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Lion Links: 11/7/20

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Benji Michel wins Goal of the Week, Orlando City fined, MLS playoff schedule revealed, and more.

SOCCER: OCT 06 MLS - Chicago Fire at Orlando City SC Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope everyone is well and staying safe as we enter the weekend. We get a little breather before Major League Soccer’s Decision Day tomorrow. Luckily for the Lions, they get to host a home playoff game soon and I can’t wait. Now, let’s get to the links.

Benji Michel Wins Goal of the Week

Orlando City forward Benji Michel’s game-winner in the 84th minute against Columbus Crew SC on Wednesday night won him MLS Goal of the Week. That goal not only sealed a crucial victory for the Lions, but also clinched a top-four finish in the Eastern Conference to host a playoff game at Exploria Stadium. It was Michel’s fifth goal of the season.

Coming in second place was San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski, who helped the Quakes make the playoffs and scored his 166th goal in MLS. In third place was Kellyn Acosta of the Colorado Rapids, whose goal sunk the Portland Timbers and clinched the Rapids a playoff spot. Don’t forget, Orlando City will play its final game of the regular season tomorrow against Nashville SC at 3:30 p.m. on FOX 35 Plus and ESPN+.

Lions Fined After Controversial Call

The MLS Disciplinary Committee fined Orlando City and Head Coach Oscar Pareja an undisclosed amount after finding the team in violation of the league’s mass confrontation policy following Nani’s red card. Speaking of the captain, he was also fined an undisclosed amount for failing to leave the field in a timely manner. The club still awaits to hear back regarding its appeal of the red card, which is not determined by MLS. That verdict from the independent panel should come some time today and will determine if Nani gets to play on Decision Day.

Matheus Aiás Fitting in With the Lions

The Brazilian forward shared how he is adjusting with the Lions by being prepared for the opportunity, learning new things, and feeling at home. He’s appeared in three games this season, but is still awaiting his first start as a Lion.

MLS Releases Upcoming Playoff Schedule

The league unveiled the schedule and TV information for the 2020 MLS Cup payoffs. We’ll have 17 knockout matches to watch over the next 22 days, with the action starting on Friday, Nov. 20. For the second consecutive season, the playoffs will feature single-elimination matches hosted by the higher seed from start to finish. The MLS Cup final is set to take place on Dec. 12.

For Orlando, its first playoff game will be on either Nov, 21, 22, or 24. There will be a couple of weeks to wait due to the international break, but I can’t wait to see the Lions in action again after Sunday. How are you guys feeling right now about them potentially bringing the MLS Cup home? Let me know in the comments below.

Americans Abroad

We have some exciting action in the Bundesliga today with two big games on ESPN+. At 9:30 a.m., RB Leipzig hosts Freiburg. Tyler Adams hasn’t played in RB Leipzig’s last two league matches, but he did return to action this past Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League. In that game, Adams came off the bench to help preserve a 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain.

Der Klassiker begins at 12:30 p.m. with Borussia Dortmund hosting Bayern Munich. Giovanni Reyna has been in good form lately and started in Dortmund’s Champions League game against Club Brugge, playing 77 minutes. Reyna and Dortmund will certainly have their hands full as Bayern Munich has won the last three matches between the two rivals by a combined score of 10-0. Dortmund will have to change that if it’s going to win the Bundesliga title this season. Tomorrow you’ll have to get up early at 6:30 to watch Weston McKennie and Juventus take on Lazio on ESPN 2.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City’s academy will be a part of MLS Next going forward. The new platform will further the growth of young Orlando players.
  • Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz gave a shout out to both Daryl Dike and the supportive sports community here in Orlando.
  • Former Lion Cyle Larin found the back of the net for Besiktas, equalizing things for his squad while a man down in what ended as a 3-1 loss against Gaziantep.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Take care of yourselves, enjoy your weekend, and I’ll see you next time.