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Lion Links: 2/2/20

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The Lions and Crew trade barbs, the young Yanks down Costa Rica, Pride players in international action, and more.

MLS: BodyArmor-Press Conference Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, Mane Landers! Before we jump to the real football, I just want my prediction out there now. I want the Chiefs to win, but I’m taking the 49ers, 27-24. But again, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, I really, really want you guys to win this thing. I hope I’m wrong.

Okay, back to the norm. I trust you’re all having a wonderful week (despite the tragic news that seems to be constantly flowing into our every day lives). If you are, excellent. That’s what it’s all about. If you aren’t, let’s try to turn things around. Every morning is a fresh start. You got this.

All right, enough of my cornball motivational talk, you’re here for some juicy Links. Let’s do this.

Lions vs. Crew Cancelled, Snark Ensues

The Lions were scheduled to scrimmage the Columbus Crew yesterday in Mexico but, well, that didn’t happen. The ensuing snark on social media, in my own personal opinion, was awesome. It all started with the Lions’ Twitter account shooting out a playful tweet. The Crew’s response? Oh, it was quite excellent:

Regardless, the lads in purple scrimmaged against themselves yesterday. They’ll try again with a different opponent on Tuesday against Inter Playa.

U.S. Downs Costa Rica, 1-0

The U.S. Men’s National Team hosted Costa Rica in Los Angeles yesterday for a friendly — the first of 2020 — and, while the result may not tell the entire tale, the young Yanks cruised to a comfortable win, 1-0. The goal, courtesy of Uly Llanez, came via a spot kick in the 50th minute. Llanez became the youngest USMNT player to score a penalty in the modern era. Take a bow, sir. Your swish celebration in honor of Kobe Bryant was admirable, too. That deserves another bow. Other young Yanks were handed their debuts in the Stars & Stripes, including Sam Vines, Brenden Aaronson, Jesus Ferreira, Chase Gasper, Brandon Servania, and Mark McKenzie. Several could take part in the 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship next month. I sure hope they do, too, because it’s time for the USMNT to embrace the budding youth movement that’s happening across this country. We’ll see, but I’m far more than hopeful.

Zadorsky and Plummer Face Off in Olympic Qualifying Action

Some Pride players were in action yesterday at the international level as well, with Shelina Zadorsky of Canada and draftee Konya Plummer of Jamaica facing off in Olympic qualifying, both lining up as center backs for their countries. This one, well, this one wasn’t even close. Like, at all. The final result was 9-0 to the Canadians, and that came even after Canada seemingly pumped the brakes a bit after the match was clearly out of reach for the Reggae Girlz. Notably, Jordyn Huitema of PSG netted five times — twice in the first half and three times in the second. Great Scott, ladies...sheesh.

Eyeing Your Rivals: Inter Miami CF and Fort Lauderdale Club de Fútbol

Inter Miami CF is here, whether you and I like it or not. Now, their official affiliate team has been announced as Fort Lauderdale Club de Fútbol. The developmental team begins play in March, and will immediately jump into the USL League One fray. Much like Orlando City B, this club’s purpose will be to serve as a pipeline for youth players who wish to break into the ranks of the first team in Miami.

“Establishing an identity for Fort Lauderdale CF has been a process the organization has put a lot of thought into because it will be our permanent team playing in the Fort Lauderdale stadium for the long-term,” said Inter Miami CF Sporting Director Paul McDonough. “The team also serves an important role in providing higher-level competition for talented players who are in between the Academy and First Team levels of their careers. We can keep them competing in a professional structure until a good opportunity arises for them either with us or elsewhere.”

They’re [/audible groan] probably going to be decent, and I expect them, much like I expect Inter Miami itself, to be a strong competitor for years to come for the Young Lions and first team alike. Keep an eye on these guys, Mane Landers. They’ll soon become your least favorite MLS players.

Free Kicks
  • With the Super Bowl set for today, the San Jose Earthquakes are backing their local franchise, the San Francisco 49ers, to beat the Kansas City Chiefs. Even Chris Wondolowski, a devout Raiders fan — rivals of the 49ers — will be pulling for the Bay area team. I’ve already put my prediction out there, but as I stated earlier, I hope I’m wrong.
  • Kylian Mbappe, please don’t take on the traits of Neymar. Please just stay humble. The young world beater was scolded by PSG manager Thomas Tuchel after his tantrum following a 68th-minute substitution in a 5-0 win yesterday. “Stay gold, Pony Boy. Stay gold.” Please.
  • Liverpool continues their impressive march for the first-ever Premier League title, beating Southampton yesterday 2-0, courtesy of goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson. You’ll Never Walk Alone! For context, Liverpool is my Premier League club (same ownership group that holds the Red Sox, and I was born in Massachusetts. Save the Patriots hate for an ear that cares).
  • This one’s for you, Coach Mike (Orlando United FC). Everton, Mike’s team of choice, down 2-0 for almost half of the match, pulled multiple proverbial rabbits out of their hat to come back and ultimately score what has to be a heartbreaking goal against Watford, winning 3-2 despite playing a man down for the final 20 minutes or so. Well done, lads!
  • Here’s yet another Erling Haaland share — the kid can’t stop scoring for his new club in Germany — Dortmund! He bagged another brace, bringing his tally to seven league goals in just three matches (an average of about a goal per 20 minutes of play). I love it, but as a Bayern Munich supporter, I hate it. I’m clearly conflicted. But cheers to this youngster, I can’t wait to watch what is sure to be a successful career unfold! Oh, and the kid is making an impact on Norway’s state pension fund. I’m not kidding. We have budding superstar on our hands here and hey man, you interested in wearing red?
  • Okay, now we can end on a Bayern note. Thiago, you sly dog you...

All right, that’s all I’ve got for you today, folks. Enjoy the precious remainder of your Sunday and then, as always, kick some ass this week. You know that I know that you’re more than capable. Get it done, whatever it is. Much love.