Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! First off, let’s give a big happy birthday to Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris! Now, on to what will go down as a great day in Orlando City history, despite the Lions not winning the match last night.
I am, of course, talking about Orlando City clinching a spot in the MLS playoffs for the very first time! If you didn’t know that happened until now, I’m really glad I used an exclamation point. If you did, then you probably still appreciated my punctuation. Enough with that, let’s get to the links.
Orlando City’s Best Draw Ever
Orlando City traveled to Red Bull Arena to take on the titular New York Red Bulls, riding an 11-match unbeaten streak and a possibility at clinching the playoffs. The Lions took the lead after Daryl Dike drew a penalty in the second half, and Nani stutter-stepped the kick past Ryan Meara. Unfortunately, the second half’s stoppage time ended up being six minutes, and the Red Bulls were able to equalize at the death. Regardless, Orlando City was able to extend its unbeaten streak to 12 matches.
- Michael Citro has your match recap.
- The view from the other side comes from our friends at Once a Metro.
Check back later today for the player grades and Man of the Match from Guilherme Torres, as well as the five takeaways from the match courtesy of Sean Rollins.
The Lions are Playoff Bound
Going into the match against the New York Red Bulls, Orlando City needed a better result than Atlanta United, which played against league-leading Toronto FC. That game started after Orlando’s, so once the Lions drew with the Red Bulls, attention turned to the other match. As if intending to make Orlando City fans wait another week, Toronto seemed to be on the way to a draw with Atlanta. That is until the 89th minute. Former Lion (forever a Lion) Richie Laryea drove into the right side of the area, and crossed the ball for Pablo Piatti to give Toronto the win and put Orlando City into the playoffs for the first time in the club’s MLS history.
2020 MLS Playoffs here we come— x - Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) October 19, 2020
Dike and the Lions are already looking ahead for more than just making the playoffs though. The 20-year-old had another strong performance and remains in talks for MLS Rookie of the Year, but Dike is hungry for more this year.
“We’ve put ourselves in a good position,” Dike said. “Obviously we just made the playoffs today, but I think we’re going to carry on. The goal wasn’t just playoffs. We’re not done now. We just keep going and keep going. We want three points every single game and we want to finish the highest in the table. That’s the main goal.”
Morgan’s Debut Delayed
Those waiting for Alex Morgan’s debut with Tottenham Hotspur will have to continue waiting. That includes Morgan herself. Morgan joined Tottenham, but it looks like it will be a few more weeks until she will see any playing time.
Here we go!! A small setback keeping me from doing what I love. Can't wait to get on the field with this team in the next few weeks. Literally can't wait. https://t.co/4uiSUkGVjX— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) October 18, 2020
There are no specifics on what the “small setback” is, but given she had started training with the team, it might be some sort of knock. Of course, no club is sharing any kind of injury information these days, so your guess is as good as mine. Tottenham could certainly use her help once she’s ready, considering Alanna Kennedy, Shelina Zadorsky, and the rest of the team were crushed 6-1 by Arsenal this weekend.
Rooney’s COVID-19 Scare
It’s not often that I’m on Wayne Rooney’s side, but this is an exception. England and the English Football Association have rules regarding exposure to COVID-19 and quarantine protocols if a player encounters a person that tested positive. Rooney had a friend visit, who didn’t get tested prior to the visit and subsequently tested positive, after Rooney played a match. Rooney will take a test to see if he has to take any further measures regarding the situation. Needless to say, Rooney is livid over the situation, and I can understand his position. I’m agreeing with Wayne Rooney. 2020 is so weird.
- You may have noticed that Ali Krieger wasn’t in the studio for Orlando City’s match. Well, she and Harris are still United States Women’s National Team players, and had to fly out to the USWNT camp for training today.
Orlando Pride star Ali Krieger is in Colorado with the USWNT so she won't be on the City broadcast, but she did send in a video for pregame. Looks like she and Ashlyn Harris flew commercial to camp, and she says they were tested immediately upon arrival. Training starts tomorrow.— Julia Poe (@jpoe24601) October 18, 2020
- Emily van Egmond scored in West Ham United’s match against Manchester United, but it wasn’t enough as goals from Tobin Heath and Christen Press contributed to United’s 4-2 win over the Hammers.
- Gonzalo Higuain won’t play in Inter Miami’s next game on Oct. 24 against Orlando thanks to a red card for arguing with the referee after Miami’s loss to the Montreal Impact.
- The Seattle Sounders are set to trade winger Handwalla Bwana to Nashville SC for an attacking player not yet named.
- United States Men’s National Team forward Aron Jóhannsson has scored seven goals in eight matches (and nine overall) after Hammarby’s win over Mjallby in the Swedish Allsvenskan. That is a pretty good stat. A congested international schedule could mean you’ll see Jóhannsson in a USMNT kit soon.
In Sweden, Aron Johannsson scored his 7th goal in 8 matches (ninth overall) as Hammarby defeated Mjallby, 4-2 #usmnt— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) October 18, 2020
- Things are getting a bit bitey in France’s Ligue 2. Valenciennes keeper Jerome Prior was apparently bit on the cheek in the 0-0 draw against Sochaux on Saturday.
- If you somehow missed the end of the Toronto match, I’m going to let Orlando City legend Miguel Gallardo tell you all about it. Vamos Orlando!
That’s going to be it from me today, Mane Landers. Have a great Monday and celebrate responsibly!