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Lion Links: 10/29/20

Orlando City pummels Atlanta, Dom Dwyer trolls the Five Stripes, NWSL Expansion Draft rules are official, and more.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, Lionesses and Lions. As ever, I sincerely hope you overcame your hump day with ease. Orlando City cruised past Atlanta United at Exploria stadium and, well, it was frankly quite a beautiful spectacle to behold as it always is when we beat them.

Along with the match against Atlanta United also came plenty of other news as well, so with that, let’s get right into the links.

Orlando City Thrashes Atlanta United, 4-1

Orlando City made up for the loss last game to Inter Miami with an impressively emphatic 4-1 win over Atlanta United. Prior to the match, the Lions had not won a game since Oct. 3 but the thrashing of the Georgian side got Orlando City a much coveted three points on the board. Daryl Dike, Chris Mueller and Tesho Akindele scored the first three and then Matheus Aias scored his first ever goal for the club, netting the side’s fourth after Cubo Torres pulled one back in the 87 minute.

Check back later today for Marcus Mitchell’s player grades and Man of the Match, as well as Ben Miller’s five takeaways.

Dwyer Trolls Atlanta After Win

Now that Orlando has a couple of wins in the series against Atlanta, the two southeastern teams can have a proper rivalry. In the past, Atlanta striker Josef Martinez has provoked Orlando City fans and players through social media. Orlando’s Dom Dwyer gave Atlanta a little of that back following last night’s lopsided victory.

Orlando City Players Nominated for MLS End of Year Awards

A number of Orlando City players have been nominated for the 2020 MLS End of Year Awards. Mauricio Pereyra and Nani have both been nominated for MVP, with Chris Mueller being overlooked. Pedro Gallese has unsurprisingly been nominated for the best goalkeeper award, while both Daryl Dike and Andres Perea have received AT&T Young Player of the Year nominations. Furthermore, Robin Jansson and Ruan have both been nominated for the defender of the year award, with Antonio Carlos and Junior Urso both getting named on the ballot for the best newcomer prize. Last, but not least, Tesho Akindele has been nominated for the humanitarian accolade while Head Coach Oscar Pareja has also been nominated for coach of the year.

Orlando City has an impressive amount of representation in the nominations, let’s hope the Lions go deep into the playoffs so the players and of course, the coach can be honored for the hard work done this season.

NWSL Releases Expansion Draft Procedures

The NWSL has released the process of the upcoming expansion draft. With Racing Louisville officially set to join the league this coming season, the newcomers will be granted access to poach players away from other sides in the division.

Racing Louisville FC may select up to two Players, or one U.S. Allocated Player, from each NWSL team, and a total of two U.S. Allocated Players in total from all teams. In the event that Racing Louisville FC chooses less than two U.S. Allocated Players, Racing Louisville FC will receive an Allocation Money Grant of $75,000 for each U.S. Allocated Player allotment not utilized, which can only be used for roster transactions, including the first pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft. Any Team that loses an Unprotected U.S. Allocated Player in the 2020 Expansion Draft will receive an Allocation Money Grant of $75,000.

The draft will take place on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. ET and the Kentucky-based side can select up to 18 players from the other nine NWSL sides.

USMNT Players Play Part in Champions League Fixtures

Some USMNT players made appearances in the Champions League yesterday and, as always, that was great to see. Christian Pulisic scored a 90th-minute goal after coming on in the 71st for Chelsea. Gio Reyna, the 17-year-old, who plays where Pulisic used to, was awarded his first Champions League start for Borussia Dortmund and put in a solid 84-minute shift. In the Barcelona victory over Juventus, neither Weston McKennie nor Sergino Dest started, however the former did make a 15-minute cameo for the Italian side. Finally, Ethan Horvath and Tyler Adams were on the bench for Club Brugge and RB Leipzig, however, neither were given any game time off the bench.

Free Kicks
  • Cristiano Ronaldo took no part in his side’s loss to Barcelona at home after bringing back yet another positive COVID-19 test. He has shown no symptoms but, of course, is still not allowed to play yet to help protect others.
  • Bev Priestman has been named the head coach of the Canada Women’s National Team. The 34-year-old will officially take charge Nov. 1.
  • Long-serving Real Madrid superstar Karim Benzema is being scrutinized for his off-field actions once again. This time the French striker reportedly told his fellow countryman, Ferland Mendy, not to pass to teammate, Vinicius Jr. Of course, whether Benzema actually said such a thing or nor is hard to tell but if he did that is pretty harsh, even by soccer’s standards.
  • MLS is shortening its quarantine for returning international players from 10 days to nine. Such a small adjustment could have massive ramifications in regards to the MLS playoffs according to Sam Stejskal.

That’ll do, pig. That is all for this Thursday’s set of links and until next time, I’ll catch you on the flip side.