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Lion Links: 12/10/20

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Chris Mueller has dream USMNT debut, Joao Moutinho undergoes hip surgery, Columbus Crew player tests positive and more.

Soccer: International Soccer-El Salvador at USA Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, Lionesses and Lions. As always, I hope you overcame your hump day with ease. Although the season is over for Orlando City, there still occurred an abundance of happenings in and around the soccer-sphere — spoiler, some of it was good news for Orlando City. So, on that note, let’s get into the links.

Chris Mueller Makes Incredible USMNT Debut

Chris Mueller chipped in with four direct goal contributions in the United States’ 6-0 win over El Salvador last night in Fort Lauderdale. Cash showed his worth on his debut to Gregg Berhalter by snapping up an assist and also slotting home a couple goals of his own. It really should be two assists, however, the first one that was to Paul Arriola took a touch off a defender on the way through the area. Nevertheless, he was rightfully awarded the Man of the Match.

Mueller put an industrious shift in yesterday, starting on the left wing and ending the 90-minute match up on the right-hand side. While the 24-year-old was not quite able to become the second ever American to score a hat trick on his debut — but only due to an outstanding save by Henry Hernandez — it was still an undeniably phenomenal entrance to the international fold for the Orlando City man. A Lion ferociously roaring in Fort Lauderdale? Typical.

Joao Moutinho Undergoes Successful Hip Surgery

The road to recovery is now well and truly on for Orlando City defender Joao Moutinho as he has undergone successful surgery on his hip. However, the recovery time is set for four to six months. The operation was done in California with supervision from OCSC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Craig Mintzer.

It’s splendid to see that the major surgery was a success. Moutinho missed a large chunk of the just-finished, historical campaign because of the lengthy injury. It’ll be great to have the threat of the 22-year-old bursting down the left when the time comes. But, until then, well done to the Portuguese left back for powering through the forced time away. We’ll see you soon!

[Note: For more on Moutinho, check back later today for The Mane Land PawedCast, with special guest Luiz Muzzi.]

Columbus Crew Confirm Positive Test ahead of MLS Cup Final

The Columbus Crew announced one positive COVID-19 test ahead of the MLS Cup final this weekend. The anonymous player tested positive following the Monday-Tuesday assessments. Meanwhile, the six players who were unavailable previously have been cleared to play.

The Crew will need the strongest squad possible in order to beat the ever-pesky Seattle Sounders despite being the favorites to win on paper. The Black & Gold finished the regular season with 47 points while the Sounders finished with eight fewer, at 39.

USMNT Could be on Course to Make 2022 World Cup Run

Bill Connelly says that Gio Reyna, Christian Pulisic and co. could make a deep run in the forthcoming 2022 World Cup. The USMNT is packed with high-quality youngsters who could help see the boys in the Red, White & Blue make a respectable run in the world-renowned competition. On the back of the emphatic 6-0 victory for the United States over El Salvador with a young, heavily MLS-based side, it seems clear that potential is certainly present.

“... player talent makes the biggest difference. The U.S. didn’t have enough of it in 2018, but it might have a breakthrough-level amount soon.”

Free Kicks
  • To celebrate the 25th season of MLS, the league released “The 25 Greatest” honoring some of the best to ever do it in the American top flight. Legends.
  • Sad news out of Italy as Paolo Rossi died at age 64 on Wednesday. Rossi won the Golden Boot at the 1982 World Cup with six goals, helping lead Italy to the title.
  • “The racists won.” Yahoo! Sports writer Leander Schaerlaeckens roasts Millwall for its handling of recent booing of the team for kneeling to protest racial inequality.
  • Real Madrid brushed by Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 to seal a spot in the round of 16 in the Champions league. The Germans follow Madrid to the next stage after coming second in the group of death.
  • The USMNT released squad numbers that involved two Orlando City players ahead of last night’s game. Daryl Dike was given number 22 while Chris Mueller was given the number 11.
  • Chris Mueller was so good against El Salvador that it would be wrong not to mention it twice. Great to see the Orlando City admin is just as happy with his performance as we are. Cash is King.

That’ll do, pig. That is all for this Thursday’s set of links so as always, I’ll catch you on the flip side.