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Lion Links: 3/20/20

MLS suspension extended, W-League Grand Final, COVID-19 soccer news, and more.

W-League Semi Final - Melbourne City v Western Sydney Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images

How are you doing, Mane Landers? Hopefully you all are handling the cabin fever well as the need for social distancing continues. I’m sure it’s only going to get tougher but don’t forget to support your local eateries during this time as most should still have takeout or delivery options. It’s rare for me to be able to order orange chicken to eat on my couch and feel like I made a small difference. Now, let’s hop into today’s link from around the soccer world.

MLS Season Suspension Update

Following the Centers for Disease Control guidance to cancel any gatherings of 50 or more people, Major League Soccer extended the 2020 season’s suspension with a target return date of May 10. With this news, Orlando City’s next nine games are postponed, including some juicy home matches against Atlanta United and Minnesota United. While it is disappointing that more games are postponed, this is great news in the long term as player, staff, and fan safety comes first and the league still expects to complete the full season schedule.

Pride Players Face Off in W-League Grand Final

Enough gloom, let’s get excited about some soccer! In Australia, the W-League’s Grand Final is late tonight at 12:30 a.m. between Melbourne City and Sydney FC. Not only are a trio of Orlando Pride players expected to be in action for the match, but they will play major roles. The Pride and Melbourne’s Emily van Egmond will be one of the best players on the field as she continues a dominant season in which she started all 13 games and finished with six goals, just one shy of the Golden Boot. She will be joined on offense by Pride forward Claire Emslie, who has performed well in Melbourne City’s potent attack to help her team reach this point.

As for Sydney FC, Pride defender Alanna Kennedy stands in the way of that strong offense and believes her team will rise to the occasion. This game should be plenty of fun if you’re willing to stay up a bit, so make sure to check it out if you can.

Orlando City Featured in “MLS Classic”

Have you ever heard of the Monkey’s Paw? If not, I’ll make a great short story even shorter and say that it is a lesson about being careful what you wish for. I bring it up because we all have been wishing to watch some old Orlando City games and MLS listened by adding an OCSC game to its schedule of daily league throwback games. This is great news, except the game chosen is the one where Wayne Rooney hustled to create that goal against the Lions in July of 2018. Still, it was one heck of a game and worth watching again even if we all know how it ends. Maybe just turn it off after Orlando clears that late corner and pretend Will Johnson doesn’t get chased down.

Coronavirus Soccer News and Updates

I definitely understand if having to hear about COVID-19 constantly can be fatiguing so I’ll try to pack as many links and as much information in this section as I can. Here is a nice guide on how the coronavirus is affecting MLS and soccer as a whole in the country. New York City FC confirmed a case of COVID-19 in its sporting department. Concacaf released a statement regarding its many tournament suspensions. The pandemic caused Swiss club FC Sion to terminate the contracts of several players, including former Arsenal defender Alex Song. After testing negative, JuventusGonzalo Higuain left quarantine in Italy to head home to Argentina. Manchester United will reportedly make payments to its matchday staff if the cancelled and closed door matches continue. Because MLS games are technically postponed rather than cancelled, an Inter Miami fan is having trouble refunding his ticket.

Free Kicks
  • Catch up with all of your favorite Pride players with this social update.
  • For all of you at home and relying on video games to get you through some of the boredom, Orlando City’s eMLS player Abe Valbuena gave some handy tips to improve your FIFA 2020 skills.

That’s going to do it for today, Mane Landers. I hope each and every one you has a safe and fun Friday!