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Lion Links: 9/18/18

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Character a problem for Lions’ defense, Flávio believes in O’Connor, Stahre fired, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Mane Landers. Not much to say other than addressing the elephant in the room that was the Chicago Fire smoking Orlando City like an expensive ham on Sunday. But life has gone on after all 17 of the Lions’ previous losses, and surely it will go on after this one. Time to put aside my crushing despair and get to the links.

O’Connor Questions Character

Orlando City Head Coach James O’Connor did not mince his words when discussing the defensive performance put forth in Sunday’s game. O’Connor raised questions about the amount of commitment, character, and motivation on display in the 4-0 beating dished out by Chicago. Jonathan Spector echoed that sentiment, saying that commitment was clearly lacking during the loss. O’Connor’s comments in particular seem to indicate that he’s fed up with some of the things he’s had to deal with since coming on board, and also may lend credence to Will Johnson’s remark about certain players being “weeded out” by the head coach.

Flávio Believes in O’Connor

Regardless of which members of the squad might have their roster spots under fire going into next season, O’Connor’s position seems to be secure with team owner Flávio Augusto Da Silva saying that he believes O’Connor is the man to turn around OCSC’s fortunes. Speaking after Thursday’s press conference announcing Orlando as next year’s All-Star Game host, Da Silva also spoke about recognizing the tough task that O’Connor faced when he took the reins in the summer.

Personally, I found that encouraging. I was/still am a bit worried that the former City player wouldn’t be given a proper shot at making the team his own if he failed to produce good results this year. Hopefully, Flávio’s remarks mean that JOC isn’t on the hot seat just yet.

Earthquakes and Stahre Part Ways

As far as people go who are no longer on the aforementioned hot seat, the San Jose Earthquakes have fired Head Coach Mikael Stahre, as well as Assistant Coach Alex de Crook. Sitting bottom of the Western Conference by four points, the Earthquakes decided they didn’t want to wait any longer before making a change, and now Assistant Coach Steve Ralston will serve as interim manager for the final six games of the MLS season. Stahre is out of the job less than a year after taking it last November, with the Earthquakes’ dismal run of form (they’re the only team worse than Orlando City) proving to be the writing on the wall for the Swede.

Infantino Expresses Doubt Over U.S. La Liga Game

FIFA President Gianni Infantino isn’t loving the idea of a La Liga game being played in the U.S. Infantino says he would prefer to see a great MLS game rather a La Liga game played abroad. In a recent statement, Infantino said he thinks home matches should be played at home rather than in a foreign country. This would seemingly nix the proposed U.S. game between Barcelona and Girona, as La Liga would need to get approval from FIFA to stage the event. As of yet, no request for approval seems to have been submitted to FIFA from the Spanish league, so it seems that we just have to wait and see.

Free Kicks
  • U.S. international Oguchi Onyewu has retired.
  • Jurgen Klopp has said that Neymar does not, I repeat, does not dive, describing his reaction to tackles as “completely normal.” If you ask me, I think ole Jurgen needs to get his prescription checked.
  • N’Golo Kante had dinner, played FIFA, and watched Match of the Day with several soccer fans after missing his train to Paris following Chelsea’s 4-1 victory over Cardiff.

That’ll be all for me today. The Lions are back at home to take on the Houston Dynamo this Saturday. Houston currently sits ninth in the West, 13 points out of the last playoff spot, so who knows what to expect from a game between two teams with essentially nothing to play for. I hope you all have a wonderful week. Ciao.