Welcome to December, everyone. The holiday season looms just days away and we eagerly await news about a new Orlando Pride head coach, a new Orlando City / Pride general manager, and we still haven’t had an official announcement about Gregg Berhalter — or anyone else — taking over the USMNT.
We’re stuck in soccer limbo in some ways, but at least we’ve got some news to get our Saturday started. Let’s get to it.
Orlando SeaWolves Open Inaugural MASL Season
The Orlando SeaWolves kicked off their 2018-19 season with their first ever MASL game last night at Silver Spurs Arena. Things didn’t look good as the SeaWolves fell behind 3-1 and lost two players in the second quarter. But Orlando battled back and forced overtime in a 4-4 game. No one scored in the extra 10-minute period and the teams went to a shootout, where the St. Louis Ambush won, 2-1, capturing the game, 5-4.
Former Orlando City players Tyler Turner and Jonathan Mendoza were in the SeaWolves’ inaugural starting lineup. The other two former Lions figured in the scoring, with Luke Boden scoring one goal and assisting on two others, including one by Lewis Neal. Look for a feature on Boden to drop on this site later today.
Orlando City SC Board Member, Co-Founding Owner Dies
It was a sad Friday for Orlando City SC and Louisville City FC, as Wayne Estopinal died when his private plane crashed in southern Indiana. Estopinal’s involvement with Orlando City predates the team’s move to the City Beautiful from Austin, TX. He was the founder of Louisville City FC and was a key reason for that team’s success. He hired James O’Connor as LCFC’s first head coach and he even designed the mechanism that retracts the pitcher’s mound, which allowed the team to play on the baseball diamond at Louisville Slugger Field. Orlando City put out a statement about Wayne yesterday, as did Louisville City. USL President Jake Edwards summed up Estopinal like this:
Wayne Estopinal was a kind and caring man who dedicated much of his professional life to the growth of soccer in North America. His contributions as a founding owner of both @OrlandoCitySC and @loucityfc will not be forgotten and our hearts are with his family at this time.— Jake Edwards (@EdwardsUSL) November 30, 2018
Camila’s Side Falls in Copa Libertadores
Unfortunately, no one on Iranduba de Amazonia is as good at penalties as Orlando Pride star Camila. She was the only one of four Iranduba players to score in a penalty shootout following her side’s 1-1 draw with Atletico Huila on Thursday. Iranduba fell in the spot kick shootout, 3-1, and will play in the third-place game against Colo-Colo (Chile) tomorrow. At least Camila connected on her penalty.
MLS Cup Final Set; Here’s a Preview
It’s never too early to get your previewing done, and so Benjamin Baer has provided this early preview of Atlanta United vs. the Portland Timbers. The match, which happens a week from today at 8 p.m. ET and although I know pretty much who everyone reading this will be rooting for, you might be interested in knowing what Baer has to say. The Timbers got a result with a 1-1 draw, employing an unusual shape (for them).
In their lone matchup of 2018, the Timbers came to Atlanta and drew 1-1 on June 24. Larrys Mabiala provided the Timbers’ goal on a rebound off a set piece, while Julian Gressel scored after a scramble in the box.
The Timbers lined up in a 3-5-2, a formation that Giovanni Savarese hasn’t employed for months, that included Samuel Armenteros, Lawrence Olum, Cristhian Paredes and Julio Cascante in the starting XI. ATL UTD lined up in a 4-2-3-1 that included Ezequiel Barco and Mikey Ambrose. The teams also drew 1-1 last year at Providence Park.
- This interesting thread dropped on Twitter yesterday regarding MLS marketing efforts relative to its teams:
With the 2018 season almost done, it's a good time to check in on how #MLS promotes its teams. I've pulled all the tweets and retweets from @MLS handle for the entire regular season. There are some clear winners and some clear, um, participants. pic.twitter.com/NR6qLQGq7J— Adam Smith (@asmith2729) November 30, 2018
- River Plate’s captain Leo Ponzio may not be able to take part in the Copa Libertadores final in Madrid due to a past match-fixing case dating back to his time at Real Zaragoza.
- Cameroon has been stripped of hosting the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019.
- The Afghanistan Football Federation is under investigation over allegations that women’s national team players were physically and sexually abused.
- Those born on this date include Woody Allen (1935), golf’s Lee Trevino (1939), comedian/actor Richard Pryor (1940), Blue Oyster Cult’s Eric Bloom (1944), Doors drummer John Densmore (1944), Bette Midler (1945), Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock (1948), comedian Sarah Silverman (1970), and football’s DeSean Jackson (1986).
That’s all I’ve got for you today. Enjoy your weekend and, really, all of your December.