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Lion Links: 10/20/19

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An MLS playoff update, the NWSL playoffs kick off today, Josh Sargent shines in Germany, and much more.

SOCCER: OCT 19 MLS Cup Playoffs - New England Revolution at Atlanta United FC Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Sunday, Mane Landers. Well, here we are. The Lions and Pride have closed out their 2019 campaigns, much to our chagrin, both having failed to reach the postseason again, with the Lions still searching for a new head coach. The life of an Orlando soccer supporter — the ups and the downs (there’s a lot of downs) — it’s a tough life sometimes. Thankfully, the club has some resilient supporters.

I’ll stop myself there before I fall into the rabbit hole rant. Let’s get to these Sunday links, shall we?

MLS Playoffs Are Here

First and foremost, in case you aren’t aware of which teams were awarded first-round byes, it’s Los Angeles FC and New York City FC. Also, check out the Benny Feilhaber Playoff Guide — it’s full of firsthand intel on each team and it’s quite interesting. As expected, Atlanta United FC took down the New England Revolution, 1-0. Michael Parkhurst, an integral figure both on the field and in the locker room, could miss the remainder of the MLS postseason after suffering a dislocated shoulder in the affair. If so, he’s played his last MLS game ashe previously announced his retirement. Also of note, Pity Martinez didn’t play in the match.

The Seattle Sounders won an exciting, high-scoring match against FC Dallas, winning 4-3. Some are already considering it to be one of the greatest playoff matches in MLS history. It was even one of the highest scoring playoff matches of all time, too. Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney’s days in D.C. may be over, as D.C. United fell to Toronto FC (in extra time!), 5-1.

On tap today? The Philadelphia Union host the New York Red Bulls (3 p.m. ET), and Minnesota United FC hosts the LA Galaxy (8:30 p.m. ET).

And in case you need the refresher (nobody will know if you click the link, I promise), here’s how extra time and penalty kicks work in MLS.

NWSL Playoffs Begin Today

Consider this a friendly reminder, as we’ve touched on it briefly before, but today marks the day that the North Carolina Courage host Reign FC and the Chicago Red Stars host Portland Thorns FC in NWSL playoff action. The Courage are the easy favorites against Reign FC, but it should provide an entertaining match between two of the strongest teams of 2019. On the other card, all eyes will remain on the Red Stars’ Sam Kerr, NWSL MVP. Will she be able to carry her side to a final with a win against a strong Portland team? The soccer gods shine upon us today, for it is full of quality soccer. Unfortunately, none of it will be coming from the fine athletes of Orlando.

Josh Sargent Shining in Germany

Josh Sargent scored his second goal of the Bundesliga season for his club team, Werder Bremen, in a 1-1 draw against Hertha Berlin. It may not have been the prettiest goal he’s ever scored, but I’m sure it doesn’t make the slightest difference to him. The young man is representing the American brand well, much like some of his international teammates who also ply their trade in the Bundesliga.

VAR Company Issues Public Apology

In a strange, and quite frankly wild, turn of events, VAR company Hawk-Eye Innovations has publicly apologized to the supporters of the Premier League’s Tottenham and Watford for the confusion their technology caused during and following last week’s 1-1 draw. There was drama aplenty in the match — most notably a scoreboard that displayed “No Goal!” and then corrected itself to inform the crowd that the goal was allowed. Ultimately, Tottenham was the benefactor throughout a match marred by questionable calls and even more questionable VAR decisions.

“We are working together with the Professional Game Match Officials Board and the Premier League to understand the root cause of this problem and propose a series of measures to ensure it won’t happen again,” it said in a statement.

Watford coach Quique Sanchez Flores said he is losing faith in the VAR process.

“I was thinking VAR is something objective but I’m starting to think it’s very subjective,” Sanchez Flores said after the game.

Meanwhile Tottenham gaffer Mauricio Pochettino doesn’t think blame should be put on his club for the dramatic affair, but on the Premier League. And it’s clear he’s moving on.

“After Bayern our confidence was on the floor. It was so important the way we achieved the point in the end, we kept fighting,” Pochettino said ”I hope this is the first step we need to build our confidence again.”

Free Kicks
  • Kick back and relish in Nani’s goals from 2018-2019, both with Sporting and Orlando City.
  • We’ve all been tuned in to Christian Pulisic’s journey, and it appears the American icon has hit a valley. But fear not, the man himself believes his scoring touch will return.
  • Leicester City paid tribute to the club’s late owner a year after his tragic passing approaches.
  • Is Liverpool unstoppable? Manchester City gaffer Pep Guardiola thinks so.
  • Jadon Sancho was dropped and fined by his club team, Borussia Dortmund, for arriving later than permitted following Sancho’s Monday match with the Three Lions.
  • I hate (insert expletive here) like this, but it needs to be touched on because it’s important. There’s no room for racism, not only in this game, but in this world. Be better than this.
  • Gigi...how do you do it?
  • This is certainly one way to show the front office that you’re collectively upset with unpaid wages (I mean, who wouldn’t be?). I hear that people are upset with Tigres for scoring during the protest. What do you think?

All right folks, that’s all that’s fit to print on this fine Sunday. Before I take my leave, watch this brilliant celebration. No need to thank me — thank Ciro Immobile.