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Lion Links: 11/21/19

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Florida Cup news, MLS All-Star Game changes, memorable moments from the NWSL, and more.

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

Happy Thursday, Mane Landers! It has been a crazy week, but I am on the downward slope toward a week off and I hope the week is treating you well. Let’s jump right into the links.

Spartak Moscow Pullout Leads to Florida Cup Changes

Traveling to the United States has become a huge problem over the years since 9/11, with sports teams and musicians often having to disappoint American fans because they can’t get clearance to enter the country in a timely and/or affordable manner. Visa issues have forced Spartak Moscow to pull out of the 2020 Florida Cup here in Orlando and the event organizers have replaced the Russian side with New York City FC of Major League Soccer.

“We are thrilled to welcome NYCFC into our international preseason platform,” Florida Cup CEO Ricardo Villar said. “We look forward to hosting them as they prepare for their first Concacaf Champions League.”

The tournament will be played at Exploria Stadium in a pair of double-headers on Jan. 15 and 18, 2020. Joining NYCFC will be Brazilian sides Corinthians and Palmeiras, as well as Colombian side Club Atletico Nacional.

Pride Make Top Ten Memorable Moments from the NWSL Season

There were several memorable moments from the 2019 NWSL season, but our favorite on the list were the emotional returns to the field from the Orlando Pride’s Sydney Leroux and Toni Pressley.

“The Pride had not one, but two displays of courage in the final month of the 2019 season. First, Sydney Leroux returned to the field three months after the birth of her second child, Roux. Toni Pressley, who the league rallied around during her fight with breast cancer, was substituted in the 72nd minute against Reign FC to raucous applause from the home supporters, as well as Pressley’s opponents on the field.”

2020 MLS All-Stars Will Meet Liga MX All-Stars in LA

It was fun while it was here, but the 2020 MLS All-Star match is headed to Los Angeles. But the bigger news is the event is changing formats, with the MLS All-Stars playing against the Liga MX All-Stars July 29 at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

“We are so pleased to bring the 2020 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target to Los Angeles, one of the great soccer markets in North America,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a statement. “As we celebrate our 25th season, we wanted to deliver an unique and unprecedented format for our annual All-Star Game. Our first ever game between the best of MLS and Liga MX’s top players is the perfect way to build on the growing relationship between the two top soccer leagues in the region.”

MLS Transfer Roundup

Wednesday was a busy day on the market in Major League Soccer, with several players swapping uniforms. Here’s a synopsis:

Free Kicks
  • One of our favorite recurring social media themes is Heath Pearce taking to Twitter to implore expansion teams every year to trade with Orlando City to secure his rights.
  • The Philadelphia Union announced their full slate of contract statuses yesterday, affecting three former Lions. Defender RJ Allen’s option was declined, while Joe Bendik had his option picked up and Aurelien Collin was offered a new deal.
  • Reports are coming in that Claudio Reyna is leaving NYCFC to join Austin FC as sporting director to take a position with Austin FC.
  • What was widely reported Tuesday came to pass on Wednesday as Jose Mourinho was officially named head coach for Tottenham on a contract that runs until the end of the 2022-2023 season.

That’s going to do it for me today, Mane Landers. Be kind out there this week, and here’s hoping the rest of the week is kind back!