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Lion Links: 4/5/22

Alexandre Pato up for Goal of the Week, Concacaf Nations League draw, tax-break package could help Orlando’s World Cup hosting bid, and more.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Happy-ish Tuesday, everyone. It wasn’t the weekend we were hoping for as Orlando City B was the only one of the club’s three major teams to record a victory (well, a shootout victory after a draw, anyway), but a new week provides a chance to keep moving forward. There’s plenty to discuss today, so let’s get into it.

Alexandre Pato Up for Goal of the Week

Alexandre Pato has been nominated for the most recent edition of the Goal of the Week for the volleyed opener he notched in Orlando City’s loss over the weekend to LAFC. Pato got Orlando City on the board in the 36th minute with a sublime volleyed strike after Ercan Kara headed a chipped entry ball back across the box. The Duck did everything right as he was patient enough to let the ball drop and his technique was flawless to smash it low into the far corner. Make sure you cast your vote before the polling closes, and here’s to Pato keeping up the form that he’s started the season with.

Concacaf Nations League Draw

The Concacaf Nations League draw is in the books, and that means the United States Men’s National Team knows what teams it will face in group stage play of the upcoming competition. One of those two teams is an extremely familiar face in El Salvador, which the USMNT faced twice in Octagonal play during qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. The other team, Granada, is a bit less familiar. The USMNT will play each team twice — once at home and once on the road — with games starting in June of this year and finishing in March of 2023. Mexico, Suriname, and Jamaica were drawn into group A; Costa Rica, Panama, and Martinique compose group B; and Canada, Honduras, and Curacao are in group C, while the U.S. will play in group D.

Tax-Break Package Favors Orlando in 2026

The city of Orlando may have just gotten a leg up when it comes to being awarded hosting duties for the 2026 World Cup. Florida lawmakers just approved a tax-cut package that includes a sales-tax abatement on tickets for the World Cup. The tax cut is similar to one that’s already in place for tickets for NFL, NBA, and NHL games and might make both Orlando and Miami more attractive when it comes to being awarded hosting duties. We should know whether or not that’s the case sooner rather than later, as it’s previously been rumored that FIFA might make a decision on host cities sometime in the next couple months.

Infantino Exploring Other Tournament Options

The rather maligned proposal of a biennial World Cup seems to be dead in the water for now, but FIFA president Gianni Infantino is busy brainstorming tweaks to existing tournaments, and workshopping the creation of new competitions altogether. One idea gaining steam is an expanded Club World Cup. It’s reported to be likely that a 32-team version of the competition will be agreed upon in the next few months and could begin as soon as 2025. Another competition being kicked around is an expanded version of the now-defunct Confederations Cup, or a global version of the Nations League. Whether or not any of those things will come to fruition is difficult to say, but don’t think Infantino is resting on his laurels.

Free Kicks

That does it for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.