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Lion Links: 5/5/18

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Mueller making headlines, Lions and Pride get a new sponsor, a new soccer team in Florida, and more!

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

Good morning, Mane Landers! It is a rare Saturday with no Orlando City or Pride game but at least from tomorrow to next Sunday there are four games. There’s always some playoff hockey and basketball, as well as the Kentucky Derby, today. The New York Derby is also this afternoon on ESPN, pitting the New York Red Bulls against New York City FC.

Now for some links.

Mueller Not Getting Enough Love Says FourFourTwo

Steve Davis of FourFourTwo came out with a list of eight MLS players who should be talked about more. The Rapids’ Dominique Badji, Sebastian Blanco of Portland, and Kansas City’s Johnny Russell were on the list, as well as Orlando City’ rookie Chris Mueller. Mueller has three goals and an assist in just over 500 minutes and his impressive play has earned himself starts in the past three games.

“It’s been a crazy past couple of weeks,” Mueller said. “The team is doing so well. We have five wins in a row. Being a part of that means a lot and making an impact is something every rookie wants to do and works towards. So I am very happy with where I am at right now. Honestly, I’ve just been trying to be myself, as a lot of the older guys have taught me. If you come in fear-based or you’re nervous and not showing who you really are, that doesn’t help.”

Orlando City and Pride Get a Sponsor

TAG Heuer has become the official watch and timekeeper of Orlando City, which is the first club-level partnership TAG Heuer has with a men’s and women’s professional team. Fans will now notice some changes in the stadium because of the deal, including a sign next to the stadium clock and a re-branded jumbotron.

“We have been a proud partner of MLS and U.S. Soccer since 2016 and are excited to extend this partnership to include Orlando’s professional MLS and NWSL teams,” Kilian Muller, president and CEO of TAG Heuer North America, said. “We have a rich history at TAG Heuer as the official timekeeper of sports and motorsport and we are proud to see this kind of partnership grow. It is an honor to have our brand be so visible in Orlando, a thriving soccer community in the U.S. for both the men’s and women’s game.”

USMNT Not Invited to 2019 COPA America

Japan and Qatar, however, will be. The international tournament will be hosted by Brazil next summer and Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela will also take part. In addition to the U.S., Mexico, which has participated in every COPA America since 1993, will not be invited.

New Soccer Team Created in Tallahassee

Tallahassee Soccer Club will be a new semi-professional soccer team in the state’s capital. Players on the Battle Lion will be part of Elite Amateur in the U.S. Soccer structure and not be paid and can still keep their NCAA eligibility. They will play at FSU’s intramural fields and rent out bleachers and play in either the Gulf Coast Premier League or United Premier Soccer League.

Free Kicks
  • The USMNT might not be looking great right now but there is plenty to look forward to.
  • Arsene Wenger had one last chance to win a trophy but Arsenal’s Europa league loss to Atletico Madrid ended any last hope. It is time for a new beginning in the historically great club.
  • Hakan Sukur made 112 caps and scored 51 goals from Turkey. After retiring from soccer, Sukur went into politics, but prior to a political coup he and his family fled the country as warrants were sent out for his arrest. Now, the soccer icon is a part-owner of Tuts Bakery and Cafe.
  • U.S. Soccer released a statement about Abby Dahlkemper’s warning from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency:
  • Steven Gerrard was officially unveiled as Rangers’ new head coach, on a four-year deal.
  • After eight years, Yaya Toure will leave Manchester City. Could the Ivory Coast midfielder end up in MLS?
  • Are MLS rivalries really rivalries?
  • Today in history Christopher Columbus found Jamaica (1494), Napoleon Bonaparte died (1821), Carnegie Hall opened (1891), Gandhi was freed from prison (1944), and Pete Rose reached 3,000 hits (1978). In Orlando City history, Dennis Chin, Charlie Campbell, and Ian Fuller all scored in the final 21 minutes to beat the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 3-2 (2012).