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Lion Links: 4/12/20

MLS salutes medical profession with #LightItBlue, USWNT’s influence, a virtual win for Orlando City, FIFA shenanigans, and more.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Easter Sunday, everyone. Hopefully the bunny was good to you and your family and kept six feet of social distance while delivering the baskets. You can still do Easter egg hunts, but send the kids into different quadrants of the yard, with each having the same number of eggs to keep it fair. If you partake in a religious service, please do it online if possible. Let’s keep doing what we should to get past the peak and get to a better place with more normalcy.

Now let’s get into your Easter Lion Links.

MLS Stadiums Salute Healthcare Workers

Orlando City was among the MLS teams that lit up their stadiums in blue light around the league to honor healthcare workers and first responders dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. It was part of the MLS #LightItBlue initiative. You can check out how Orlando and other teams took part with photos here.

The Influence of the USWNT

Caitlin Murray of Yahoo! Sports penned this article on how the United States Women’s National Team became the most influential team in women’s sports. It discusses how the 99ers turned people’s attention from the physical appearance of that iteration of the USWNT and made them instead think about more important things like team chemistry, hard work, and sacrificing for your teammates. Give it a read.

FIFA World Cup Allegations Now Listed in Formal U.S. Government Indictment

Look, we all know that Russia and Qatar got their World Cups awarded through shady means. But now the U.S. attorney’s office has come out and issued a 70-page indictment stating that associates working for Russia and Qatar paid money for votes for Russia and Qatar. Suspicions are one thing, but this is a major government agency putting it in an official document.

In a 70-page indictment, it was stated that associates working for Russia and Qatar paid money to some of the 22 FIFA ExCo members who took part in the 2018 and 2022 votes in early December 2010.

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FIFA corruption is no surprise to anyone, but it’s the first time it’s been stated quite so boldly in black and white in a document authored by a major government investigative authority in relation to 2018 and 2022 bidding.

It’s too late to do more than punish Russia after the fact, but there may still be time to keep Qatar from hosting. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, there was a victory of sorts for Sepp Blatter, who saw Swiss prosecutors drop a corruption charge regarding World Cup broadcasting rights. Blatter still faces a charge of paying more than $2 million to Michel Platini in February 2011.

FIFA Abe Gets a Win for Orlando

Look, it’s been a rough few weeks for Abe Valbuena in FIFA 20 action, but he got a big win over the Columbus Crew’s eSports player, Graham Ellix, yesterday, winning 1-0 on a Nani golden goal after the teams drew on aggregate through the two legs of the tie. The Crew took the first match 2-1 with Dom Dwyer scoring for Orlando and of course there were refereeing shenanigans with a red card hurting the Lions. Orlando fought back in the second leg with goals by Dwyer and Chris Mueller. Then Nani ended things in overtime.

In unrelated news, I still think playing video games is fun and watching other people play them is dumb unless you’re just waiting your turn on the controller. But you do you, kids.

Free Kicks

That’s going to wrap it up for me today, folks. Enjoy your Easter Sunday whether it’s a cornerstone of your faith or just a really good excuse to eat candy. And if you don’t like Peeps, send them to me. I like them a lot, especially when I let them get just a little stale.