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Lion Links: 4/8/18

Justin Meram’s lucky break into soccer, VAR overturns a red card in MLS for the first time, Cyle Larin scores in his Beşiktaş debut, and more.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers, but more importantly, happy match day! It’s looking overcast outside today, so if you’re headed down to Orlando City Stadium to see the Lions host the Timbers, be sure to dress with the potential of rain in mind. Also, be sure to treat Mohamed El-Munir with extra love today as it’s his 26th birthday. It’d be pretty cool if the home supporters could get a happy birthday chant in at some point during the match, but I digress.

I’m really looking forward to this Timbers match, and I know you all are too, but here are some Lion Links to hold you over for a few hours:

Justin Meram Almost Didn’t Play College Soccer

The headline is almost unbelievable, but it’s true. One of Orlando City’s brightest players in 2018 so far, Meram wasn’t always on the road towards a career in professional soccer. In his interview with ESPN’s Taylor Twellman, Meram explained that it was by chance that he was spotted playing in a park by an alumnus of a local college. After collecting championships and personal accolades at Yavapai College in Arizona, Meram transferred to Michigan University, later making his jump into the professional game. It goes to show, folks, anything is possible. Maybe there’s someone watching your Sunday beer league matches, looking for the next Justin Meram. I mean, probably not…but you never know.

Orlando Pride Stars Contained by Korea Republic in Asian Cup Draw

Australia drew with a stout Korea Republic side yesterday, 0-0. The Orlando Pride’s Emily van Egmond made the starting 11 and Alanna Kennedy was brought on in the 57th minute. Australia was expected to win this Asian Cup opener against Korea Republic, so the result certainly comes as a surprise. Australia plays Vietnam in their next Asian Cup match on Tuesday. They then face off against Japan in what should be an exciting clash on Friday.

Speaking of Pride stars, Marta and Monica started for Brazil and although neither scored a goal, they got quite a result against Ecuador in Copa America Femenina action.

An MLS First: Red Card Overturned by Video Review

For the first time in MLS history, a red card has been rescinded as a result of video review. During the opening minute of yesterday’s 5-0 Atlanta United thrashing of LAFC, Atlanta defender Chris McCann went in for a hard challenge on LAFC’s Benny Feilhaber. The initial call from head referee Ted Unkel was an immediate red card, but upon further video review, McCann was summoned back to the field and his sending off was downgraded to only a booking. It’s relieving to hear that video review is actually working for someone...even if it is Atlanta United.

Controversial Ex-Lion Cyle Larin Bags First Goal for Bestikas in Debut

Bittersweet isn’t quite the word I’m looking for, but it does apply. Former Lion Cyle Larin, now a reserve striker for Beşiktaş in Turkey, scored his first goal for his new club just three minutes into his debut off the bench. I can’t say I’m surprised, Larin has a very bright future ahead of him in Europe and I look forward to seeing him in Champions League matches one day. Congratulations, Cyle. For anyone who hates reading this, just envision the number nine kit with the name “Meram” on the back of it. Feeling a little better now? Good, now focus on that feeling as you watch the goal:

Free Kicks

That’s about all that’s fit to print for today. I hope I’ve helped quell the Lions vs. Timbers anticipation for a little bit, but that feels hypocritical to be honest, because I can’t wait to soak this match in. The boys look good and they’re starting to gel. I predict a 3-1 win.

Have a great Sunday and enjoy the match, Mane Landers, and have an excellent week.