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Lion Links: 12/20/20

Concacaf Champions League final set, former Lions find new teams, Mewis named Player of the Year, and more.

Soccer: 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League - Semifinals-Tigres UANL (MEX) at CD Olimpia (HON) Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday, everyone. We’re only a few days out from Christmas, and whether you celebrate that particular brand of holiday or one of the many others, such as Festivus, we here at The Mane Land wish you the happiest of holiday seasons. As the year winds down, we’re busy finishing up our 2020 Orlando City Season in Review series of player ratings from the worst year ever (except on the pitch) and preparing our list of the club’s top moments of 2020 to count down for you over the final 10 days of the calendar year.

This morning I’ll be recovering from my third late-night Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League doubleheader in a week, as the semifinals took place at Exploria Stadium last night (more on that below). While I sleep off last night’s soccer activities, you can read the news of the day,!

Tigres UANL and LAFC Advance to CCL Final

The 2020 Concacaf Champions League final is set after last night’s semifinal action at Exploria Stadium. Tigres UANL defeated Honduran side CD Olimpia 3-0 in the first game. Olimpia held firm in the opening half right up until the end, when an intentional handball gave Tigres a penalty and resulted in a sending off. Andre-Pierre Gignac converted the penalty. Tigres won another penalty in the second half on a much less intentional handball and Gignac again converted the spot kick. An Olimpia own goal capped the scoring.

In the nightcap, LAFC went down a goal in the first half and down a man on the edge of halftime, but stormed back to beat Club América out of Mexico’s Liga MX, 3-1. Carlos Vela scored two goals in the first two minutes of the second half to turn the game around and Latif Blessing put the game away deep in stoppage time.

Here is my full summary of last night’s matches at Exploria Stadium.

Former Orlando City Goalkeeper Lands in New England

Ex-OCSC goalkeeper Earl Edwards, Jr. was let go by D.C. United at the end of the 2020 MLS season but he already has a new job. The hated New England Revolution signed Edwards on Saturday and now he’ll be a backup goalkeeper for a team that plays in a giant football stadium on plastic grass. Edwards began his career in Orlando after he was selected by the Lions in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft with the No. 43 overall pick in the third round. He was used sparingly by the Lions for four seasons before being let go. He spent the last two years with D.C. United, where he was again a backup, making 16 appearances for the club’s USL Championship affiliate last year. Good luck to Earl, who is hopefully acting as OCSC’s Manchurian Candidate to destroy the Revs from within.

Former Lion Cam Lindley Lands in San Antonio

Ex-Orlando City midfielder Cam Lindley ultimately didn’t work out and landed in the USL Championship last season with Indy Eleven, where he created 11 scoring chances in 12 games in 2020. Lindley joined San Antonio FC on Saturday, pending league and federation approval.

“As a staff, we are delighted to add Cam to the SAFC family,” said SAFC Head Coach Alen Marcina. “Over his young playing career, he has demonstrated selfless leadership qualities and has also served as a team captain at the USL level. Cam is a very talented player with high potential and already meaningful playing experience at various U.S. national team levels, MLS and USL.”

Lindley made three appearances (all starts) with Orlando City in 2018 but hasn’t appeared in MLS since then. We wish good luck to Cam in the upcoming season.

Pride’s Morgan, Zadorsky See COVID-19 Cancellation in WSL

Orlando Pride stars Alex Morgan and Shelina Zadorsky were set to face Sam Kerr’s Chelsea side today but that match has been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.

The decision was agreed between both teams and the FA after a number of positive tests for Covid-19 were returned within the Chelsea FC Women’s team set-up after the last round of testing. Those affected immediately began a period of self-isolation in accordance with Public Health England and Government guidelines.

Chelsea’s men’s side was not affected by the outbreak, according to the team’s statement. Hopefully Morgan and Zadorsky are staying safe and they perform well in their next match.

Mewis Named U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year

The U.S. Soccer Federation has named midfielder Sam Mewis the U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year for 2020. Mewis played in eight of the nine USWNT matches in 2020 and scored four goals.

“It’s obviously a huge honor to be a part of the list of players that have won this award in the past,” said Mewis. “It should go without saying that it’s the team that does the work on the field and I just have so much respect for the other nominees this year and all my teammates. I’ve just loved playing with them on the U.S. Team, and with my teammates for the Courage and Man City. It’s still such an honor to even get called into a U.S. camp, to get playing time and to be able to score goals for my country. All that continues to be surreal to me. I owe so much to so many people who have helped me on my journey and any individual award is a credit to them.”

Free Kicks

That’s all my time for this morning. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend and — if you have one — your holiday break.