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Lion Links: 7/25/18

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More fallout from Saturday night’s call, Justin Meram misses training, Marta up for FIFA Best Female, Camila’s journey back, and more.

Colin Ziemer, The Mane Land

Greetings to everyone this fine Wednesday. I’m reporting to you from the road — Charlotte, to be exact — because I don’t really like my own bed anyways. It’s a heavily slated week of soccer with Orlando City matches tomorrow and Sunday, and the U.S. women and the Tournament of Nations filling in the gaps.

Today we're talking the trade rumors with more on the officiating from Saturday, Justin Meram missing training, FIFA’s shortlist for the world’s best, Camila’s road back to the pitch, the biggest transfer in MLS history, and much more.

Meram Missing from Training

I hate this saga. Lions’ midfielder Justin Meram did not dress for training yesterday as he has been mentioned in trade rumors with both FC Cincinnati and the Columbus Crew. He's been left out of the last three team sheets and clearly something is wrong here. I point to management on this one as hopefully some steps are taken to reconcile what appears to be a bit of a toxic situation from the outside. City spent $750,000 of Targeted Allocation Money, $300,000 of General Allocation Money, and a 2019 international roster spot to acquire Meram. The Lions shouldn’t be having this level of issues with a player that I’ve personally followed for years without any reported issues. I don’t know what the solution is here, but when players have this level of a problem, it’s not just one thing.

In other news, Earl Edwards Jr., who was rolled up on last weekend against the Crew, was at training so it doesn’t seem too serious.

PRO Mistake in the Columbus Game Acknowledged

PRO has actually admitted a mistake! The organization has come out and said that the awarded penalty and the failure of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to overturn the call were mistakes by the PRO crew. While nice for a change, still doesn’t mean much as the mistakes on the field cost Orlando City at least one point. The interesting part to this story — as more details come out — is that the VAR from Saturday’s match, Jon Freemon, has a rough history with Lions Head Coach James O’Connor as the gaffer has publicly called him out before. This is something PRO should be keeping an eye on and hopefully City won’t be seeing this crew anytime soon.

Marta on the Shortlist for FIFA’s Best Women

FIFA recently released the 10 men and women chosen for the prestigious FIFA’s Best Player Award to be awarded on Sept. 24 in London. Orlando Pride star Marta, along with fellow NWSL players Sam Kerr and Megan Rapinoe, was selected to the shortlist. On the men’s side, big names like Ronaldo, Messi, Kevin De Bruyne, and World Cup Golden Ball winner Luka Modric highlight the list that was selected with the help of former Orlando City star Kaká. To vote for your favorites follow the link here.

Toni Pressley Wins NWSL Goal of the Week

There’s another weekly award for an Orlando Pride player this week as Toni Pressley’s goal was voted NWSL Goal of the Week. Unfortunately, Haley Kopmeyer’s save wasn’t equally honored.

Ruckus Raise Over $10,000 for Charity

For the second year in a row, Orlando City supporter group the Ruckus hosted its Secret Show to benefit the Zebra coalition. This is an awesome achievement and one I’m very proud to report on.

Camila’s Story

Recently returned midfielder Camila talks about her road to the Pride and her recent comeback from a knee injury.

Vancouver Linked with Historic Transfer

The rumored transfer looks like it’s getting closer as Pro Soccer USA reports the Vancouver Whitecaps and Bayern Munich have agreed on a deal that could net up to $16 million for the Canadians. Teenager Alphonso Davies (17) will join Bayern next January when he turns 18 (per FIFA regulations) but will play the rest of the 2018 season out with Vancouver.

Vancouver Head Coach Carl Robinson insists Davies is still with Vancouver, however. For reasons like fiscal years, Davies’ age, and paperwork, they could have a handshake deal in place that just won’t be executed until the end of the season. Stay tuned for details, but I’d say expect this sooner than later. This move is huge for MLS as it’s the largest outgoing transfer of its kind. Not to mention, being a Homegrown signing this will net Vancouver 100% of the transfer fee. This hopefully will open up the door for more moves like this in the future and it will be interesting to see the catalyst effect this could have for the league.

Free Kicks

That’s it! Have a great week, enjoy the full slate of soccer, and hopefully City can get on the right track with at least four points out of this week’s matches. Cheers!