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Lion Links: 11/15/20

Pedro Gallese picks up a knock on international duty, Chris Mueller gives the shirt off his back, Marc Skinner ready for 2021 season, and more.

Bristol City Women v Tottenham Hotspur Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Happy Sunday, everyone. It’s Beefy Swede Day! Happy birthday to Orlando City defender Robin Jansson. Our resident Viking turns 29 years young today.

It’s an Orlando City playoff match week for the first time since 2014 and the first time ever in MLS. The Pigeons from New York City FC will be flying south at the end of this very week to take on the Lions Saturday afternoon. It’s never too early to start tailgating, but please do so responsibly.

While we count the days/hours/minutes until Saturday at noon, let’s take a look at the news of the day.

Gallese Undergoes MRI on Wrist

According to reports out of South America, Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese left training with Peru to have an MRI on his wrist.

Ugh. Let’s hope El Pulpo’s injury isn’t severe and he can participate should the Lions get past New York City FC on Saturday.


Would You Like a Match-Worn Chris Mueller Jersey?

Sure you would. Who wouldn’t? Cash Mueller is giving away an autographed, game-used jersey and it can be yours. How? We’re not sure, but if you message him directly on Twitter, he’ll send you the details.

Also, Chris, what’s up with the Christmas tree being up in mid-November? Understandable if it’s still up from last year, but come on. Having your tree up before Thanksgiving is the holiday equivalent of being a mile offside.

Marc Skinner Ready for 2021

After an insane year that limited his club to just four matches in 2020, Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner is looking forward to 2021. The gaffer finally got to go home to see his family after the pandemic kept them apart for months. Now he can recharge and think about how best to get the team back on track. Skinner knows that he’s not going to get all of his players on loan back next season despite offering nearly everyone out of contract a new deal for 2021. He’s already lost Alanna Kennedy to Louisville in the NWSL Expansion Draft. But there are some that he has in mind for the club’s future.

Many of the players competing on international teams hold key roles in his vision for the future, particularly the six players abroad he protected in the expansion draft — Alex Morgan, Emily Sonnett, Jade Moore, Claire Emslie, Ali Riley and Phoebe McClernon.

Skinner said others might not be brought back from abroad by the Pride, although the club has extended contract offers or exercised contract options on nine of the players overseas.

He understands others might choose to stay abroad due to the appeal of the salaries and lifestyle available in European leagues.

Alex Morgan Makes First Tottenham Start; Other WSL Notes

As Orlando Pride / USWNT striker Alex Morgan continues to work toward full match fitness, she took another step toward that yesterday, getting her first start of the year for Tottenham. Morgan didn’t score and Spurs were level at 1-1 when she left the match at halftime. Tottenham took a lead in the second half but Bristol City tied it in stoppage time. Former Pride star Alanna Kennedy had a free header on a set piece moments later but pushed it wide and the teams finished up tied at 2-2. Shelina Zadorsky went the distance on the back line for Spurs, who continue to search for the first win of the season and came within just moments of getting it on Saturday.

This rocket by Tobin Heath is impressive, even if it was set up by a horrible turnover. It helped Manchester United come back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against Manchester City in a big rivalry match.

Claire Emslie started for Everton but didn’t score in the Toffees’ 1-1 draw against Reading.

Cyle Larin’s Form Improving

Former Orlando City striker Cyle Larin didn’t exactly light it up at Besiktas when he forced the Lions to move him a couple of seasons ago. But a loan and a position switch have made Larin a more complete player and his form is on the rise. This piece breaks down his improvement as a player. It’s hard to believe but Larin is still just 25. He could be a great future pickup for an MLS side looking for a goal-scorer.

Free Kicks
  • Papi weighed in with an update from training.
  • The Houston Dynamo will reveal their new identity on Tuesday. That kind of defeats the purpose of going into the witness protection program in the first place.
  • Three Ecuador teammates of Sebas Mendez, including LAFC’s Diego Palacios, have tested positive for COVID-19 during this international window. International players around the world continue to get exposed to the virus when rejoining their national teams, so maybe we should rethink this?
  • Seven MLS players tested positive for COVID-19 in testing between Nov. 5-11 but no word which teams were affected. A total of 5,867 samples from 1,476 individuals were collected and tested. No new staff member infections were reported, just the seven players.
  • Speaking of testing positive, England manager Gareth Southgate battled COVID-19 last month.
  • Those born on this date include Ed Asner (1929), singer Petula Clark (1932), Alien and Homicide: Life on the Streets actor Yaphet Kotto, Sam Waterston (1940), Abba’s Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad (1945), Vacation films star Beverly D’Angelo (1951), “Macho Man” Randy Savage (1952), Power Station drummer Tony Thompson (1954), and Trainspotting and Elementary star Jonny Lee Miller (1972).

That’s all my time for today. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend and get ready for the MLS postseason.