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Lion Links: 12/1/20

Lions called up to USMNT, Orlando ready to keep building MLS scheduling changes, and more.

SOCCER: NOV 29 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinal - New England Revolution at Orlando City SC Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, everyone. While we didn’t get the result we were hoping for on Sunday, we were fortunate enough to have been able to experience the best and most enjoyable Orlando City season to date, and I’m thankful for that. There’s lots to talk about today, so let’s hop right in.

Daryl Dike, Chris Mueller Get First USMNT Call-Ups

The United States Men’s National Team has announced the roster for its upcoming friendly against El Salvador next Wednesday. Orlando fans will have no problem recognizing two of the names, as Daryl Dike and Chris Mueller both received their first ever call-ups for the USMNT. All but one of the 22 players are based in the United States, with the roster largely composed of young players. Of the 22 players, 12 have never been capped by the national team, with Paul Arriola the most capped player in the group with 33 appearances to his name. Dike’s and Mueller’s excellent work during the season has paid off, although they undoubtedly benefit from the match not taking place during an official FIFA window. Hopefully, they’re able to impress and are brought back in during the upcoming January camp. Congrats guys!

Orlando Ready to Keep Building

Despite a painful loss in the Eastern Conference semifinals, everyone involved with Orlando City is ready to keep building on what the team accomplished this year. Oscar Pareja believes that the team accomplished what it set out to do at the beginning of the year, and he wants to keep on going. The players also seem to believe that a corner was turned for the club this year. Junior Urso talked about how proud he was of everyone and how his teammates are his family. Nani spoke about how the team gave him the belief that he could still be a winner at his age. At the end of the day, even though the season didn’t end the way anyone hoped, there’s a lot to look forward to and plenty of optimism among the Lions.

Playoff Schedule Restructured

Major League Soccer has made changes to the playoff schedule in order to try to reach a broader audience. The Western Conference semifinal between Sporting Kansas City and Minnesota United has been moved to Dec. 3. That also means that the Western Conference final will take place on Dec. 7 instead of one day earlier. The Eastern Conference final will be played next Sunday, Dec. 6, and the MLS Cup Final will still be played on Dec. 12. The league stressed that none of the schedule changes are COVID-19 related, and seem to be an effort to avoid playing games on the same day as college football and NFL games.

Roster Decisions for Several Teams

Six MLS teams announced the status of their contract options yesterday, with the LA Galaxy, D.C. United, Toronto FC, the Vancouver Whitecaps, New York Red Bulls, and Real Salt Lake all announcing their decisions. There are several notable options that were declined, with Toronto’s Pablo Piatti, RSL’s Guiseppe Rossi, and NYRB’s Marc Rzatkowski all having their options declined. Several players are currently in the limbo of new contract negotiations with the Galaxy’s Cristian Pavon, and RSL’s Kyle Beckerman being two of the more notable names. Additionally, former Lion Earl Edwards Jr. had his option declined by D.C. United.

Löw to Continue with Germany

Germany’s football association has confirmed that it will stick with Joachim Löw as the man in charge of the national team, at least until the 2021 European Championship. Despite a 6-0 shellacking from Spain that ended Germany’s hopes of making the final four of the Nation’s League, the DFB said that “ a single game cannot and will not be the benchmark for the fundamental performance of the national team and of the head coach.” While that’s a fair point, Germany hasn’t looked like a particularly convincing version of itself lately, although it’s worth noting that the team’s last loss before the one to Spain came in September of 2019.

Free Kicks
  • Nani had a message for the fans following the conclusion of Orlando’s season.
  • Scott Sutter congratulated his former club on a successful season and hinted that he might be back in Exploria Stadium in the future.

That’ll do it for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.