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Lion Links: 8/21/19

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St. Louis officially awarded an MLS expansion team, U.S. Soccer set to go to court, Inter Miami’s toxic soil, and more.

MLS: MLS4TheLou-St. Louis Press Conference Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Howdy, Mane Landers. I typically serve up links on Sundays, but today I’ll be your chef du jour. A good friend of mine from college is in town for a big fight (he’s an MMA fighter), and I’m going to show my support and then catch up with him afterward. It should be interesting to say the least, but in the best way possible. Anyway, let’s hop to these Wednesday links, shall we?

Bon appétit!

Welcome to the Majors, St. Louis!

It’s finally official. Don Garber announced yesterday that St. Louis earned the right to enter MLS play come 2022. The announcement follows months of speculation as to which city would be awarded the designation. St. Louis’ ownership group will consist of Carolyn Kindle Betz, the Taylor family, and Jim Kavanaugh — meaning that the club becomes the first team in MLS history to be majority owned by a woman, and one of very few in professional sports. Unfortunately, we don’t yet know the ramifications of how this will affect Saint Louis FC — a team with ties to Orlando City — but the outlook is bleak, at best. But hey, congratulations to St. Louis. There’s only one clause to this award: You’re not allowed to make the MLS playoffs before Orlando City.

U.S. Soccer and Gender Discrimination

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last year, you’re likely well versed on the battle between the U.S. Soccer Federation and the back-to-back World Cup-winning U.S. Women’s National Team. Well, we have a significant development — they’ll be taking their war to the courts, with the two parties set to go to trial on May 5, 2020. In case you were wondering, that’s a mere two and a half months away from the 2020 Summer Olympics, which begin on July 24. The U.S. Soccer Federation has pushed back against the idea of equal pay, declaring that the women’s team has been adequately compensated. This is a sticky one, so I’m going to reserve any judgment until it’s all said and done. There’s too much information that I’m not privy to. Unfortunately, I see both sides of this argument, but empathize with only one. I’m sure you can deduce where I stand on the topic.

Toxic Soil: A Miami Tale

As one of my colleagues aptly put it, “I still don’t believe this club is happening yet.” Hurdle after hurdle, road block after road block, and now, well, toxic soil, has been hindering the development process of incoming MLS club Inter Miami CF, owned by David Beckham. They’ve done a solid job of branding, marketing, and even potentially acquiring a world class talent in Edinson Cavani, but the club just can’t catch a break when it comes to building its new grounds. The latest? The soil where the club is going to build its stadium has a high level of lead, arsenic, and barium — toxins that cause cancer (among countless other ailments). Miami City Manager Emilio Gonzalez announced he was closing the area until further notice for additional analysis of environmental test results. I know they’re going to quickly become a rival of the Lions, so part of me just wants to sit back and giggle at this whole ordeal. The other part of me feels bad. Oh well, they’ll figure it out or something.

Christian Pulisic...as a Red Devil?

Not as long as his father has something to say about it. Pulisic, now with Chelsea, had many options at his disposal before departing Dortmund in Germany for London. Manchester United, apparently, was one of them, but it was never truly on the table. Robin Walker, a former coach of Pulisic, was close with the young phenom’s family.

“He wouldn’t go to Manchester United because of Jose Mourinho,” Walker said. “His father couldn’t stand Mourinho, because he didn’t promote young players. It was at that point I asked: ‘What about London? That’s where it’s at.’ I was trying to sell the city. His agent agreed, saying: ‘When you make these decisions, it’s all about investment and property.’ I was delighted that he did sign [for Chelsea].”

Of course, this is all now history, as Pulisic’s move was sealed months ago (when Mourinho was still at the helm of United), but it’s an interesting thought to imagine a world where the Red Devils captured the young American’s signature. What’s interesting to me, however, is the timing of this revelation. Why is Pulisic’s former coach saying these things publicly? Why mount even more pressure on Pulisic’s shoulders? I just hope young Christian continues to shine for the Blues and then brings that shine on over to the U.S. Men’s National Team. Time will tell.

Free Kicks
  • Good news for Brazilian Pride icon Marta, as the new head coach of the Brazil Women’s National Team, Pia Sundhage, has given her a call-up. Kudos, Marta! I mean, is anyone surprised though?
  • Former Pride defender Lotta Okvist has signed with Manchester United Women. Okvist never played a match with the Pride, so it will be interesting to see how she does in Manchester.
  • Have you heard of Den McSkimming? I sure hadn’t until I came across this insightful piece detailing his exploits as the “only American reporter at the 1950 World Cup.”
  • Speaking of the World Cup, Carli Lloyd may have herself a career in the NFL once she’s finished with the NWSL.
  • Lastly, I really shouldn’t have to say this, but there’s absolutely no place in the beautiful game for racism. The heckling (that’s way too generous of an adjective) aimed at Manchester United’s Paul Pogba pertaining to his race was disgusting and vile.

All right folks, that’s it for today. Enjoy the match on the evening — hopefully the Pride will make us proud. Yikes, that was a bad dad joke. I’m out. Have a good one!