Happy playoff match day, readers of The Mane Land! That’s right, your Orlando Pride are out in Oregon to take on the Portland Thorns in their first-ever postseason appearance. We’ll have full coverage of that for you later today, as well as Orlando City B, which could clinch a USL playoff berth tonight when it hosts New York Red Bulls II.
Man, last night was fun. I’d never been to a USMNT match before, let alone one as meaningful as any we’ve seen in quite some time. It was a blast. The joint was full and rocking all night, which bodes well for future national team matches. Let’s make this a regular thing, shall we? One cool coincidence was driving home from the U.S. win and having Spotify on random play hitting me with Night Ranger’s “(You Can Still) Rock in America.” I can confirm that you can indeed.
OK, it’s time for your Saturday morning Lion Links.
USMNT Thumps Panama at Orlando City Stadium
Christian Pulisic, Jozy Altidore, Bobby Wood and company ran roughshod over Panama last night in front of 25,000+ at the purple palace last night to the tune of a 4-0 USMNT win in 2018 World Cup qualifying. The U.S. just needs to take care of business against Trinidad & Tobago to advance to Russia.
I decided to sit in the south end for this match and it turned out to be a wise move, as three first-half goals were scored at that end. I was up pretty high but the views were spectacular, even if my phone doesn’t zoom as much as I’d like.
Using Ineligible Players is No Big Deal, Says MLS
Well, the league said it more in actions than in words, but the basic gist is that even though virtually every soccer competition known to mankind rules that teams using ineligible players will not be tolerated and generally enforces a forfeit to the offending team, MLS is apparently more chill about the whole ineligible player thing. Even though FC Dallas earned a point with an ineligible player, the league is cool with them keeping that ill-gotten point. I doubt Real Salt Lake, the San Jose Earthquakes, or the Houston Dynamo are as chill about it. Major League Soccer simply levied a fine against Dallas. For its part, FC Dallas threw the referee under the bus and pretended that no one there really knew the rules.
Orlando City Announces Friendly
Usually teams release unsavory news on late Friday afternoons in hopes that no one notices. The Lions went the other way, announcing a friendly against the Puerto Rican National Team with very few details while folks were driving home from work or heading to the stadium for the USMNT-Panama game. What we do know is that Orlando City will host Puerto Rico “one week after the Lions’ last game of 2017” and it will raise funds for United For Puerto Rico. We have no date, time, or ticket info, but hey, we do have a quote from the team’s owner.
“Hurricanes Irma and Maria affected all of Puerto Rico and personally touched the lives of many in the Orlando community with strong ties to the island,” Orlando City SC Majority Owner Flavio Augusto da Silva said. “We want to support our community and bring our partners together to join the tremendous efforts we’ve seen across this city to help their friends and families in need.”
More soccer is always welcome. So I guess we’ll wait for the details to come out.
U.S. Opens U-17 World Cup with a Win
The United States played host India in front of a huge crowd and came away with a much-needed 3-0 win to open FIFA U-17 World Cup play on Friday. Josh Sargent, Chris Durkin and Andrew Carleton scored the goals in a game that saw a sloppy (at times) U.S. side that looked a bit uncertain on the defensive end. Carleton’s goal sealed the game on the counter-attack just seconds after India hit the crossbar at the other end in an attempt to climb back into the match. The U.S. will need to be better against Ghana and Colombia to escape group play. Next up is Ghana — which opened with a win over Colombia — on Monday at 7:30 a.m. ET.
- FourFourTwo lists its five most shocking roster cuts from the USMNT in modern history.
- FIFA playoff dates could screw up the second leg of MLS conference semifinal match-ups in the 2017 playoffs. But hey, thanks to Don Garber and company, we probably won’t have to worry about that.
- Neymar called playing at high altitude La Paz, Bolivia “inhuman” conditions. However, I’m pretty sure humans live in La Paz all the time. Brazil drew Bolivia, 0-0, but is already through to the World Cup.
- Those born on this date include anti-apartheid champion Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1931), Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder (1939), Kansas bassist Dave Hope (1949), John Mellencamp (1951), Vladimir Putin (1952), Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres (1953), loudmouth Simon Cowell (1959), Radiohead’s Thom Yorke (1968), football’s Priest Holmes (1973) and Charles Woodson (1976), Bournemouth striker Jermain Defoe (1982), baseball’s Evan Longoria (1985), Revs midfielder Lee Nguyen (1986), and Spain/Chelsea striker Diego Costa (1988).
That’s all my time for today. If there are mistakes, it’s because I put this entire thing together after the USMNT match. Enjoy your weekend and check back throughout the day for coverage of the Orlando Pride and OCB.