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Lion Links: 11/11/20

Orlando’s key player heading into playoffs, wrapping the regular season, Exploria Stadium to host Champions League, and more.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Mane Landers! I hope the day finds you all well. Let’s go ahead and jump into the links.

Daryl Dike Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

MLSsoccer.com’s Greg Seltzer, has named the key players for every team in the 2020 MLS Cup playoffs. The name at the top of OCSC’s list: Daryl Dike. Calling Orlando City a “genuine threat,” Seltzer mentions that the Lions operate as a true team. But with a striker like Dike turning plays into goals, we have more than enough reason to be excited as we head into the playoffs.

Wrapping up the Regular Season

With the regular season having come to an end, the Lions overachieved based on expectations. Finishing in the top three for goals vs. expected goals, OCSC scored a little more than 6.5 goals more than they would have been expected to based on their quality of chances.

Additionally, with the loss at home to Nashville, Orlando City dropped to seventh in the MLS Power Rankings and fourth in the Eastern Conference. There’s so much hope heading into the playoffs with Oscar Pareja leading the charge, especially if Nani and Mauricio Pereyra feature heavily in the lineup.

The Lions are Playing Joyful, Winning Soccer

As fans it feels like Orlando City’s first trip to the playoffs has been a long time coming. We’ve all been waiting for this moment. Beyond the wins this season, the team is having fun and the community that continues to build in the locker room is evident in the cohesiveness on the pitch.

“I mean, to see ourselves being the protagonists of the game and playing beautiful soccer, that’s what we’ve always wanted to see,” Alex Leitão said. “It’s just good when you see things that you plan start to happen.”

Exploria Stadium will Host Champions League

Concacaf announced that Exploria Stadium will host the final matches of the 2020 Concacaf Champions League this December. The competition will be played behind closed doors, so no fans will be in attendance, as the event takes on a “bubble” approach.

“We’re honored that Concacaf has selected the City of Orlando and our amazing venue, Exploria Stadium, to host one of the most marquee events in world club soccer,” Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão said. “This year, the City Beautiful has proven to be the center of sport — hosting some of the world’s biggest events — and we are humbled to be able to host another such event at our home. We’re looking forward to seven very exciting games.”

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City fan makes history:
  • The NWSL Expansion Draft is happening this Thursday. Here’s what you need to know:
  • Austin Aviza of Orlando City B has won the USL League One Save of the Month.
  • USMNT midfielder Tyler Adams is primed to represent the USA following a groin injury, a global pandemic, and reduced schedules.
  • Dutch club PSV Eindhoven are installing “COVID lamps.” Scientists claim the lamps could help clear coronavirus from the air in as little as 45 minutes.

That’s going to do it for me today, everyone. Have a great day and stay safe!