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Lion Links: 11/22/20

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Orlando City advances in the playoffs, a terrific OCSC tifo, PRO supports PRO decisions, Marta has COVID-19, and more.

MLS: New York City FC at Orlando City SC Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday, everyone. Several weeks ago I told you about the liquid diet I was on in preparation for a colonoscopy. That got canceled on me about half an hour before I was scheduled to take the prep solution, so at least I didn’t have to go through that part, but guess what? I’m back on a liquid diet in expectation of having the procedure tomorrow.

At least I can sip my liquids secure in the knowledge that Orlando City is in the second round of the playoffs after an incredible turn of events in yesterday’s penalty shootout against New York City FC.

Before we get into the news of the day, let’s all wish Orlando Pride midfielder Taylor Kornieck a happy birthday.

Lions Squeak Past Pigeons on Penalties

I probably don’t have to rehash the details of yesterday’s match to you here, but it’s fun, so why not do it anyway? Nani put the Lions up early with a goal on a penalty kick after he headed a shot off the outstretched arm of Anton Tinnerholm. Orlando then gave the goal right back on a corner kick on which Maxime Chanot moved pesky Junior Urso out of his way with an illegal, but uncalled, two-handed push, then headed home. Then no goals happened for a long time and the game went to kicks from the spot and wackiness ensued and now Rodrigo Schlegel is our new president. That’s the law.

Christopher Adams has your five takeaways from the match later and I’ll have a fresh batch of player grades — hot out of the oven! — and Man of the Match later this morning. We’ll have a photo gallery from Dan MacDonald, too.

Also, you can buy a Schlegel goalkeeper kit in the team shop.

Pareja Consoled Ruan in Locker Room While Winning Save was Reviewed

Oscar Pareja thought the match was over and ran down the tunnel to the locker room, where he found Ruan in tears. After assuring his fullback that Pedro Gallese had bailed him out in penalties, Pareja was informed that the save was under review and he had to return to the pitch. Luckily, it all worked out in the end.

OCSC Supporters Rock the Playoff Tifo

Let’s give a big tip of the cap to the Ruckus and Iron Lion Firm for Saturday’s playoff tifo, which referenced the Clint Eastwood classic, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The tifo paid homage to Luiz Muzzi, Pareja, and Nani. The tag line under the main tifo said “For some, the season was hell. For us, it was practice.” The movie’s tag line includes the line “For three men, the Civil War wasn’t hell. It was practice.” Great job by all involved and very creative idea.

PRO Stands by Referee Allen Chapman’s Decisions

A lot of ire from fans was directed toward the confusion on the pitch during the penalty shootout when Pedro Gallese was sent off with a second yellow card. Allen Chapman didn’t seem to know the rules and nearly allowed Brian Rowe to substitute on for Rodrigo Schlegel. After lengthy consultation with the video assistant referee and the rest of his crew, Chapman sent Rowe back to the bench, paving the way for Schlegel’s heroics. The Professional Referee Organization said that Chapman ultimately made the right decisions.

Of course, it was Chapman’s own inconsistency throughout the match that created the issue to begin with. As tempers escalated throughout the match, Gary Mackay-Steven baited Ruan into retaliating for a garbage move of jamming his hands into the Brazilian’s abdomen and putting all his weight on Ruan to push himself to his feet. Ruan took exception and lashed out, which he shouldn’t have done. It was a selfish and foolish play. But that red card and being down a man no doubt contributed to Gallese’s 103rd-minute yellow card for time wasting, and subsequently to the madness in the shootout. PRO, as we often say, gonna PRO.

Marta Tests Positive for COVID-19

In less fun news, Orlando Pride star Marta has tested positive for COVID-19 while in her native Brazil. As such, she will miss Brazil’s upcoming friendlies against Ecuador. Obviously we hope Marta gets through this quickly and without any difficulties. Meanwhile, Brazil manager Pia Sundhage has replaced Marta on the squad with her Pride teammate, Camila.

U.S. Players Abroad

It was a big day for Americans playing overseas, even if they didn’t score. Josh Sargent set up Werder Bremen’s goal with this nice assist in a 1-1 draw vs. Bayern Munich.

Niko Gioacchini, fresh off his two-goal effort for the USMNT, drew a penalty to set up the winning goal for his team, Caen. John Brooks helped his team keep a clean sheet in a 2-0 win. Gio Reyna not only had some good contributions to Borussia Dortmund’s 5-2 win over Hertha Berlin, but he also signed a contract extension.

Free Kicks
  • Erling Haaland won the 2020 Golden Boy award as the best European player under 21 years old. USMNT fullback Sergino Dest finished 13th in the voting.
  • In Saturday’s later first-round Eastern Conference playoff match, the Columbus Crew held off the New York Red Bulls, 3-2.
  • In really icky soccer-related news, Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, has been banned for life for sexual abuse of young players.
  • Those born on this date include Rodney Dangerfield (1921), Robert Vaughn (1932), Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam (1940), Billie Jean King (1943), E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt (1950), Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth (1950), Jamie Lee Curtis (1958), The Wire and Lovecraft Country star Michael K. Williams (1966), Boris Becker (1967), Mark Ruffalo (1967), Scarlett Johansson (1984), and England/Roma center back Chris Smalling (1989).

That’s my time for today. Enjoy the rest of our coverage of yesterday’s match as we prepare for whoever is next on the schedule.