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Lion Links: 11/1/20

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Lions get high marks for secondary window, Chris Mueller’s improvement respected, USL Championship cancels final, and more.

SOCCER: OCT 28 MLS - Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Sunday (and match day), everyone. Hopefully you got through your Halloween evening OK. We change calendar pages today, which means 2020 only has two more months remaining. I’m not naïve enough to think everything will magically be better on Jan. 1, 2021, and I firmly believe that no matter how bad things get, they can almost always get worse, but hopefully the law of averages will bring us a nice bounce-back year ahead.

The regular season is winding down and we have only three Orlando City matches left before the Lions head into their first MLS postseason. These games are critical to determine seeding and whether or not we get a chance to see a playoff game in Exploria Stadium.

While we wait for tonight’s 7:30 p.m. kickoff, let’s get to the news of the day.

Lions Get a ‘B’ for Secondary Transfer Window Moves

Tom Bogert has graded all 26 teams’ secondary transfer window moves and Orlando City finished with a ‘B’ rating after the additions of Matheus Aias and Alexander Alvarado. For my money, the team addressed its two biggest needs, although the long wait for Aias to be cleared for play took a bit out of the signing as he could have been useful while so many attacking options were out. Without spending big, Orlando City did about as well as anyone should expect in the window. Aias has played about 12 minutes and has already scored a goal. Alvarado set up that goal by drawing the free kick that led to it and also played outstanding defense on the edge when the Lions dropped to five at the back late against Atlanta.

Mueller Honored in “Alternative Awards”

Andrew Wiebe over at mlssoccer.com came up with some alternate end-of-season awards and one of Orlando City’s own made the list. Chris Mueller was named to Wiebe’s “Leveled-Up Best XI,” which honors those who showed the most improvement from the previous season. Also appearing on the team is former Lion Richie Laryea, who has resurrected his career with a position change in Toronto.

Orlando City Launches New Version of LionNation App

The club has released a brand new version of the LionNation app for fans to download and install on their devices. Grab the app at the Apple or Google Play stores for news and videos, mobile ticketing, a real-time match center, supporter chant cheat sheets, player info, and earning points and rewards.

USL Championship Final Canceled, No Champion in 2020

The USL Championship final, like the USL League One final, has been cancelled due to positive COVID-19 tests. The USL made the decision Saturday to call off the match, which was scheduled for today between the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Phoenix Rising FC.

“First and foremost, we want to applaud these two teams on an incredible season,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “They deserved the opportunity to play for the USL Championship Final trophy and we are disappointed that we won’t be able to watch them on Sunday night. With that said, we want to thank all of our clubs, our supporters, our players and our staff for all of their time, hard work and energy this season. We’ve grown closer under difficult circumstances and we can’t wait to be back together again soon.”

The Rowdies had reported three positive tests on Friday and more tests turned up positive on Saturday. The two teams are named conference champions but there is no champion for the league, so...lol Rowdies. The USL said the league will explore the possibility of a 2021 Season Kickoff game between the two clubs prior to the start of the 2021 USL Championship season.

Free Kicks
  • You can count on the Dwyer family to kill it on Halloween. Dom as Granny is pretty awesome.
  • Congrats to Josh Sargent for getting his first goal of the Bundesliga season
  • Once again Christian Pulisic has picked up a knock. The oft-injured USMNT star picked up an injury to his lower leg in warmups before Chelsea’s match yesterday.
  • Two more MLS matches have been canceled due to the coronavirus.
  • Those born on this date include legendary hockey coach Al Arbour (1932), golf’s Gary Player (1935), The Bob Newhart Show and The Simpsons star Marcia Wallace (1942), wrestling’s Bobby “The Brain” Heenan (1944), bombastic songwriter — like “Bat Out of Hell” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” — Jim Steinman (1947), baseball’s Fernando Valenzuela (1960), and Jenny McCarthy (1972).

That’ll do it for me this morning. Check back throughout the day for full coverage of Orlando City’s game against the Montreal Impact.