Soccer

Europe awaits Orlando City players...

Orlando City has wrapped up it's first campaign in Major League Soccer and already numerous players are attracting scouts from all across the globe. Former Real Sociedad manager David Moyes was spotted at the 3-1 thumping of Sporting Kansas City back in September as well current Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola was seen "drooling" stated one ILF away fan at the 5-2 demolition of New York Red Bulls in late September. Europe has been put on notice of several Orlando City players who have the quality to play for some of the top 5 leagues overseas...

 

Carlos Rivas: Carlos Rivas has everything that European teams look for in a winger. Rivas came to Orlando City after turning down offers from Juventus, Olympique Lyon and Derby County. One scout from Everton recently confirmed interest in the young Colombian but declared "We looked at bringing him over but his hair simply didn't live up to the standards of the Premier League." With a season under his belt at Orlando City, Rivas is only a trip to Liberty Barber Shop away from getting a call from Europe's top clubs.  John The Barber, you know what to do.

Cyle Larin: 2015 first overall pick and MLS Rookie of the Year, top flight clubs across Europe are being put on notice of Cyle "Dat Guy" Larin.  Big in stature, decent pace and a clinical finisher it's no wonder he's been declared "Less psychotic version of Diego Costa" and "Karim Benzema without the blackmailing, transgender, underage and hooker baggage."  ILF received word from a trusted source back in late August that Tottenham Hotspur from the English Premier League had submitted a bid but the Canadian striker wanted to play in front of actual supporters. Orlando City fans should enjoy 'Dat Guy' as much as possible before he ships off to Europe in the next year or two.

Kevin Molino: Some call him the 'Trinidadian Messi' while others have went as far as saying that Cristiano Ronaldo has a Kevin Molino poster in his living room. A football pundit stated after the recent El Clasico "Barcelona would've won by double digits if they had Kevin Molino." Blessed with all the tools to be a hit in Europe, if Kevin can return to his previous form before his ACL injury Orlando City should be prepared for an eight digit transfer bid next summer. 

Rafael Ramos: We've learned a few things about Ramos since his move from Benfica back in 2014. He loves his fiancee, he uses Instagram a lot and he's a right back who gives zero fucks. Ramos has become the standard for fullbacks across the world as the likes of David Alaba and Dani Alves have been compared to the young Portuguese defender. A source at Chelsea FC stated "Rafael Ramos would be a great replacement for Ivanovic, who has been more useless than NYCFC home fans." 

Update: Neymar to Orlando City Confirmed

We previously reported rumors of Neymar making a move to Orlando City. 

Sources within the Orlando City organization have confirmed to us within the last hour that the deal to bring Neymar to the City Beautiful is complete and will be announced at the beginning of the January transfer window.  

Those close to Neymar indicated that the 23 year old superstar is excited about the move and was recently spotted in downtown Barcelona wearing this shirt.  

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Terms of the deal were not disclosed but are reportedly in the range of €200 million, making it the largest transfer fee in MLS history. Neymar is also expected to be granted a five percent stake in the Walt Disney World Resort. 

UPDATE: According to our sources, the Neymar deal has fallen through. 

Top Five Players Orlando City Should Target in the Offseason

After just missing out on the playoffs in their first MLS season, Orlando City announced a number of roster moves on Wednesday morning. The Lions declined contract options on goalkeepers Tally Hall and Josh Ford, midfielders Eric Avila and Lewis Neal, and forwards Danny Mwanga, Adam Bedell, and Sidney Rivera. Midfielder Tony Cascio's contract ran out at the end of the season.  

As the opening of free agency begins on December 8th, here's a quick look at five players Orlando City should look to add to the squad this offseason. 

 

 

Lionel Messi

The 2015-2016 season has been a down year for Messi thus far. He appeared in only nine matches for Barcelona to open the season before going down with a knee injury, and only recently returned to the squad. A switch to Orlando City could revitalize his downward sloping career, although he may struggle to see the pitch behind the sensational 2015 MLS Rookie of the Year Cyle Larin. 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has all of the talent in the world. World class speed, an amazing first touch, and incredible shot power. But he has never been able to truly realize his potential. Playing for Adrian Heath would help Ronaldo put all facets of his game together so he can become one of the best players on the planet.

 

MadamombE Bangojena

Known to his legion of fans as simply "Madamombe", the 12 year old Zimbabwean superstar has reportedly turned down offers from Chelsea, Fulham, and Real Madrid because he wants to play for a winning club. Bangojena has been tearing up the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League for Chicken Inn FC, scoring an insane 42 goals over the last two seasons. Scores say that Bangojena has been a huge Orlando City fan since he was a kid, and it is his dream to play for Adrian Heath.

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With his incredible ability to juke even the best defenders out of their shoes, his insane shot speed that has been clocked at 120 mph., and what commentators have called "the best vision since Jim Parsons in that one movie", it's only a matter of time before we see Bangojena take the captain's armband from Kaka.

 

Pele

Ever since Flavio Augusto da Silva came on board as majority owner of Orlando City Soccer Club, the Lions have set their sights on being one of not only the top clubs in MLS but in the world. If they wish to achieve that dream, OCSC should be signing the best players in the world. And Pele is one of the best of all time. 

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, is thought by many to be the best player to ever step on a soccer pitch. And they'd get no argument from me. His 541 career league goals make him the most successful scorer in any league in the world. Throughout of all history. Let that sink in for a minute. And his 1,281 goals in 1,363 games in all competitions are a Guinness World Record. To put it simply, Pele was a god among men on the soccer field.

Signing Pele would put Orlando City on the soccer map just as it did for the New York Cosmos in the 1970's. If the Lions have any hopes of fulfilling their dreams, Pele should be one of the first names they call this offseason.

 

Buddy, the Golden Retriever from the Air Bud Movies

One of the world's greatest multiple sport athletes, Buddy has excelled in everything from basketball to baseball to football and volleyball. But perhaps his best sport is soccer. By my calculations he scored 67 goals in his historic season where he lead his team to the state title. Anyone who has any doubts about Buddy should just watch the incredible documentary about his career, "Air Bud: World Pup". Buddy also has contract that should be very favorable to the club. According to his agent, Buddy is looking for two bags of Kibbles and Bits per week with a one bone per goals scored bonus but is willing to negotiate.


Bo Brown is ILF Vice President, a writer, and co-host of The Starting Lineup podcast. Follow him on Twitter, @thedynamicuno or @theslcast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Orlando City Players Were WWE Superstars

Tonight, live from the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, WWE presents the 29th edition of it's fall spectacular Survivor Series. In preparation for the event I found myself watching the 1998 iteration of the sports-entertainment staple. Amidst the theatrics and admitted boredom due to the sobering realization that pilgrimages in purple are still months away, I'm watching these colorful characters and briefly think to myself, "What City players can I spot here?" It's evident that soccer and professional wrestling are miles apart in terms of composition but there's a certain flair exhibited by a few of our Lions, so naturally I'm going to humor myself by discussing a select few.

Kaka = Mankind 

First off our captain, the internationally known Kaká.  The beloved Brazilian shares great parallels with a wrestling and hardcore legend, Mick Foley.  Now hear me out.  Kaká is beloved by many, even if he has to soak in his adoration in the background while others shine in the spotlight, as he had many times during the second half of the season. 

Ricardo Izacson dos Santos is best known throughout his career by Kaká, a mononym not unlike former WWF Champion Foley went by as his character Mankind.  Like the aforementioned masked superstar, Kaká showed bits of aggression and grit as the season went along, a likely result of failing form and phantom disciplinary actions levied by Pretty Repugnant Officiating.  Number 10 grew out a shadowy beard as well, a reflection of the darker persona he was bringing out onto the pitch.  He's also been known to tell people to "Have a nice day!" on more than one occasion.

Darwin Ceren= Randy Orton

Our tough El Salvadorian midfielder Darwin Ceren, brings one thing to mind: deadly. When he's in good form, and he was most of last season, he was very focused and an integral part in many of our successes. Most of assists and goals occurred out of nowhere akin to Randy Orton dropping an RKO on his competitors. With 2016 on the horizon, I fully expect Ceren to embrace the "Viper" moniker I've bequeathed onto him as he continues his cold-blooded mean streak in MLS.

Rafael Ramos = Stone Cold Steve Austin

It gets no colder than Stone Cold Steve Austin.  The ferocity, aggression and overall drive to do whatever it takes to gain the victory, brings me to the most unlikely of comparisons in our young fullback Rafael Ramos.

From his short stint with us during the USL Farewell Tour into the 2015 season, we've seen an evolution.  From quiet professional, to driven hot head that refuses to get slighted by anyone he's marking or whatever official pulls out a card on him.  Off the pitch the young man is an Instagram aficionado who doesn't miss an opportunity to profess his love for his fiancee, but on the pitch he is a catalyst for the controlled chaos that is the Orlando City counterattack.

Still disagree?  Take a look here and be at a loss for words.  The resemblance is uncanny.

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Kevin Molino = Seth Rollins

Kevin Molino's season ended with a sickening knee injury after only 7 appearances during Orlando City's maiden voyage into the MLS.  It was a huge loss that was mourned for the duration of the season. Just as it was a huge loss for WWE when WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins recently went down with a knee injury of his own. Like Rollins, the speedy Soca Warrior is the present and future; the Architect of our Lions who appeared to be hitting his stride just as misfortune befell him.

The fans in the Citrus Bowl will undoubtedly be heard amongst the heavens upon Molino's return.

Believe that.

Cyle Larin = The Rock

Electrifying.  People's Champ.  Rookie of the Year.  At first thought, one could easily be led to believe that this an introduction to praise about The Rock.  Is that what you think?

It doesn't matter what you think.

We're talking about our very own charismatic striker, Cyle Larin.  Following a difficult March, a month which saw a goal drought of cringeworthy proportions, the brass ring was within the big Canadian's grasp and he snatched it running. 

Once saddled with a starting spot, he made damn sure there was no doubt as to who Dat Guy is.  In his 27 appearances he found the back of the net a rookie record-breaking 17 times and has shown no signs of slowing down.  Off the pitch, his style is as flashy as that of The Great One, and on the pitch he's equally as savage.  On any given match day you can hear the fans chanting his name...Larin...Larin...Larin...

Adrian Heath = Triple H

The gaffer, the man most know as Adrian Heath, may be diminutive in stature but lives up to his Mastermind nickname. 

Like WWE superstar Triple H, Inchy is a Cerebral Assassin using his wealth of knowledge about the game in order to attain success.  His superior tactics on the touchline, and with the media, have produced positive results and he's done well to celebrate those successes amongst the supporters.

It's all about the game, and how you play it, and with season one in the books, mere points from missing out on the playoffs with a completely retooled squad from opening day, Inchy has shown all skeptics why he's that damn good.