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Lion Links: 12/7/20

Alex Morgan scores, the Columbus Crew advance, a strong U.S. defending core emerges, and more.

Tottenham Hotspur Women v Brighton & Hove Albion Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! We’re knee deep into December and holiday decorating is ramping up. We went with a real tree this year at Casa de Rohe, and it is spectacular. Christmas is in the middle of exploding across my house, and the gnomes have invaded. If you haven’t been to a store this holiday season, you might not know that gnomes are the “in thing” this year. To be fair, they are incredibly cute.

Enough about gnomes, it’s time to talk about soccer again. Let’s get your week started with some tasty links.

Alex Morgan Scores for Tottenham

In Rehanne Skinner’s first match as Tottenham Hotspur Women’s head coach, it was the Orlando Pride’s Alex Morgan that put the match out of reach to give the new gaffer a 3-1 win. The Spurs got goals from Kerys Harrop and Angela Addison before Morgan converted a penalty kick in the 84th minute. Morgan started the match and was subbed off right after she made the penalty kick. It was Morgan’s first goal since the birth of her daughter and her first with Tottenham. She played well and was unfortunate not to get a goal earlier in the match. Brighton’s goal also came on a penalty earned when former Orlando Pride and current Spurs star Alanna Kennedy made a dangerous play in the box.

The Columbus Crew Advance to MLS Cup

The New England Revolution may have ended Orlando City’s run in the 2020 MLS playoffs, but their own demise came at the hands of the Columbus Crew, losing 1-0 at MAPFRE Stadium. Artur gave the Crew the winning goal in the 59th minute, assisted by Jonathan Mensah and Lucas Zelarayán. Columbus also had the better chances, with 16 shots and seven on goal compared to New England’s 10 shots with four on goal. The win puts the Crew into the MLS Cup final, where they will host either the Seattle Sounders or Minnesota United on Dec. 12.

The USMNT is Deep at Center Back

While much of Orlando City supporters’ attention has turned to Daryl Dike, Chris Mueller, and Andrés Perea at the United States Men’s National Team camp, there are also defenders present. With MLS Defender of the Year Walker Zimmerman, veteran Aaron Long, MLS Best XI Mark McKenzie, and Mauricio Pineda all available for selection at center back, the position has a great mix of options. That is without considering the previously seen options from Americans playing abroad. What a time for the USMNT to have so many great options in so many positions.

UEFA Nations Learn Their Fate Today

In World Cup qualifying news, 55 UEFA nations will be drawn into 10 groups today at noon, each competing for the 13 available European spots. Of course, the place all the nations are trying to reach is Qatar. The country is hoping for a completely normal World Cup given the progress made in producing vaccines for the coronavirus.

Free Kicks
  • Rose Lavelle picked up a knee injury in Manchester City’s 3-0 win over Everton. It’s too early to know how serious the injury is for the United States Women’s National Team star.
  • The staff at Millwall FC called upon the club’s executives to address fans booing Millwall and Derby County players who knelt in support of the worldwide Black Lives Matter protest.
  • Now this is the kind of story we need in 2020. USWNT players Sophia Smith and Jaelin Howell have been friends since kindergarten. The fact that they are now both playing for their country together is something to be celebrated.
  • Finally, congratulations to former Lion Jamie Watson on the birth of his baby girl, Greylyn Sandra Watson.

I shared a little of my “Gnome for Holidays” motif with you, so let me “gnow” what you have planned this year.