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Lion Links: 5/26/18

Stuff you might not know about Yoshi, fans buy Justin Meram dinner, the Fire stay true to their plan, and much more.

Carlos Romero, The Mane Land

Good morning, fans of the purple MLS (and NWSL) team. It’s a double match day and the soccer gods — or at least the schedule makers — were kind enough to split up the Lions and Pride so we can watch both today. Both the Pride and Orlando City take on Chicago teams, with the the NWSL match taking place at Toyota Park at 3:30 p.m. ET (Lifetime) and the Lions squaring off with the Fire at the OCS at 7:30 p.m. (TV27).

It should be a fun day even though the forecast calls for lots of rain. Be prepared and make sure to bring your poncho to your tailgate location of choice.

OK, enough preamble. Let’s go linking.

10 Things About Yoshi

Mike Gramajo over at is a good dude who I’ve known since 2015 and he’s been covering Orlando City for various publications for quite a while, putting out some good stuff. That includes this piece on Orlando City midfielder Yoshimar Yotún, as he prepares for the World Cup in Russia. The story includes several interesting notes about Yoshi, including his impending fatherhood, his favorite players and food, and more.

“I’ve accomplished all of my dreams, playing in the UEFA Champions League, Copa Libertadores and now playing in the FIFA World Cup,” said Yotun. “But one my dreams, and only God knows, I’m a huge fan of Real Madrid and I would like to put on one day that white jersey. These are only dreams, but dreams can be turned into reality and we will see what happens.”

Also, apparently I’m practically exactly the same as Yoshi, since we both like to take naps.

Fans Buy Justin Meram Dinner

Not to make this the Gramajo show, but I enjoyed this video he posted about Justin Meram having his dinner bought for him by some fans the other night.

As someone who once waited tables, I’m glad Justin took care of his waitress. Remember folks, these men and women depend on your tips to earn a living wage.

Fire Still Have Faith in Plan

Despite the slow start the Chicago Fire have gotten off to in 2018, club GM Nelson Rodriguez is convinced the plan will work. Chicago had a fairly quiet off-season despite being rumored among those pursuing Juan Quintero, Lee Nguyen, Iker Casillas, and others. Rodriguez said he’s not interested in bringing in star players just for the star appeal. The additions must make sense for what the club wants to do.

“If I don’t think the fit is right or I don’t think the value is right, then we’re not doing it,” Rodriguez said at a 90-minute roundtable with reporters on Wednesday. “We respect that every team has to pursue their way, do things in their way. I think there’s been a lot of inflation in the market, I think average players are getting a lot in transfers in salaries, and again, I believe that by and large, the process that we’ve adopted, the process that we used so far has yielded really good results for us.

“I’m not ready to discard that. I have to recognize that if everybody is operating in a different realm and world, then at some point I need to adjust because we can’t just cling to our beliefs and be an outlier. But I still believe we’re going to get the right person and the right players for us in a way that makes sense.”

Rodriguez’s club visits Orlando City Stadium tonight as the Lions look to finally break the string of home draws against Chicago. The teams have finished all three meetings in Orlando with a tie score.

Champions League Runs Come with a Price

Steve Davis over at FourFourTwo put together this interesting look at what MLS teams face when they focus on a deep run in the Concacaf Champions League. Toronto FC’s slow start and FC Dallas’ 2017 season are the most recent examples, but it’s been tough going for MLS clubs that go deep into the tournament.

Seven MLS teams have reached the semifinals of the Champions League since the modern era began in 2008 (D.C. United and the LA Galaxy did claim regional titles under the previous format). Only one of those teams has gone on to claim domestic hardware the same year, and that was Toronto FC in 2012, claiming a Voyageurs Cup at a time when true competition for it was pretty scarce, if we’re honest.

Whether a drain on the MLS campaign or not, I’d certainly like to see Orlando City hoist that CCL trophy one day and move on to the FIFA Club World Cup.

Free Kicks
  • If you think you had a busy month, try traveling nearly 17,000 miles like the Pride.
  • Four years after being charged with domestic violence, former USWNT and Seattle Reign goalkeeper Hope Solo had the charges against her dropped. Good week for people named Solo, I guess.
  • If you like things that are both cool and kind of sad, check out this train graveyard in Bolivia.
  • How Wayne Rooney spent his time in Washington D.C.
  • Those born on this date include John Wayne (1907), Manchester United legend Sir Matt Busby (1909), Miles Davis (1926), Brent Musburger (1939), Stevie Nicks (1948), Bobcat Goldthwait (1962), Lenny Kravitz (1964), South Park co-creator Matt Stone (1971), and Italian soccer legend Luca Toni (1977).

That’s all my time for today. Keep your internet dial tuned to The Mane Land for full coverage of the Orlando Pride at the Chicago Red Stars and Orlando City vs. the Chicago Fire. Oh, and Cam Lindley and Pierre Da Silva will be with Saint Louis FC tonight against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at 8 p.m.