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Lion Links: 6/20/18

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Alex Leitão speaks out on the process, Bobby Murphy was surprised by Kreis news, Yoshi transfer rumors, a Florida Cup update, and much more.

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MLS: New York Red Bulls at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Greetings, all you wonderful people! We are officially through the first round of matches at the World Cup and I have to say I’m very excited at the overall play so far. No match has been a 0-0 draw to date. While I, for one, love those types of matches, that means for casual fans goals are coming in droves and that’s way more exciting for them.

Today we’ve got a U.S. Open Cup match for the Lions, more news rolling along in the coaching department for Orlando City, an interesting transfer rumor, your World Cup recap from yesterday, and more.

Leitão Officially Speaks Out on Hiring Plan

Orlando City CEO Alex Leitão has finally spoke out on the hiring process of the new manager. In an exclusive interview with ProSoccerUSA, the CEO noted that they are hopeful to announce the hire next week but it won’t be rash.

“As much as we understand that fans are very anxious, that we are very anxious and to give the fans as name as fast as possible, it’s very, very important to us to do it right,” Leitão said in a phone interview. “We’re not rushing. We’re not going to take too much time with process.”

That’s all fine, well, and good but this is the comment that should worry fans when discussing how he came to make this decision.

“I could just relax and give time and see what happens. This is not my nature. This is not how I want to do things. I’m not going to take the easy path. I’ll take the path that I believe is best for the club. This is exactly what I’m doing.”

Building a club takes time. I literally wrote the article on it, and knowing that building takes patience is one of the most vital attributes of club management. In fact, having patience Is the harder path I’d argue. It’s easy to be impulsive.

I hope they make the right decision, but they’ve often been crude and impulsive in these decisions, which isn’t usually the best course for the long-term health of the club. Again, I hope for the best, but these comments have me sweating.

Bobby Murphy Surprised at Kreis Firing

You should know now that Orlando City relieved Jason Kreis from coaching duties and has placed Bobby Murphy at the helm until a new head coach can be found. Especially since that means you didn't even read the first Lion Link (my reaction if you did this).

As for Murphy’s take on the situation, it wasn't something he saw coming.

“I got word after it happened,” Murphy said. “Jason and I spoke and that will stay between us. The club approached me and asked if I’d be willing to do it and that was it. Then it was just a matter of trying to organize everything for the weekend and getting ready for training.”

Typically your assistants won't know before the head coach, but getting the sense that Murphy didn't have an inclination on this is what is more troubling. Potentially pointing to a knee-jerk reaction by management.

As for his plan in the interim:

“We’ve got to regroup. We’ve got to come with a fresh new energy. We’ve got to start our season anew, almost in a way. We’re still above the playoff line. We’ve got to keep pushing ourselves along. We’ve got a good chance in the Open Cup to make a run.”

Yoshi Yotún Off to Turkey?

Orlando City and Perú midfielder (currently in the World Cup) Yoshí Yotún has supposedly been targeted by Turkish giant Besiktas. If that club sounds familiar, that’s because they were the ones heavily involved in the Cyle Larin saga and where he ultimately ended up.

Here’s hoping that City isn't listening too seriously, as we've seen what’s been missing without Yoshi in the side. His attacking-oriented play from a deep-lying position is something lacking in both Cristian Higuita and Uri Rosell, and if the new manager continues the 4-2-3-1, Yotún will be in demand every week.

Florida Cup Gets Huge Name for its Fifth Anniversary

We’ll all get to see one of the most storied clubs in the world when Ajax joins the the Florida Cup, playing in January 2019.

“It has been a long-cherished wish to bring international powerhouse Ajax to the Florida Cup,” Florida Cup CEO Ricardo Villar said. “That they are now joining for our five year jubilee makes us very proud. Every year, we try to strengthen the field and Ajax’s commitment to the Florida Cup 2019 is another step forward.”

Ajax is the second club to be announced with São Paulo already announcing their return to the event.

Here’s hoping that the Ajax inclusion only breeds optimistic news for some better competition coming to Orlando next year.

FIFA World Cup Day 6 Recap
  • Japan beat 10-man Colombia 2-1
  • Senegal bested Poland 2-1
  • Hosts Russia dominated Egypt 3-1 for a near guarantee to make it into the next round
Free Kicks

I leave you on a serious note, unfortunately, but one I feel very strongly about. Alexi Lalas was recently threatened by a fan in Moscow to the point that he actually felt threatened for his life. I love this sport. It is a huge part of my life. And we all get emotional. But in no way should anyone be attacked on this level. Get some perspective, take a breath, and remember at the end of the day it is just a game that we all love and want to see succeed.

That’s it! Have a great rest of the week. Enjoy the matches this weekend after the long road trips and drink plenty of fluids because it’s getting hot again!