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Lion Links: 5/11/18

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MLS player salary list released, Pride head west, Orlando City Stadium’s newest feature, and more!

MLS: Orlando City SC at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

What’s up, Mane Landers? It’s another Friday and another day closer to this Sunday’s huge game with Atlanta United here in Orlando. We’ve got a lot of coverage coming between now and then to get you up to date on the budding rivalry, but for now let’s indulge in some Lion Links!

MLS Player Salary Information Released

One of the most intriguing things to find out each MLS season is how much money each player is making compared to other players around the league. The Major League Soccer Players Association detailed that and more by releasing MLS-wide salary figures, providing each player’s base salary and total compensation. Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco leads the pack in total compensation ($7,115,555.67) while the Chicago Fire’s Bastian Schweinsteiger has the highest base salary ($6,100,00.08).

In Orlando, forward Dom Dwyer has replaced the retired Kaká as Orlando City’s highest-paid player, raking in $1,383,333.33. Close behind is fellow Designated Player Sacha Kljestan ($1,100,000.04) who led MLS in assists the past two years. Check out how much the rest of the Lions are making this year in the link above and let me know in the comments what you think.

And speaking of Dwyer and Kljestan, both are in the top 10 highest-paid Americans in the league. Former Lion Brek Shea makes the top 15 and Orlando center back Jonathan Spector isn’t far from making the list.

Orlando Pride Return to Portland to Face the Thorns in Their Sides

Deemed this week’s Lifetime Game of the Week, the Orlando Pride finish their road trip with a visit to Providence Park to take on the Portland Thorns for the second time this season. When the Pride were in Portland earlier this year on April 15, they surrendered an early lead to lose the game, 2-1. Since then, the Pride have only allowed one goal in four games while the Thorns have scored in all four games since their win. So it should be a pretty interesting game, especially with both teams having identical records and both coming off draws. Despite the similarities, Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni knows that Portland will have the edge at home and the Pride will have their work cut off for them.

“Traveling to Portland is never an easy task and, coming off a physical midweek game in Utah, we expect it to be another battle to close out this road trip,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “That being said, I’m happy with the way we’ve started the season and, obviously, the way we’ve played over the previous four matches to take points from all of them. If we contain the midfield and take advantage of our opportunities, we’re hopefully heading back home with the points.”

Orlando City the Most Improved Team of 2018

With a quarter of the MLS season done and gone, we are starting to get a better sense of each team and some believe that Orlando City is the most improved squad of 2018 after making great moves during the off-season. Performing nearly one point per game better than it did in 2017, Orlando City has relied on its big-name players and rookies alike to win six straight as it tries to reach the playoffs for the first time.

Orlando City Stadium to Receive Landmark Sculpture

University of Central Florida students have designed what could become an iconic fixture at Orlando City Stadium. Named “Gyration,” the soccer-ball-shaped sculpture will be over 15 feet high and nearly 10 feet in diameter and greet all Orlando City Stadium visitors with ornate shadows projected onto the ground. The goal is for the solar-powered structure to hit the concrete in 2019. Congrats to the students responsible!

Wayne Rooney Set for Summer Move to D.C. United

Nothing is confirmed, but Wayne Rooney’s reported move to D.C. United is becoming more and more set in stone by the minute. The English legend is coming off a rather disappointing year with Everton and Rooney’s representatives are reportedly in the United States working out the finer details of the move. There have been some complaints that this move revives the idea that MLS is a retirement destination for waning foreign stars, but D.C. United is lacking a good forward and jersey sales never hurt either.

Free Kicks
  • After narrowly missing what would’ve been a game-winner against the Orlando Pride Wednesday night, Utah Royals FC’s Katie Stengel attributes her miss to a poor finish and a deflection by Ali Krieger’s “stupid big toe.”

That’s all from me, Mane Landers. I hope you all have an amazing Friday and stay safe this weekend. If you see me at the Orlando City game this weekend, feel free to say hello! I finally uploaded a picture on here after a year and a half of being on staff so you guys can actually know what I look like now. Vamos Orlando!