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Lion Links: 3/17/20

Orlando City will play (sort of), new CDC recommendations, UEFA summit taking place today, Ledezma extends stay, and more.

SOCCER: FEB 29 MLS - Orlando City SC v Real Salt Lake

Happy Tuesday, and happy St. Patrick’s Day, everybody. Regardless of everything that’s been going on lately, the world has yet to stop turning so far, which means that we continue to be here giving you your daily dose of soccer-related news. Since I’ve had time off from work lately, I even actually managed to find the time to get outside and play some of the beautiful game myself for the first time in a very long time, so that was quite nice. On to the news.

Orlando City Will Compete in International FIFA Tourney

The Lions may not be able to take the pitch at Exploria Stadium in front of the purple-clad faithful, but they can still compete. Orlando City is going to take part in an international FIFA20 tournament. Hosted by English club Leyton Orient, the tournament will feature 128 teams from 16 countries.

Orlando City is the only American club to take part in the challenge, which includes names like the Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Manchester City. The tournament is single-elimination knockout, and will begin on Wednesday with a drawing to see who each team will face in the first round.

Each club will select a representative to play throughout the tournament, which can be anyone from a player to a fan to a member of the front office. The Lions have not announced their representative yet.

Even Newer CDC Recommendations

The Center for Disease Control is now recommending that people avoid social gatherings of 10 or more people until further notice. That number is a decrease from the previous recommendation of 50 people, but as many bars, restaurants, and other non-essential public areas are now closing, it isn’t a huge change from the previous number. It’s safe to say we’re still a long way off from soccer’s return.

Manage Expectations Over UEFA Summit

UEFA is holding a summit today to try and figure out how best to proceed once the air clears with the current coronavirus pandemic. As far as soccer is concerned there figures to be a massive amount of fixture congestion once this is all over, and don’t expect there to be a perfect solution to resolving things. UEFA figures to face a lot of pressure to move Euro 2020, currently scheduled to begin on June 20. Then there’s the UEFA Champions League, World Cup qualifying, domestic seasons, contract issues, and a whole host of other things that will need to be figured out. Whatever solution the powers-that-be settle on, don’t expect it to be perfect.

Ledezma Extended at Eindhoven

PSV Eindhoven announced that USMNT youth prospect Richie Ledezma has extended his stay with the club. Ledezma’s deal was originally set to expire at the end of this season, but his new deal will keep him with the club until at least the summer of 2022. The 19-year-old attacking midfielder is a Real Salt Lake academy product, and played with the affiliated Real Monarchs of the USL Championship before moving to Europe. While he has yet to make a debut for the senior national team, he was going to be part of the squad for Olympic qualifiers before they were postponed.

Big Crowd for Virtual Derby

Sevilla and Real Betis were supposed to play on Sunday in the Seville derby, which was obviously cancelled due to the coronavirus. To help give fans their fix, Betis’ Borja Iglesias and Sevilla’s Sergio Reguilon squared off in a game of FIFA 20, pitting the two sides against each other and streamed the game live on Twitch. It was a pretty thrilling contest to say the least, with Iglesias’ Betis running out 6-5 winners. The match proved to be quite popular, as over 60,000 people watched the two duke it out online. Don’t surprised if you see more things like this popping up in the near future!

Free Kicks
  • There is now a t-shirt version of the USWNT’s inside-out training top. Not only does it look totally badass, but a portion of the proceeds also go to the USWNT players themselves.
  • Dom Dwyer sent his thoughts and love out to everyone.
  • The Chicago Red Stars provided a bunch of wholesome programming to help people get through their Monday.

That’ll be all for me today. Be smart, stay safe, buy things other than toilet paper, and we’ll see you right back here tomorrow.