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Lion Links: 4/25/18

Yoshi Yotún shining bright, U.S. U-16 boys win in Italy, NWSL weekly awards, and more.

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

It’s Hump Day, people! Let’s get excited for a quick week filled with UEFA Champions League and, (almost) more importantly, the NFL Draft. For those that don’t remember, I am a die-hard Cleveland fan, which means this is my Super Bowl! It’s kind of like Liverpool until they got the god that is Mo Salah.

We’ll stat with a quick happy birthday to my goalkeeper-in-arms, Joe Bendik! Cheers, Joe!

The reports today are limited, as this week we’re talking Yoshi Yotún’s good start, the U.S. Boys Youth National Team victory, and a few more quick updates.

Yoshi is Finding His Stride in Year Two

Yoshimar Yotún, the Lions’ star midfielder from Peru, is really finding his footing this season and he is showing consistency in form early in his second campaign — and his first full season — with Orlando City.

Our Michael Citro even called it out yesterday on how big his impact has been overall (note he corrected Kaká’s total to 22/75):

Yotún has tallied four assists in just seven games, already equaling his total from 2017 in three fewer appearances. Once he was moved into a more natural defensive midfield position — where he plays for Peru — and paired up with another partner, he’s really been able to shine.

“Yoshi’s been a really, really solid and consistent performer for us this entire season,” said Head Coach Jason Kreis following the win against San Jose. “He came in last year and, I think, adjusted to the league as quickly, if not quicker, that any person I’ve ever coached. So to see him taking a step on at the beginning of the season doesn’t surprise me in the slightest and I think he has some more to offer still.”

U.S. U-16 Boys Take Big Win Against Italy

The U.S. U-16 Boys National Team started off hot in defense of their Torneo Delle Nazioni title in Italy with a 1-0 result over the home country.

It’s always important to start quick, especially in enemy territory, and the young Nats got a 25th-minute goal off a dangerous cross:

From there they held on over the remaining time to get the W. They will play Libya on Thursday at 4:45 a.m. ET

Ethan Finlay Likely Out for the Season

For those that don’t know about one of the brightest spots for Minnesota United, you weren't watching when Minnesota visited here Week 2 when Ethan Finlay beat the Lions with his brace. Unfortunately for the Loons, Finlay will be sitting out for what looks like the rest of the season with an apparent ACL injury from this past week’s match against Seattle. All the best, Ethan, on a swift and strong recovery.

NWSL Weekly Awards

Former Orlando Pride goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe has been in every voting for Save of the Week this season and she takes the award this week for her PK save:

Chicago Red Star Sofia Huerta won Player of the Week:

No Orlando Pride players were nominated this week.

Free Kicks:

That’ll do it! Have a great weekend, I hope your NFL team succeeds this week unless you’re from Baltimore or Pittsburgh. And can’t wait to watch this weekend’s slate of matches.