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Lion Links: 5/5/19

The Lions host the Reds, Donny Toia is impressing at RSL, MLS doesn’t produce goalkeepers, and more.

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

Happy Cinco de Mayo Sunday, Mane Landers. I don’t know about you, but I had a blast at Orlando City Stadium yesterday with a good friend and teammate, Peter. It’s always a privilege to see the Lions play at home, but seeing Toronto FC and players like Michael Bradley and league newcomer Alejandro Pozuelo was a special treat, regardless of the result. The season is now about a quarter of the way over, and I’m still beaming with optimism over how this will be the first season that the Lions break into the MLS playoffs. Mark my words.

Anyway, let’s get to it. Here’s your Sunday serving of Links. Bon Appétit!

Lions Host the Reds, Lose 2-0

In what turned out to be a frustrating affair, the Lions fell to Toronto FC, 2-0 at home. Poor defending and decision-making in the attacking third were the themes of the day for the Lions, who couldn’t get too much going throughout the match. Jonathan Osorio scored a solo goal that left multiple purple defenders baffled in his wake, and Jay Chapman scored soon after to put this one away for the Reds.

Also, be sure to keep an eye out for Ben Miller’s five takeaways and a photo gallery from our Scott Carnevale.

Former Lion Donny Toia Finding Success

Toia, the attacker-turned-left-back, has made massive strides in his ability according to the coaching staff at Real Salt Lake, leading to his name being called more often. Having started the last four consecutive matches, the club’s first-ever Homegrown Player has finally cracked the team’s starting 11 and seemingly cemented a spot in the lineup. That’s great news for Toia, who became a bit of an MLS journeyman throughout the first few years of his career, playing with Orlando City SC, the Montreal Impact, and now-defunct Chivas USA. It seems the Homegrown talent has finally found his home, and it was right where he started in the first place.

Science Says MLS Doesn’t Produce Great Goalkeepers

Okay, I have to admit, that was a fun headline to type out. But, according to a study from ProSoccerUSA.com and Aiden Reagh:

”Goalkeepers playing in the European top-five leagues (EPL, Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1) have a goalkeeper saves per goal average of 2.43. The MLS average is essentially 2.05. I think we can agree that MLS has more average goalkeepers than most leagues, but this average is also much lower than in Europe, so it is a lower average,”

The numbers are the numbers, but I believe that as the league continues to improve in areas such as tactics and technicality of play, the goalkeeping must also rise to keep up. Time will tell, but I think MLS may improve in the years to come, and hopefully we can see more Zack Steffens.

U.S. U-17s Dominate Barbados

In a match that saw the young Yankees see themselves through to the last 16 of the Concacaf Championship tournament, the U.S. youth players impressed time and time again as they ran away with a 6-1 win over Barbados. Players from the youth academies of different MLS teams were on full display, and they didn’t disappoint. The starting 11 alone included youngsters from the Vancouver Whitecaps, New York City FC, the LA Galaxy, the New York Red Bulls, the Seattle Sounders, the San Jose Earthquakes, and Sporting Kansas City.

Free Kicks
  • Take a bow, Cameron Lindley! The Lions’ loanee scored his first professional goal last night.
  • We all know Atlanta FC has been struggling in MLS, but apparently, the team’s developmental sides are also having a few issues.
  • Inter Miami CF has been having its fair share of troubles too, but there have been some bright moments, like when the youth academy attendees were welcomed in by David Beckham.
  • Tallahassee SC played its first match yesterday, drawing the Savannah Clovers 1-1 in a back and forth affair.
  • And to finish up, here are Forward Madison FC’s new alternate jerseys. What do you think? #FullMingo

All right, that’s all I’ve got for you on this dreary, Florida Sunday morning. Have a great rest of your weekend, enjoy today’s Pride clash against the Houston Dash, and have an excellent week!