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Lion Links: 10/20/20

MLS announces anti-racism initiatives, USMNT weekend roundup, if the playoffs started today, and more.

SOCCER: OCT 18 MLS - Orlando City SC at New York Red Bulls Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone, and what a happy day it is! Orlando City was pegged back at the death on Sunday, but with results elsewhere going the club’s way, the Lions are in the playoffs for the first time in Major League Soccer! There’s lots to talk over today, so let’s jump in.

MLS Anti-Racism Initiatives

Major League Soccer has announced a series of initiatives designed to combat racism in the league and boost Black representation in the game. One of the actions in the league’s plan was to create a Diversity Committee made up of members of the Board of Governors and the Black Players for Change. MLS owners have also pledged $1 million to the BPC in order to help the organization continue to grow and work with the league. Other initiatives include a series of projects designed to help foster the game in underprivileged areas and underserved communities.

USMNT Weekend Summary

There were a good number of USMNT players in action over the weekend. Stateside, Mark McKenzie and Djordje Mihailovic scored for the Philadelphia Union and Chicago Fire, respectively. Christian Pulisic returned from injury and helped set up the final goal in Chelsea’s 3-3 draw with Southampton, while Gio Reyna played an important part in the winning goal in Borussia Dortmund’s victory over Hoffenheim. Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson helped Fulham notch its first point of the Premier League season, and Tyler Adams and John Brooks both went the full 90 minutes for Red Bull Leipzig and Wolfsburg, respectively.

Additionally, there are 10 Americans who are on UEFA Champions League rosters for this year’s competition. Expect big things from Pulisic, Reyna, and Adams, who are all regular starters for their clubs. Sergino Dest will likely feature regularly for Barcelona, Ethan Horvath will probably start for Club Brugge today, and Konrad de la Fuente, Chris Richards, and Alex Mendez will hope to crack the starting XI for their teams.

If the Playoffs Started Today

Orlando City clinched its first ever playoff berth on Sunday, but what would the playoffs look like if they started today? As the fourth seed in the East, Orlando City would face off against the New England Revolution. Toronto FC and the Philadelphia Union would each have first round byes as the top two teams in the East. For the two play-in games, the New York Red Bulls would play the Chicago Fire, and the Montreal Impact would take on Nashville SC. As the top two seeds in the Western Conference, the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers would face the Vancouver Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes respectively,

NWSL Fall Series Standings

The NWSL Fall Series has come to a conclusion, which means the 2020 Verizon Community Shield has been awarded to Portland Thorns FC. Portland claimed the trophy after going 3-0-1 during the Fall Series. The Houston Dash finished second, continuing the team’s good form from the NWSL Challenge Cup, and the Washington Spirit took third. The Orlando Pride finished in eighth in the competition after going 0-2-2, coming in ahead of Utah Royals FC by virtue of superior goal difference. Verizon will award grants to each of the top three finishers’ community partners, which is a nice touch.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City has a message for the club’s fans.
  • I can’t say I blame the ref for this one.

That’ll do it for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.