Happy Thursday, Lionesses and Lions. As ever, I sincerely hope you overcame your hump day with ease. There’s a tropical storm winding through Florida at the moment so stay safe out there. Luckily, us Floridians are used to them and worse to be honest, but still, don’t do anything silly out in this dangerous weather.
Anyway, there is also a good deal of soccer news to discuss as well, so with that, let’s get right into the links.
Dike and Pareja Named MLS Awards Finalists
Daryl Dike and Oscar Pareja are both finalists for individual season-ending MLS awards. Dike, the Lions’ 20-year-old striker, has taken MLS by storm since his abrupt rise to stardom and is a finalist for the Young Player of the Year Award.
Dike, who was selected fifth overall in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, contributed to 12 total goals in his rookie season. His eight goals sit at second most on the team, while his four assists were the fourth most of any Lion in 2020. The Edmond, Oklahoma native was voted MLS Player of the Month in August after netting three goals and providing two helpers over a three-match span.
Where he once might have been a favorite for the MLS Rookie of the Year award, the league has changed that to “young player,” which effectively eliminates Henry Kessler of New England and forces Dike to compete for the trophy with Brenden Aaronson and Diego Rossi, who have played two seasons (51 games) and three seasons (82 games), respectively. Dike has played 17.
Pareja is a finalist for the MLS Coach of the Year award after guiding the team through an incredible regular season. The Colombian manager, who was named as the 2016 MLS Coach of the Year, led Orlando City to its first ever postseason appearance. The hardware could be his again four years later.
Dike and Pareja have both had fantastic seasons and deserve all of the recognition being given. Best of luck to both of them!
Chris Mueller Honored in Writers’ MLS Best Xl Teams
Andrew Wiebe named Chris Mueller in his best MLS XI. The 24-year-old has managed an impressive 10 goals and seven assists in 22 matches (17 starts) during the regular season. The Illinois-born attacker has been a pivotal point of the Orlando City attack and is being awarded the recognition in which he deserves. But Wiebe isn’t the only one including Mueller in his Best XI. Calen Carr also selected the Money Badger:
[ ] Our crew picks their MLS Best XI presented by @HomeDepot.— Major League Soccer (@MLS) November 11, 2020
First up, @CalenCarr! pic.twitter.com/lnI0lZq6Fn
Hopefully Mueller can maintain his form going into the postseason. All eyes will be on him against New York City FC.
Orlando City Offering Commemorative Ticket for Club’s First MLS Playoff Match
Orlando City has booked a spot in its first ever MLS playoffs and Lions fans will be able to pick up a unique, collectible souvenir with their ticket purchase. The Lions are offering a special ticket and lanyard.
A special commemorative ticket and lanyard brought to you by Orlando Health are included with a ticket purchase to our first-ever playoff match as a souvenir and reminder of your presence at this historic moment and experience at Exploria Stadium. While supplies last.
As expected, Orlando City season ticket holders will be guaranteed priority access to tickets for the Nov. 21 match against NYCFC. Non-season-ticket holders can also get access to the match but it is not guaranteed. Season ticket holders can access a pass into the game by logging into your respective account manager and non-season ticket holders can do so by clicking here.
Christian Pulisic Returns to Chelsea, Won’t Play in USMNT Friendlies
Gregg Berhalter announced that Christian Pulisic will be returning to Chelsea. The Pennsylvania-born winger picked up an injury with the Blues before a match against Burnley and is still fighting to reach full fitness.
“Christian Pulisic is leaving camp,” Berhalter said. “He had a great three or four days with the team. He was able to get treatment and be with the guys, connect with the staff again. It was great to see him. Unfortunately he won’t be taking part in the match. He is a player we are certainly going to miss and with his quality we wish we could have him on the field, but that is not going to happen.”
Whether or not the USMNT talisman will be fit for the next Chelsea game against Newcastle United on Nov. 21 is still to be determined. Get well soon, Pulisic!
- Liverpool defender Joe Gomez has suffered an injury on international duty with England. Given the fact that the Reds’ injury list is lengthening more and more, day in and out, the Premier League is completely wide open.
- A recent survey indicates women in soccer have dealt with a lack of clarity from clubs and leagues, wage cuts, job losses, and a lack of mental health support during the ongoing pandemic. Hopefully this changes, as none of this is good.
- Miguel Gallardo is ready to light the city purple coming into the playoffs and showed he is with this pretty dodgy new filter.
You can #LightItPurple all over town AND with our new Instagram filter.— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) November 11, 2020
Be like @migallardo01 and check it out on our Instagram profile and tag us in your stories! pic.twitter.com/ecKcyysHOt
- Kylian Mbappe is all of us during international breaks when Orlando City isn’t on.
Kylian Mbappe found his phone much more entertaining than France's performance against Finland pic.twitter.com/PmEuLtrhRH— Goal (@goal) November 11, 2020
That’ll do, pig. That’s all for this Thursday’s set of links. Stay safe out there and I’ll catch you on the flip side.