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Lion Links: 7/12/19

U.S. Open Cup semifinal details announced, MLS player poll, FIFA racism punishment, and more.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-NYC FC at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone, and what a happy day it is! Even though Orlando City SC gave up yet another late goal the Lions held on and advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup courtesy of some very well taken penalties and the heroics of Adam Grinwis. There’s plenty besides that to discuss though so let’s get right down to business, just as soon as we wish a happy birthday to Emily van Egmond of the Orlando Pride!

U.S. Open Cup Semifinal Details

In case you missed it yesterday, Orlando will be hosting the U.S. Open Cup semifinal against Atlanta United in the comfortable confines of Exploria Stadium. The game will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET. There’s no word yet on when tickets will go on sale but it’s a good bet that there will be a solid turnout for the game. Even on a hot, muggy, rainy weeknight the announced attendance was 7,227; and for a semifinal game against the Lions’ closest neighbors that number will most likely go up. For the last two Open Cup games tickets and concession prices have been cheaper than normal, so fingers crossed for that trend to continue as well.

FIFA Racism Punishment Doubled

FIFA has decided to increase the minimum ban for racist incidents to 10 games, doubling it from the previous number. It will also begin inviting players who are victims of racial abuse to begin making victim statements at disciplinary hearings. FIFA recently redrafted its disciplinary code and cracking down on racist abuse is a big part of the new document that goes into effect next week. Another facet of the redrafted code grants the option to hand down transfer bans to clubs that default on debts if their cases are processed by FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The new racism guidelines in particular will be welcome additions considering the number of racist incidents that have taken place in the game in recent months. Whether or not they’ll make any difference in cutting down on the problem remains to be seen.

MLS Player Poll has released the results of MLS Confidential, in which MLS players anonymously answer a variety of questions ranging from which team has the best jerseys to whether they prefer burgers or tacos. Five percent of players said playing in Orlando is the game they dread the most (with New England coming tops with 23%), probably due to the heat and humidity; and 5% of players also said that they think Orlando has the best jerseys. Additionally, 63% of players said they love the new playoff format, and 64% would like to see promotion and relegation, with the caveat being that it would need to come at a time when the league is ready for it.

Vandalized Rapinoe Posters Investigated

The New York Police Department has announced it will be investigating the vandalizing of posters of Megan Rapinoe that were covered with homophobic and misogynistic comments. The defaced posters were located around the Bryant Park subway stop and were reported to authorities on Monday morning. The posters have been cleaned and may possibly be replaced with new ones. The NYPD will be using its hate crime task force to investigate the incident in order to try to determine those responsible for the vandalizing.

Free Kicks

That’ll do it for me today. Don’t forget that there’s a bevy Orlando teams in action this weekend. Orlando City B kicks things off on Saturday with a 7 p.m. game on the road against Greenville, with Orlando City SC following close behind as the Lions host the Columbus Crew at 7:30. The Orlando Pride will then finish things off on the road against the Portland Thorns at 3 p.m. Stay safe out there!