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Lion Links: 10/15/19

Toni Pressley talks about her return, MLS awards, yet another FIFA scandal, and more.

SOCCER: OCT 12 NWSL - Reign FC at Orlando Pride Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This past weekend marked the last Orlando soccer of 2019 with the Orlando Pride drawing 2-2 with Reign FC. Now all attention turns to the off-season and the national teams and luckily we don’t have to wait long to see one of them in action. Without any further ado let’s get to the links.

Pressley Speaks After Return to Pitch

Toni Pressley made her return to the field during the Orlando Pride’s final game of the 2019 season. She came on as a 72nd-minute substitute against Reign FC and was given the captain’s armband by Ashlyn Harris. It was a fitting gesture considering Saturday’s game was the Pride’s first ever Breast Cancer Awareness Match. While Pressley was obviously and understandably blindsided by her diagnosis, she spoke about her belief that everything happens for a reason, and said that she’s happy she now has a platform to help others who have been stricken with the disease. While Pressley will be focusing on making a full return to fitness in the off-season, she now has another goal too — sharing her story and bringing an awareness to a disease that affects so many.

2019 MLS Awards are Rolling In

SBNation’s various bloggers submitted their picks for MLS end of season awards, and the results are in. Some of the more traditional categories like MVP, are no surprise, with Carlos Vela taking the honors. Meanwhile, Paxton Pomykal won the award for the Best U-20 Player, a category that SBNation specifically created. Best Domestic Player, another special category, was taken home by Mark Anthony-Kaye. No Orlando City players won awards or made the Best XI. also released its awards for 2019. Some of the awards match up with SBNation’s and some don’t, but the fact that Nani wasn’t even among “others receiving votes” for Newcomer of the Year means the entire staff of that organization should be brought up on charges.

FIFA Scandal Part 802: Electric Boogaloo

Anyone who knows anything at all about anything will know that FIFA is no stranger to scandals. Between corruption, embezzlement, and the strange awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, FIFA and scandal go hand in hand. The most recent FIFA scandal making headlines concerns Lionel Messi winning the most recent Player of the Year award. FIFA determines the winners of its awards by tallying votes submitted by national team captains and coaches and one journalist from each country represented. The problem is that several coaches and players stated that they didn’t vote for Messi to win, while the voting document that FIFA released showed that they did. In the end it isn’t necessarily the most serious of matters, but for a federation in need of a face lift after years of bad press it certainly isn’t a good look.

Washington Spirit May Split Season Among Different Venues

It’s possible that the Washington Spirit will play home games at three different venues during the next NWSL season. One of the venues being discussed is Audi Field, where the Spirit drew two large crowds when they played games there this year. While things are always subject to change, people familiar with the situation are saying that Washington might play games at the Maryland SoccerPlex, Audi Field, and Segra Field. It does seem likely that the Spirit will play four times at Audi Field. It would be a very good look for NWSL, a league that is continuing to grow and try to legitimize itself as a permanent women’s soccer league in the United States.

Free Kicks

Don’t forget that the USMNT squares off against Canada tonight at 7:30 from BMO Field. A win would send the U.S. to the top of the group over Canada on goal difference. Y’all stay safe out there.