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Lion Links: 10/30/16

MLS attendance numbers questioned, MLS conference semifinal previews, Villa says Europe needs playoffs, and more.

MLS: D.C. United at Orlando City SC Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. Today is a pretty huge day in Major League Soccer, with all four conference semifinal series’ kicking off today. It’s a quadruple header starting at 3 p.m. ET with the New York Red Bulls visiting Stade Saputo to take on the Montreal Impact. At 5 p.m. the Rapids and Galaxy will kick off at the StubHub Center. Toronto FC hosts New York City FC at 7 p.m. Finally, FC Dallas and the Sounders clash at CenturyLink at 9:30 p.m.

Pace yourselves. It’ll be a long day.

Now for your Sunday helping of Lion Links:

LA Times: MLS Fudging Attendance

There’s no secret that announced attendance and the number of actual bodies in the seats never precisely match for any sporting event. The LA Times particularly called out Orlando City for a discrepancy of almost 9,000 fans per game at Camping World Stadium in this piece. The club didn’t speak about the discrepancy on the record but did dispute the figures the city of Orlando gave out. Orlando City Vice President of Communications Diogo Kotscho was interviewed for the story.

“If you asked me for every single match how many people were inside the stadium, we really don’t know,” Kotscho said.

Season ticket holders don’t go to every game. Corporate seat owners certainly don’t always use their tickets. And, of course, comp tickets aren’t always used. Is this a big deal or nah? I say nah.

MLS Conference Semifinal Previews

FourFourTwo put together a series of solid previews to help you get ready for all of today’s MLS playoff action. Whether you’re looking forward to the Seattle-Dallas playoff rematch, the first appearance of NYCFC in the postseason against Giovinco’s crew, Red Bulls-Impact, or the Rapids and Galaxy (or all of the above), you’re covered.

Villa Says European Leagues Should Copy MLS

At a time when a lot of fans would like to see Major League Soccer become more like Europe’s top leagues, David Villa, New York City FC’s star striker, wants the Europeans to take a page from MLS. Villa says he loves the MLS playoff structure and thinks organizations like La Liga and the EPL should adopt it.

"Right now, after the final of the season, 12 teams have a chance at winning the trophy," Villa told "This is very exciting for every team, for the country, for the people, for people who love soccer. I like it."

"I like this format. Europe can copy this format," said Villa, who is in his second season with NYCFC and will play in his first playoff game on Sunday.

Villa may play for the Soccer Yankees, but he’s been a pretty darn good ambassador for MLS. He also may be in line to return to Spain’s national team.

What do you think? Should the top flights in Europe go to a playoff after the regular season?

Let’s Bet a Beer on It

Often during a playoff series, the mayors of the two cities or governors of two states involved usually engage in some dopey bet to make people think they suddenly care about the local sports team. However, in a wager our own Dave Rohe would approve of, the mayors of Toronto and New York have put some brewskis on the line with a beer bet. If Toronto wins, John Tory will receive a sixer of Brooklyn Lager, and if NYCFC pulls out the win, Bill de Blasio gets himself a six-pack of beer from the Amsterdam Brewery. It’s possibly the most delicious bet between mayors of all time.

Free Kicks

While we’re putting together our Season in Review series with an in-depth breakdown of all Orlando City players, Orlando Sentinel writer Alicia DelGallo did a quick look at the whole team, player by player, all at once...Montreal looks to be without Didier Drogba again vs. the Red Bulls...New England Revolution GM Michael Burns said Jay Heaps will return as head coach next year.

That’s all I’ve got for you today, folks. Enjoy your Sunday. I leave you with some pretty cool artwork that Brek Shea is donating to a good cause: