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Lion Links: 4/22/18

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The Lions make it four straight, the high school debate rages on, an Orlando City youth update, and more.

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Orlando City SC Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. Let me start out today’s Links with a birthday wish to Orlando City’s first-ever MLS club captain, Kaká, who turns 36 years young today! The legend was probably smiling ear to ear during yesterday’s Orlando City match, as the Lions held on to their exciting early lead to down the San Jose Earthquakes, 3-2.

Today’s featured match comes later in the day as the Pride take on the Houston Dash at Orlando City Stadium. Unfortunately, there’s some time between now and then...so I’ll do what I can to distract you, even it only for a few minutes.

With that said, here’s your daily dosage of Lion Links:

Lions Win Fourth Straight

The Lions jumped out to an impressive early lead and then weathered the potential comeback storm from the Earthquakes to secure all three points and add to their growing winning streak. This one was full of captivating stories, including the continuing emergence of young Chris Mueller and star striker Dom Dwyer’s 100th career goal. The former, still only a rookie, is truly starting to shine in the squad as he netted yet another splendid goal, nabbing an assist to go along with it. Dwyer continues to put in glowing performances that display his importance to the club. Things are truly starting to come together for the Lions, and the Colorado Rapids, next up on the Lions’ schedule, would have been wise to have taken notes on the night.

And tune in later this morning for Guilherme Torres’ five takeaways from the match.

The High School Soccer Debate Rages On

Despite vast improvements in structure over the last few decades, high school soccer is still the topic of contentious debate. For some, it represents an irreparably broken system to youth development in this country. To others, it’s an infrastructure that should be heavily invested in due to its unique environment. It’s a topic that often incites furious disagreements among the footy faithful in the United States and it won’t be going away anytime soon. Mike Woitalla over at socceramerica.com provides his take on what should be done to emphasize high school soccer. What do you think?

Orlando City Youth Updates

The Orlando City youth teams were out in full force yesterday as the various age groups took on Weston FC. The young ladies took home only positive results, as the U-14s won (5-1), the U-15s won (5-0), and U-17s drew (1-1). The young men brought home a mixed bag of results as the U-15s lost (1-2) and the U-17s won (1-0). It’s always encouraging to see the young Lions perform well and put up results, and this update is no different. Keep it up youngsters, the future is bright purple!

U.S. U-17s Off to an Excellent Start in World Cup Qualifying

The Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship kicked off this weekend and the ladies representing the U.S. showed up to play, winning their first group stage match against Costa Rica, 4-0. The tournament, which also doubles as World Cup qualifying, will serve as a measuring stick for the U-17 team, which has historically struggled since the inaugural 2008 U-17 Women’s World Cup. The bright start is painting a promising picture for the rest of the tournament. Tune in later this evening as the U.S. takes on Bermuda at 10 p.m. (ET).

Free Kicks
  • Don’t miss any more of the action! The folks over at mlssoccer.com put this handy little guide together to help fans tune in to out-of-market MLS action.
  • MLS standout Marvell Wynne is calling it quits after an impressive 13-year career that saw him win an MLS Cup with the Colorado Rapids.
  • Do you always root for the little guy? The underdog? Meet Dulwich Hamlet, a club with more than a century of history that’s fighting for it’s life.
  • Tom Sermanni is just pure class. Here he is congratulating some of his Pride stars on their recent exploits in qualifying for the 2019 World Cup in France:

Congratulations, ladies!

  • Mexico legend and former Barcelona defender Rafa Marquez has been given the green light to play in what would be his fifth World Cup, pending the manager naming him to the squad. The news comes after Marquez battled allegations of connections to drug trafficking groups. He intends to retire after hopefully captaining a World Cup team a record five times.
  • FC Dallas hosted Chris Shiflett and the Foo Fighters for a scrimmage break from their Concrete and Gold Tour. They also went the full 90 — quite impressive for a couple of rock stars.
  • And last but not least, here’s Christian Pulisic doing Christian Pulisic things:

That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. If you’re tailgating for the Pride match at 5 p.m., have a great time and be safe! It should be a good one with both the Pride and Dash still searching for their first wins of the season. They’ll be coming in with a purpose, and the tilt should prove to be an entertaining affair. I predict a 2-0 win for the Pride at home.

Enjoy the match and your Sunday evening, folks, and then have an excellent week!