Good morning, Mane Landers.
Yesterday was a somber day for our sport, so let's get started right away.
Tragedy Strikes Brazilian Squad
As I am sure most of you now know, there was a plane crash in Colombia that killed 71 people. The aircraft was flying the Chapecoense football team, a club playing in Brazil’s top league. A majority of the squad was aboard, with three players surviving the crash as well as three players who did not fly with the team. The team was en route to play the first leg of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana Final against Atlético Nacional, a Colombian team. The Copa Sudamericana is South America’s version of Europa League.
There were nine crew members and 68 passengers in all on the flight, which included the squad and journalists. The crash occurred late Monday night near the Colombian city of La Unión. One of the survivors was a flight attendant, who stated that the aircraft ran out of fuel. It took a while for rescue teams to get to the wreckage, as there was a heavy amount of fog. It was not until a few hours after the crash occurred that the survivors were able to reach the hospital. There were seven initial survivors, however, one died after reaching the hospital.
Chapecoense has been compared to Leicester City, as just five seasons ago the club was playing in Brazil’s third tier. Atlético Nacional, asked that the championship be awarded to Chapecoense. CONMEBOL has suspended all of its related activities. Many clubs and players across the footballing world, including Orlando City, have reached out and expressed their condolences to the Brazilian team.
My deepest condolences go out to all of those affected by the plane crash that claimed all those lives. That is something that is always heartbreaking, especially when it involves a sports team that many people idolize and look up to. The response to what happened has been amazing. Brazilian teams wanting to give Chapecoense players free on loans as well as granting the club immunity from relegation for three years. Everyone with a connection to football, whether it be players, teams, coaches, or fans, have all reached out to show their support for the Brazilian club.
It is sad day in football, but life must go on.
Orlando City Reacts to Plane Crash
Orlando City has many connections to Brazilian football; and players and staff have been expressing their sorrow for Chapecoense and all those affected by the aforementioned plane crash. Kaká, the team’s Brazilian captain, posted on Instagram, saying, "I wake up with sad news, my heart is now praying" in Portuguese. CEO of Orlando City, Alex Leitão, another Brazilian, tweeted, "It is a very sad day for soccer[.]" The club changed its Twitter profile picture to that of the Chapecoense badge. And Vice President of Communications Diogo Kotscho stated that he knew some of the people who were on the plane and expressed his sorrow as well. Orlando City and its members are just a small amount of all of those who have honored the Brazilian club. Today, there were many moments of silence before matches, including both English Football League Cup matches.
Former Lions Head Coach Named Minnesota United Manager
Adrian Heath has officially been named the head coach of Minnesota United FC. The former Orlando City SC coach was clearly the front runner for the job and it was made official on Tuesday. Heath was coach of the Lions for their inaugural season back in 2015, and will be coach for Minnesota’s inaugural season as well. The Englishman spent his entire playing career in England, except for one season when he played for La Liga side Espanyol. Heath spent some time managing in England before coming to America. He had a lot of success coaching Orlando City in the USL. When Orlando City was granted an expansion franchise in MLS, he got the job. However, he was sacked by Orlando in the midst of the 2016 season in July, after winning only four of the first 16 games of the season.
"I thought the circumstances of me losing my job were disappointing," Heath said, in his first public comments about the firing. "The things that came out were really disappointing. I think what I had done for the job warranted more than three lines on the website. That was my disappointment. When I look back I'm really proud of what I did in Orlando. I don't think it was a failure at any stage."
Former Lion Ian Fuller, who also assisted the gaffer with Orlando City, will be on Heath's staff in Minnesota.
Larin a Finalist for 2016 Canadian Player of the Year
Orlando City striker Cyle Larin is one of seven MLS players on the shortlist for Canada's Men's Player of the Year for 2016. Other candidates include Vancouver Whitecaps defenders David Edgar and Marcel de Jong, Toronto FC's Jonathan Osorio and Tosaint Ricketts, FC Dallas' Tesho Akindele, and Montreal Impact midfielder Patrice Bernier. The winner will be announced in December. Larin led Orlando with 14 goals in 2016 and added his first three MLS assists as well. Good luck, Cyle.
U.S. Women Ousted From U20 World Cup
The U.S. Women’s U20 National Team has been knocked out of the U20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea after losing 2-1 to North Korea in the semifinals. After going down 1-0 in the 50th minute, the U.S. tied it up in the 89th minute when Natalie Jacobs placed a nice volley over the goalkeepers head. The excitement of a last-minute, game-tying goal was quickly undone when North Korea scored 48 seconds into extra time. The Americans were unable to find another equalizer and the match finished 2-1. The U.S. will play in the third place game against Japan, which lost to France in the other semifinal match.
That is all for me today. I hope you have a great Wednesday! Please continue to keep all those affected by the plane crash in your thoughts and prayers. And give the ones you love a little extra strong hug today.