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Lion Links: 11/20/18

VAR to be used during USMNT vs. Italy, U-20 USMNT wins, Union make roster moves, Pareja departs, and more.

MLS: Columbus Crew at FC Dallas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, Mane Landers. It’s almost Thanksgiving but I’m working every day this week, so I can’t say I’m too bothered about it. There are lots of interesting things in the news today, so let’s get to it.

Video Review in Place for USMNT vs. Italy

It has been confirmed that UEFA will use today’s USMNT friendly against Italy to test video assistant referees. After the Premier League announced that it will begin to use VAR next season, UEFA is now trying to bring itself up to speed. The friendly will be a key part of the process, as it will now be used to help iron out any issues in UEFA’s video review process. Among the details provided ahead of the game is the news that there will be graphics on the big screens inside the stadium telling those in attendance what is going on during any potential video review. This is a much needed step to address widespread confusion around what on earth was happening or being reviewed when a referee has decided to use video review, whether it be in MLS or this summer’s 2018 FIFA World Cup.

U.S. Advances in Concacaf U-20 Championship

The U-20 USMNT advanced to the final of the Concacaf U-20 Championship on Monday night with a 1-0 win over Honduras.

Ayo Akinola struck for the U.S. early in the second half, and the lone goal proved to be the winner. The U.S. will now take on Mexico for the U-20 crown on Wednesday.

Union Make Personnel Moves

The Philadelphia Union have announced their end-of-season roster moves. The team has exercised options on seven players, and has a further 10 still under contract, bringing the total number up to 17 individuals under contract for next season. The team declined the options of eight players but is currently in negotiations with Fabinho, one of the eight who had their options declined. Additionally, there are four players out of contract and one who has not had an option acted on as of yet.

In other news, the Union have brought back Jim Curtin as head coach for next season. The coach led the Union in a season where they largely performed better than expected, and the 50-point, sixth-place Eastern Conference finish was good enough to get the 39-year-old a new deal.

Pareja and FC Dallas Part Ways

Oscar Pareja and FC Dallas have mutually agreed to part ways. Pareja was the Dallas coach since January of 2014 and compiled an impressive record of 78-49-43, two 60-point seasons, a U.S. Open Cup title, and a Supporters’ Shield. He also won the MLS Coach of the Year Award in 2016 and finished second on the club’s all-time wins list. The decision now frees Pareja up to seek employment elsewhere, including the recently rumored Club Tijuana job, or a possible gig as the USMNT head coach. Back in September, it was reported that Pareja had been interviewed by U.S. Soccer, and if he really is considered a viable candidate by the federation, then the pieces would certainly be beginning to fall into place for a hiring,

U.S. Open Cup Update

The third round of U.S. Open Cup local amateur qualifying has concluded, and The Mane Land is here with your roundup on the action that took place. Safira FC, currently the Massachusetts State Amateur champions, moved on courtesy of a stoppage-time equalizer and four penalty shootout saves from their young goalkeeper. 2017 tournament darlings Christos FC will miss out on the tournament proper for the first time in three years. A 2-1 loss to Virginia United means the pub team will be watching from home this year. In Florida, Hurricane FC demolished Florida Soccer Soldiers, 6-0, while America Soccer Club eked out a 2-1 win over Soda City FC Sorinex.

Free Kicks
  • Josef Martinez has written an article for The Players’ Tribune discussing what Atlanta United means to him.
  • Here’s Gordy Gurson of the Orlando SeaWolves discussing the team’s upcoming home opener against the St. Louis Ambush.

That’s all for me today. Don’t forget that the USMNT plays Italy today at 2:45 p.m. ET. Sadly that’s smack in the middle of my work day, but hopefully some of you guys are free and able to watch. If you can, it’ll be shown on FS1 live from Genk, Belgium. Vamos Orlando. Ciao.