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Lion Links: 11/25/20

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Orlando City will host Revs in semifinals, Lions’ appeal for Gallese’s ejection denied, Sebas Mendez reportedly has COVID-19, and more.

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

Good morning, Mane Landers! I hope the day finds you well. Before we jump into the links, let’s all take a second to wish Orlando Pride defender Emily Sonnett a happy birthday.

Lions Will Host Conference Semifinal

Orlando City’s playoff run will continue at home, for now. The Lions will be at Exploria Stadium again this Sunday at 3 p.m. to face the New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Revs ousted the Supporters’ Shield-winning Philadelphia Union 2-0 on the road Tuesday night with goals by Adam Buksa and Tajon Buchanon. MLS Coach of the Year Jim Curtin, Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake, and MLS Best XI members Blake, Brenden Aaronson, and Mark McKenzie are all out after one match. Aaronson is off to Europe and possibly McKenzie as well.

Tickets for Sunday’s match go on sale this morning at 10 a.m. at this link. Like it has since the restart, Exploria Stadium will continue to operate at reduced capacity for Sunday’s match.

Pedro Gallese’s Suspension Stands

In Orlando City vs. Everyone fashion, Orlando City has lost its appeal to overturn Gallese’s second yellow card that came during the shootout against NYC FC. The club argued that Gallese’s “foot off the line” was not clear and obvious enough to warrant the second yellow. El Pulpo will be forced to miss Sunday’s conference semifinal. The club will look to Brian Rowe to help the Lions through it.

Sebas Méndez Reportedly Tests Positive

Orlando City’s Sebas Méndez missed the first playoff match against New York City FC, and could be unavailable for Sunday’s semifinal. He was called up to play for Ecuador and, unlike Pedro Gallese, had to take a commercial flight home after several Ecuadorian teammates tested positive for COVID-19. Méndez was not initially listed as one of the players, but an Ecuadorian journalist has reported that Méndez has tested positive. Orlando City has not commented on the situation.

Other MLS Playoff Results

Daniel Rios opened the scoring in the 108th minute — the 18th minute of extra time — to lift Nashville SC to a 1-0 win over Toronto FC. The goal went unanswered and Nashville moves on to face Columbus in a semifinal battle of yellow teams. We are spared yet another Seattle-Toronto final.

Now, I’m not one to buy in to conspiracy theories, but the Orlando City vs. Everybody one is really starting to build steam as the inconsistency in officiating continues. Take a look at this move that looks wildly familiar, yet didn’t result in a red card. Or anything else.

In the late match out west, Nicolas Lodeiro gave the Seattle Sounders an early lead and Carlos Vela took an awful penalty that was easily saved moments later. Vela missed a free header not long after that and the Sounders went on to win, 3-1. Raul Ruidiaz doubled the lead with a second-half goal. Eduard Atuesta pulled one back but it was not enough as Jordan Morris scored in transition moments later. Seattle will host FC Dallas in one Western Conference semifinal, while Minnesota will visit Sporting Kansas City in the other.

Sergino Dest First American to Score for Barcelona

USMNT fullback Sergino Dest scored for Barcelona in yesterday’s 4-0 win over Dynamo Kiev. Without Lionel Messi, Frenkie de Jong, Gerard Pique, and Sergi Roberto, the club turned to the Dutch-American fullback, who opened the scoring when he fired a shot inside the far post in the 52nd minute. With his goal, Dest became the first U.S. international to score for Barcelona, and the 10th to score in the Champions League. He joins the likes of Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Maurice Edu, Jovan Kirovski, DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones, Fabian Johnson, and former Lion Sacha Kljestan. As a side note, U.S. international Konrad de la Fuente also appeared for Barcelona, making it a record seven Americans who have played in the Champions League this season.

Free Kicks
  • Why wait until Black Friday to start Christmas shopping?
  • The future of the Utah Royals is unknown as a move to Kansas City or folding are both on the table.
  • If we haven’t done enough to convince you of the many reasons to watch Ted Lasso, maybe Yahoo! Sports can convince you, as Leander Schaerlaeckens writes about what the show actually tells us about how far American soccer has come.
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic goes after EA Sports for using his image and name in FIFA 21 without permission.

That’ll do it for me today, everyone. Have a great day and please stay safe out there.