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Lion Links: 9/21/18

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Orlando Pride shut out of NWSL ‘best’ teams, FIFA stepping up for the women’s game, U.S. men in the World Cup (kinda), and more.

Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

It’s Friday! While we wait to see what new and inventive way Orlando City can lose a match tomorrow night, it’s good to take a moment and reflect. The team might not be able to buy a result, but we have a gorgeous purple stadium, a top-flight team, and a fan base that grew organically from the early days of the club’s USL existence to now. So it’s not all bad. Just the results in MLS have been bad. So that’s...something.

Anyway, best not to dwell too much. Let’s get to some linking to kick off what would be a three-day weekend if you used a vacation day today. But first, an update from training.

Pride Shut Out of NWSL Awards

There are only nine teams in the NWSL in 2018. The Orlando Pride finished seventh and that did not go unnoticed by the league’s players, media, fans and owners/GMs/coaches. In addition to getting shut out of the league’s major awards, no Pride player made the league’s Best XI or Second XI. As you’d expect, the vast majority of the 22 players named to the NWSL’s top two teams are from the North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns. I personally think Marta was one of the league’s best midfielders despite her numbers being down. There just wasn’t a lot of help for her this year.

U.S. Men Prepare for World Cup...in Sixes

It’s about time the United States men reached a World Cup. In this case, it’s the ISF Socca6 World Cup — a tournament that will pit the world’s best 32 6v6 teams against each other. The event gets underway in a few days in Lisbon, Portgual and here’s your preview. If you’re unfamiliar with 6v6, the matches consist of two 20-minute halves. The United States will kick off its tournament on Sept. 24 against Kazakhstan and then play Slovakia and England on Sept. 25 and 27, respectively, in Group E for the right to advance.

Pay the Women

The FIFA Council will meet in October and among the items discussed will be increasing the total prize money in the 2019 Women’s World Cup. The 2015 event saw 24 teams share $15 million. The men will spread out $440 million in total prize money in 2022 among 32 teams and FIFA has been under fire to close the pay equality gap. One of the other positive developments for the women: FIFA will provide business class upgrades on flights over four hours long for the teams attending in France next year. It’s a start!

Totti Wanted Zlatan, Ronaldo to Join Him at AS Roma

As a Roma fan, this news made me sigh at what could have been. Roma legend Francesco Totti said he tried to recruit players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo to join him at the Stadio Olimpico during his playing career.

“I hoped Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, the best players in the world would come. Not just up-front, but also defenders and midfielders.

“Unfortunately, we had a limit, we didn’t have the financial muscle to spend on these champions. Really, I tried to bring unthinkable people to Roma.”

This would have been amazing and it’s a shame he couldn’t pull it off. Incidentally, even though he’s retired, Totti is the primary reason I’m a Roma fan today.

Houston Dash Looking for a Coach

Vera Pauw lasted only one season with the Houston Dash. Yesterday, she and the club parted ways after a season that saw Houston finish 9-10-5 and in sixth place in the league — one spot ahead of the Pride.

“While the Houston Dash is a phenomenal club with huge potential and an amazing fan base, I have decided to not pursue a contract extension. Although we set club records in many categories and stayed in the playoff race until the final week of the season, it is best for me to go back to my husband in The Netherlands,”

It will be interesting to see who ends up coaching in Houston and Orlando and how the new coaches are measured in the coming years.

Free Kicks
  • The MLS website picked its top five mascots in the league. Notably absent is Kingston. I’m not saying he was selected as most likely to knife you in an alley, but if there was a vote...?
  • Zlatan’s volley that resulted in his 500th professional goal was selected as MLS Goal of the Week.
  • Center back Walker Zimmerman has reportedly declined a contract extension offer from LAFC and is looking at a potential move to Europe.
  • Among those born on this date were H.G. Wells (1866), I Dream of Jeannie and Dallas star Larry Hagman (1931), filmmaker Jerry Bruckheimer (1943), NASCAR team owner Richard Childress (1945), former Eagles guitarist Don Felder (1947), horror master Stephen King (1947), Bill Murray (1950), Bruce Arena (1951), Full House actor Dave Coulier (1959), Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star Cheryl Hines (1965), Faith Hill (1967), Luke Wilson (1971), Oasis singer Liam Gallagher (1972), and Taken, LOST and Fear the Walking Dead actress Maggie Grace (1983).

That’s all my time for today. I’ll be back to do this again tomorrow. Hey, the Lions also play tomorrow. Maybe they’ll do that thing where they score more goals than the opponent. If I was head coach, that’s what I’d instruct them to do.

Enjoy your Friday.