Good morning, Mane Landers. I hope you all are having a nice week as we all transition into the weekend. It looks like there won’t be much soccer action to look forward to in the coming weeks though. Still, here are some of the links from around the soccer world.
Coronavirus Affects Orlando Soccer
Yesterday, Major League Soccer suspended its season for a minimum of 30 days as concerns regarding the coronavirus continue. Orlando City released a statement fully supporting the league’s decision and stating that the health and safety of fans, players, and staff are of the utmost importance.
“Our top priority as a Club is the health and safety of everyone from our players, employees and fans. We are clearly dealing with an unprecedented health crisis and remain committed to keeping everyone within our Club and community safe,” Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão said. “We will continue to work with local, state and national health officials along with the CDC in monitoring the situation.”
The National Women’s Soccer League is cancelling its preseason and reviewing contingency plans regarding the regular season, with the Orlando Pride’s home opener against Sky Blue FC still set for April 19.
The USL League One is delaying preseason activities and the start of the 2020 season by at least two weeks. Orlando City B’s first two road games and home opener on April 11 are all affected by this news and will have to be rescheduled.
Also, the Major Arena Soccer League is ending its regular season entirely. This will effectively end the Orlando SeaWolves’ season with four remaning home games on the schedule, their match against the Kansas City Comets tomorrow no longer happening.
Even the Florida Youth Soccer Association has suspended all activities until mid-April.
USSF President Resigns
United States Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro resigned after the USSF was criticized for its legal filings earlier in the week. Before his resignation, Cordeiro apologized to the United States Women’s National Team after the team’s SheBelieves Cup victory, where players protested by wearing their warm-up shirts inside out.
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I am stunned and disappointed at the recent blatant sexism from US Soccer. Was it too much for me to expect them to protect, support and encourage us (equally) to be our best? I love my country and it is the highest honor to represent the United States playing the sport I love. With that being said, we can NEVER and should never settle for discrimination. We will support each other and carry on the fight for every woman who came before us and every young girl who dreams of following us. We stand for you and with you.
Lions Building Chemistry
Before their season was put on hold, Orlando City was working on increasing the connection between teammates, particularly on offense. With only one goal in the team’s two first games, forward Tesho Akindele noted a disconnect between midfielders and forwards as new faces continue to work with one another.
“We just didn’t create enough chances, enough dangerous opportunities,” Akindele said. “That’s probably something we’re going to work on this week is just kind of finding that connection. We just kind of need to get our timing down.”
While the MLS suspension will certainly slow things down on the training front, the team is only going to get more familiar with one another over time. Speaking of the offense, Dom Dwyer is coming along in his healing process and if there is any good news to this suspension, it is the added time for him to recover. Also, news surfaced that Orlando City made a proposal for Brazilian striker Vitinho to help bolster the offense, but Flamengo swiftly declined.
Coronavirus Impacts Sports World
Practically all sports leagues and competitions are being affected by COVID-19 and these changes will have a heavy impact on professional leagues in the U.S. The NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA Tour, NASCAR, and PBA all made decisions regarding suspensions, delays, and attendance. The NCAA also cancelled March Madness and the Frozen Four as the pandemic continues.
Both the United States Men’s National Team and USWNT called off their upcoming friendlies. In Europe, La Liga is suspended and the English Premier League is holding an emergency meeting as of this writing with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta testing positive, Chelsea closing a training facility, Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy in self-isolation, and a trio of Leicester City players showing symptons.
On a local level, here’s a nice guide on closings and cancellations in the Orlando area.
- The Pride’s Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond are both in action this week for the W-League’s Finals Series, although they won’t play against each other in the semifinals.
- USMNT left back Antonee Robinson will undergo surgery to fix an irregular heart rhythm.
- Zack Steffen is recovering well from his knee injury, returning to training with Fortuna Dusseldorf.
- How about we try to end our links on a highlight? USMNT defender John Brooks scored his first goal of 2020, connecting on a corner for Wolfsburg. It isn’t spectacular, but a goal is a goal and we may not see many in the coming month.
John Brooks with the Europa League goal for Wolfsburg. He’s really hit a good stride since overcoming his brief benching. He’s on good form heading into the #USMNT March fr.....looming pandemic break.— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) March 12, 2020
That’s going to do it for today, Mane Landers. Take care of yourselves and others out there. We may be without sports for a while, but I’m sure we can handle it. Have a great Friday!