Today's Sunday Funday is very special, Mane Landers: it's MLS Cup Final day! Even though we are still disappointed that the Lions didn't make it all the way, we do have a potentially exciting match-up today with Columbus Crew SC taking on the Portland Timbers for the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy in Columbus. Kickoff is at 4 p.m., which means that you have plenty of time to peruse today's Lion Links. So let's get started.
USMNT: For Clubs, Not-So-Much for Country
It's a fact that the USMNT, collectively, hasn't enjoyed the last six months. The team lost to Mexico in the CONCACAF playoff, had an underwhelming start to 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying when facing Trinidad & Tobago, and questions still abound regarding Jurgen Klinsmann's ability to be the best coach for U.S. Soccer moving forward--especially regarding his faith in certain players. However, individually, players have been doing well and yesterday was a prime example. Geoff Cameron was a part of a Stoke team that held Manchester City scoreless, Fabian Johnson was integral to Borussia Monchengladbach handing Bayern Munich its first loss of the season, and defender John Brooks gave Hertha Berlin the winner against Bayer Leverkusen.
MLS Cup News
MLSSoccer.com has broken down the 12 Reasons to Watch the 2015 MLS Cup. Below are some of our own highlights that we've dug up.
- Kei Kamara a question mark for Sunday - The Crew striker has apparently gone into questionable status for starting, with a right leg injury he received in training from jumping and landing awkwardly. According to Coach Gregg Berhalter, starting will be a game-time decision.
- Portland drove a log 2,436 miles (for nothing) - Portland fans really love Timber Joey. They don't want him to be bored at today's game, so they hauled a piece of tree halfway across the country. But now Columbus and MAPFRE stadium have created a new rule to forbid chainsaws and "logs of any wooden variety." I am now mentally building a list of non-wooden varieties of logs. Tweet me your ideas.
- SI.com breaks down 20 years of MLS Cup - A really cool gallery of infographics on the past 20 years of MLS Cups is broken down on SI.com. Take a look at some of the earlier years and enjoy the walk down memory lane.
- Similarities of the teams - Orlando Sentinel's Paul Tenorio has a great piece which reviews the 'money ball' aspect of the finals: two teams without lavish salaries who have made their own formulas work.
Megan Rapinoe is Down...
Another argument against friendlies comes in the form of a potentially season-ending torn ACL for the 30-year old Seattle Reign midfielder, suffered during training with her USWNT teammates in Hawaii ahead of the Victory Tour match versus Trinidad & Tobago. In addition to missing the Reign's season, it's likely she will also sit out the Olympics in Rio. Speedy recovery, Megan!
...and the USWNT cancels its Sunday match.
In a story that developed overnight, US Soccer announced that tonight's game is cancelled due to "a determination that the artificial turf surface is not suitable to hold an international soccer match." Arguments about the viability (and fairness) of holding women's World Cup games on an artificial surface surrounded the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada; unfortunately, it seems it takes a major injury to an international star to actually make a difference. Stay tuned for more details.
Algarve Cup Out, New Four-Team Tourney In
On Thursday, the USWNT announced that, despite being 10-time winners of the Algarve Cup, they are going to sit out the 2016 tournament. On Saturday, the other shoe dropped: the U.S. will host a four-team tournament, consisting of Germany, France, and England, to be located in the South. Details to follow.
FIFA Week in Quotes
FIFA has been running a cool little series for a while, offering the best quotes of the week from the soccer world. Ahead of the MLS Cup Final today, Matt Besler offers some very sage advice: "enjoy the moment! It's going to be over a lot faster thank you think." He also wanted to get across this very important message: "remember, champagne stings."
Well, that's it for today. Go fuel up in time for the big game this afternoon and remember, no matter who you are rooting for, this is the big winner.