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Lion Links: 10/27/20

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Orlando ready for Atlanta’s intensity, possible late start for 2021 MLS season, Racing Louisville’s first signings, and more.

Chicago Fire FC v Orlando City SC Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

Orlando City didn’t get the result it was hoping for over the weekend but there’s no time to dwell on it. A match-up with Atlanta United is right around the corner, and OCSC needs to get back to winning ways to go into the playoffs on the right note. As always, there’s plenty to discuss today, so let’s have at it.

Lions Ready for Atlanta’s Urgency

Orlando City welcomes Atlanta United to Exploria stadium tomorrow with just three games remaining in the regular season and plenty on the line for both teams. For Orlando, if the Lions can stay fourth in the East or climb even higher, the team is guaranteed at least one home playoff match. For Atlanta, the playoffs are not quite out of reach, but a loss in Orlando would all but slam the door shut. For their part, the Lions are expecting a lot of intensity from tomorrow’s opponents. Oscar Pareja noted that Atlanta has a lot at stake ahead of the match.

“I think Atlanta has urgency,” Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja told media on a virtual press conference Monday. “They have a few games to qualify for the playoffs, that’ll create some pressure. We will be ready for that.”

Hopefully that readiness translates to all three points for the first time in four games.

Possible April Start for MLS

Major League Soccer is apparently discussing the possibility of the 2021 season not starting until April. While multiple options seem to be on the table, an April start is one of them, partly due to a desire to have larger amounts of fans in attendance if possible. Whether or not the Concacaf Champions League resumes play after the conclusion of the MLS season will likely also play a factor in the league’s decision. There are a lot of moving parts here, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated as news develops.

Racing Lousville’s First Roster Moves

Racing Louisville has made the team’s first roster additions ahead of beginning play in the National Women’s Soccer League next year. In a deal with the Chicago Red Stars,

Louisville has acquired forwards Yuki Nagasato and Savannah McCaskill, the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft and an international roster spot for both the 2021 and 2022 seasons. In return, the Red Stars have received full roster protection in the 2020 NWSL Expansion Draft scheduled for Nov. 12.

Nagasato and McCaskill are both forwards who have played for their national teams. McCaskill has been capped six times by the USWNT, while Nagasato has made 132 appearances for the Japanese national team and scored 58 goals.

Orlando City B Update

While it was already largely assumed to be the case, USL League One officially announced that Orlando City B’s game with the Chattanooga Red Wolves will not be made up at a later date. The match was originally scheduled for Oct. 10, but was postponed after two members of Chattanooga’s traveling contingent tested positive for COVID-19. It was fairly certain that OCB’s game against Greenville Triumph SC would be its last of the season, and this news confirmed it. When talking about the effect of COVID-19 on OCB’s season, our own Sean Rollins noted that the toughest part about postponed games was finding time to make them up amid an already shortened season with lots of fixture congestion. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, that’s exactly how its proved to be.

NWSL Reportedly Will Add Homegrown Rule

The NWSL is reportedly likely to add a homegrown player rule by sometime next year. The rule would incentivize NWSL teams bringing academy products all they way up into their first teams — something OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore said could happen.

Before the pandemic struck, Predmore revealed that the league was well on its way to developing such a rule this year. He now feels there’s about a “98% chance” that such a rule will be in place by the middle of next year, with the first homegrown players potentially signing ahead of the 2022 NWSL draft.

There were originally talks about having a rule in place sometime this year, but COVID-19 put paid to that idea. This is definitely something to keep an eye on moving forward, as it will likely change how NWSL teams structure their rosters.

Free Kicks

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