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Lion Links: 9/14/18

MLS All-Star Game coming to Orlando, Tarek’s determination, Concacaf U-20 Championship, and more.

MLS: Toronto FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What’s up, Mane Landers? It’s another great Friday even if things aren’t so great as an Orlando soccer fan this season. Let’s try not to get too caught up in the disappointment and gloom and just enjoy some soccer while we still have it. Winter is coming, and with it comes boredom. Until then, let’s revel in what we have now: sunshine, soccer, and some links!

MLS All-Star Game Officially Coming to Orlando

Start saving coins in your piggy banks, because MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced yesterday morning that the 2019 MLS All-Star Game is officially coming to Orlando City Stadium. With a soccer-specific stadium and soccer fandom that has proven itself rabid for the beautiful game, the five-day event will surely be amazing. Now we just need to pull the team together so we can have more than just Yoshimar Yotún and Cam Lindley participate in the festivities next year.

Amro Tarek’s National Team Aspirations

Orlando City defender Amro Tarek holds no ill will after not being selected as part of the 23-man roster for the FIFA World Cup. Instead, the 26-year-old has been determined to work his way into the picture as the nation begins its journey towards the 2022 FIFA World Cup. His efforts were rewarded when he was recently selected as part of the squad for Egypt’s qualifying campaign for the African Cup of Nations. Tarek cites his move to Orlando City as one of the biggest things that has improved his skill and earned him a spot on the roster.

“Yes, I think it has helped me a lot because it is such a competitive league,” said Tarek, who was born in Los Angeles before moving to Egypt as a child. “If I continue starting with my team, then it will help my chances. There’s a lot of talented players here and it keeps growing each year.”

The Future of Southern Expansion

With the All-Star Game held in Atlanta this year and now headed to Orlando in 2019, soccer is not just staying afloat in the southeastern U.S., but thriving. With Miami and Nashville lined up to join the league as well, the league has shown commitment to bring the professional game to the area. But recent words by Garber have suggested that the league may back off from expanding further south into the region for the time being. While bad news for southern MLS hopefuls like Tampa Bay, FL, it makes sense as the league tries to bring the game to other areas like Phoenix, AZ, or Detroit, MI. With impending expansion announcements before this year is up, we will see what direction the league goes in.

Young Yanks Eye Path to Championship

The draw for the Concacaf U-20 Championship has been revealed, with the United States in the first group along with Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Puerto Rico, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Baby Nats will look to repeat as champions and will start their journey when they open the tournament against Puerto Rico on Nov. 1 in Bradenton, FL. You can check out how the rest of the draw shook out below.

Free Kicks
  • A new Lion has joined the Orlando City team as the Soccer Institute at Montverde Academy and the Orlando City Development Academy has hired a director of methodology. Welcome to the team, Toni!
  • If Orlando City has a secret weapon waiting in the wings, it will have to be revealed today as the MLS roster freeze deadline takes place at 5 p.m. ET.
  • American phenom Christian Pulisic will likely be out for Borussia Dortmund’s match today, although he should be recovering enough to return to action soon.
  • The Lions may be in poor form lately, but at least they aren’t getting negative points from their matches like Chievo in Serie A. For accounting irregularities, they were fined, docked three points and now sit with negative two points in the Serie A standings. If only this was golf.
  • I’ll end our links with the new Jumpman-inspired kits for Paris Saint-Germain as the French club gets ready for the Champions League. It’s interesting to say the least, bringing a streetwear style to the pitch in a way that fits with PSG’s young stars like Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

Well that’s all from me, folks. I hope you all have a great Friday and an even greater weekend!