta who got the scoring started in the second half when she found Cristiane in the 47th minute for Brazil’s first goal.

The win, and the draw between Chile and Colombia yesterday, guaranteed the Brazilian women a spot in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the team deserves it after a dominant tournament thus far.

New Coach Joins OCYS

Orlando City’s Youth has added another coach to its staff by bringing on Scott McCulloch to coach the Orlando City 2006 Girls. McCulloch is a familiar face to Orlando City, having worked with Orlando City B in the past. But it was his time as the technical director for South Bervard FC that made McCulloch a reputable name in the youth training world. Congratulations on the new position Scott!

The Domino Effect of Target Allocation Money

Just call it Garbernomics. The “trickle-down” effect that comes from the use of Targeted Allocation Money creates many benefits for MLS, but no area has seen more impact than the international spot market. Only six teams have open international spots and the general price to buy a spot from another team has practically doubled. The injection of TAM is doing wonders for teams and hopefully it will lead to even more talent coming to MLS.

Free Kicks
  • San Jose Earthquakes defender Harold Cummings will not be playing this weekend against Orlando City after the disciplinary committee has suspended him for an additional game after reviewing his red card last week.
  • It’s not every day that you see a defender win MLS Goal of the Week, but Portland Timbers fullback Alvas Powell won the honor after his brilliant solo goal last week. The award gives Powell the MLS triple crown for Week 7 after winning both Man of the Match and Player of the Week honors earlier this week.
  • Check out this screamer from former Lion Pedro Ribeiro as he scores from miles out for Fresno FC in the USL.
  • The Chicago Fire are renaming Toyota Park into probably one of the worst stadium names I’ve heard for the 2019 season: SeatGeek Stadium.
  • According to FIFA, every World Cup match this summer will feature four VAR officials and large replay screens for review. FIFA believes this will help them make the right calls during the World Cup and you can totally refer back to this free kick when the officials inevitably get the calls wrong.
  • Paris Saint-Germain became the first European soccer team to invest in the popular video game Dota 2 after partnering with LGD Gaming from China. I’m sure fans are thrilled at the announcement as at least now a PSG team will have a realistic shot at winning a title outside of France.
  • Things took an ugly turn in Istanbul in a match between Fenerbahce and Besiktas when Besiktas Manager Senol Gunes was struck by a thrown object and fell to the ground. The match was abandoned and Gunes thankfully has no lasting damage according to doctors, but the pictures weren’t pretty in Turkey.

That’s it for your Lion Links. Only a few hours separate you from the weekend so good luck out there Mane Landers. Have a great Friday!