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Lion Links: 10/31/19

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Shelina Zadorsky called up, MLS Cup final set, another NWSL team may be coming to the Southeast, and more.

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Chicago Red Stars v Orlando Pride Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

Good morning, Mane Landers. Happy Halloween and happy Thursday! This quiet morning hour on Oct. 31, is what we teachers like to call the calm before the storm. Let’s go ahead and jump right into the links.

Shelina Zadorsky Gets a Call-up

Yesterday, Canada Soccer announced the squad for the Women’s National Team tournament in China. The upcoming November matches will help Canada continue preparations for the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament early next year. Orlando Pride’s Shelina Zadorsky has been called up to play for the Canadians.

“It’s great to have these Women’s National Team matches in November as we prepare for the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament,” said Kenneth Heiner-Møller, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team Head Coach. “The China tournament features semi-finals and a final, so we will really get that tournament feeling. It is the second time this fall we will travel to the region where the 2020 Summer Olympic Games will be held, and despite the long travel and limited sessions in advance of tournament play, the benefits of playing two matches in a tournament setting against top international opponents in Asia outweighs the challenges.”

MLS Cup Final Set as Universe Rights Itself

When New York City FC lost to Toronto FC, Atlanta United got home field advantage for the Eastern Conference final, finally catching a break after all of the misfortune that has plagued the team since Arthur Blank spent it into existence. (Yes, this is sarcasm abuse, please don’t report me.) But the Five Stripes could not take advantage of playing on the home plastic of Mercedes-Benz Stadium as the Reds went into Atlanta and won, 2-1. The victory by TFC sets the final as the Reds will visit the Seattle Sounders on Nov. 10.

Atlanta United Considers NWSL Team

Speaking of Atlanta United, the club is considering launching a professional women's team to join the NWSL as early as 2021.

“We’ve had very preliminary discussions with the National Women’s Soccer League about a possible franchise in Atlanta,” Brett Jewkes, chief communications officer for Arthur M. Blank Sports and Entertainment, the Five Stripes’ parent company, told the AJC’s Doug Roberson in an email on Monday. “We are evaluating a wide-range of factors to review and consider with no definitive timetable to complete that process. The growing success and appeal of women’s soccer in America, both at the professional and amateur levels, is exciting and certainly worthy of our careful exploration.”

Sauerbrunn Named NWSL Defender of the Year

Utah Royals FC defender Becky Sauerbrunn has been named the 2019 NWSL Defender of the Year. This comes after being named to the NWSL’s 2019 Best XI just last week. This isn’t a new honor for Sauerbrunn, as she was named Defender of the Year in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Free Kicks
  • Your daily dose of Dwyer entertainment:
  • The Columbus Crew re-signed Harrison Afful. After negotiations, they’ve reached a new deal with the Ghanaian, the details of which were not disclosed.
  • Liverpool FC beat Arsenal on penalties in Carabao Cup action yesterday after a late equalizer leveled the match at 5-5, while Manchester United got a banger from Marcus Rashford to beat Chelsea, 2-1. Aston Villa also beat Wolverhampton yesterday, 2-1.

That’s going to do it for me today, Mane Landers. Stay safe out there tonight and enjoy the rest of your week!