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Lion Links: 3/18/20

Orlando’s virtual opponent, Orlando players speak up, Copa America postponed, and more.

SOCCER: FEB 18 MLS Preseason - KR Reykjavik v Orlando City SC Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, Mane Landers. I hope this Wednesday morning finds everyone well. We’ve been on “spring break” this week, which looks totally different than we’d originally planned. But we’re both healthy and happy to have the time to read and bake. Let’s go ahead and jump into the links.

OCSC to Play Feyenoord Rotterdam

Without actual soccer, Orlando City will play in the Ultimate Quaran-Team Cup. The draw is officially complete and the fixtures for round one of the competition were announced. Orlando City will play as the home team against Dutch club Feyenoord Rotterdam.

Copa America Postponed to 2021

The competition was scheduled to start June 12, but the Conmebol Council in conjunction with UEFA have made the decision to postpone Copa America until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is an extraordinary measure for an unexpected situation and responds to the fundamental need to prevent the exponential evolution of the virus. It was not easy to make that decision, but we must always protect the health of our players and everyone who is part of the great football family in South America. Do not doubt that the oldest international tournament in the world will be back stronger than ever in 2021,” said Alejandro Dominguez, president of Conmebol.

This decision could benefit OCSC once MLS clubs get back in action as TML’s Michael Citro pointed out. Pedro Gallese and Sebas Mendez were likely to be away from Orlando City for a month or longer for the tournament and would be key players if Orlando sees a condensed season.

Orlando Players Send a Message

Some may have a hard time watching soccer players kick a roll of toilet paper like a soccer ball while stores are practically empty, but Orlando City players participating in the “stay at home” challenge have made the message loud and clear. Stay home, flatten the curve, and let’s all fight this together. Nani also took part in the challenge with his son and showed off some fun moves.

Gallese took a different approach, using an imaginary roll of toilet paper to preserve it. it reminded me of Deangelo Vickers’ juggling act — if you know, you know. Meanwhile, the Orlando Pride’s Ali Riley put her own spin on the challenge and got a workout in.

Cindy Parlow Cone Disavows Previous USSF Statements

Cindy Parlow Cone took over as head of American Soccer’s governing body last week and immediately disavowed the “offensive assertions” in the USWNT’s equal pay lawsuit.

“These assertions are based on pernicious stereotypes, are devoid of any factual support in the record, and are so imbued with discriminatory animus that then-President Carlos Cordeiro apologized for them on behalf of USSF and resigned his post,” lawyers for the players wrote in their filing Monday. “But his actions do not erase the impact of USSF’s admitted motivations, which demonstrate, as a matter of law, that plaintiffs’ sex was at least `a basis’ under the EPA and `a motivating factor’ under Title VII for USSF’s pay discrimination.”

Speaking of the world champions, the USWNT players are not showing symptoms of the coronavirus after sharing a stadium with Japan’s Kozo Tashima during the SheBelieves Cup. Tashima tested positive after his trips to Europe and the U.S.

“Presently, no one associated with U.S. Soccer is displaying symptoms, and all players are currently at their homes, dispersed throughout the nation. Our medical staff is contacting the players and all involved, and we will continue to assess the situation closely,” said U.S. Soccer Federation spokesman Neil Buethe.

Free Kicks

That’ll do it for me this morning, Mane Landers. I’m off to stress bake some banana nut muffins. I don’t even know who I am anymore. As always, have a great week and stay safe!