Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! What cool things have you been doing while cooped up? I took the kids on a paddle the other day. We’re very lucky that our house backs up to a conservation area, and when it rains the water level in the “pond” allows for some boating fun. What types of things are you doing to keep yourself and your family entertained? I would always recommend listening to The Mane Land PawedCast, and sending in questions for us to answer. You could also decide you want to write for The Mane Land, and join us on staff. It’s a good time, especially during a lockdown. I think that’s enough plugs for now, let’s get to the links!
Surprise, Nani Plays in Orlando
It seems that there are some in the world who don’t pay attention to MLS. In fact, they evidently don’t realize that Nani is playing for Orlando City after leaving Manchester United and Sporting CP. Of course, Nani is not the only former European great plying his trade outside of the world’s top leagues. Robinho, Mario Gomez, Maxi Rodriguez, and others are finishing up their careers in MLS, China, and other leagues. I think the most surprising thing is that there are those who didn’t know it.
MLS’s Best Kits
The staff at our sister SBNation site, Waking the Red, pulled together its take on the greatest kit in each MLS club’s history. For Orlando City, the staff chose the 2017 home kit. You know the one. It’s purple, with gold Adidas stripes, the old Orlando Health logo, and that important collar.
I very much agree with the choice, though there’s only one Orlando City kit that I don’t like, and you can read about it here. Other notables from the list include the Houston Dynamo’s 2018 alternate kit (the one with the orangesicle stripes on the chest) and the Seattle Sounders’ 2016 alternate kit. To quote them, “It’s TV static meets Perry The Platypus, and if that isn’t the ultimate combo, then I don’t know what is.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
A Problem Down Under
Though it’s still up in the air, the National Women’s Soccer League plans on starting training on May 16. That could prove problematic for the four Australian NWSL players still in Australia. The Orlando Pride’s Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond are both stuck down under with the rest thanks to Australia’s international travel ban out of the country. Of course, it could all change at any point, and hopefully Kennedy and van Egmond will make it back in time for training and the season.
Wright-Phillips Says Not So Fast
There’s been plenty of talk about how MLS has improved and might be narrowing the gap with the European Leagues. Former Manchester City, Chelsea, and New York Red Bulls winger Shaun Wright-Phillips isn’t as optimistic though. Having spent time in MLS and with USL side Phoenix Rising, Wright-Phillips does have some insight. According to him, there are too many gaps in the American development system to properly prepare players for the highest levels. He also admitted that it’s not a physical fitness problem, but that the attacking tactics are all that there is, and there is no back up plan if it doesn’t work. He even mentioned how Orlando City was able to break the Red Bulls’ press and wreak havoc. It is an interesting perspective he offers, but it is just one man’s opinion.
Soccer is the most beloved, most respected sport in the world. Because of that, there have been plenty of comedy skits made about the beautiful game. Between the players, supporters, coach eccentricities, and other antics both on and off the pitch, the material practically writes itself. From Monty Python to the Simpsons and plenty of others, there are laughs to be enjoyed. The article did miss one of my all-time favorites though, so I offer it up for your enjoyment.
- Former Orlando City General Manager and current Inter Miami FC Sporting Director Paul McDonough spoke about his choice of Robbie Robinson in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. Like everywhere he’s been, he’s trying to build something in Ft. Lauderdale.
- It turns out Belarus isn’t the only nation still playing soccer in front of actual supporters. Taiwan is getting in on the action.
- With the Bundesliga getting ready to get back to business, Borussia Mönchengladbach came up with a way to fill the stands while keeping everyone safe. The club will put cutouts of fans made by local businesses, with some of the proceeds going to local fans in need.
- Meanwhile in the English Premier League, clubs are coming to terms with the idea of playing all of next season without fans in the stands. Many of the clubs in danger of relegation are also open to playing in neutral venues if it means there’s no chance of relegation.
- PSG made Kylian Mbappé a Neymar-level offer to extend his stay with the French club. Real Madrid is also hoping to bring Mbappé to Spain, but that task just got tougher.
- Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman was hospitalized with heart problems, and will undergo a cardiac catheterization.
- Were you wondering how Manchester United’s Paul Pogba is staying fit and sane during the lockdown? Well wonder no more.
- Finally, I’ll leave you with this great message from the Greater Orlando Sports Commission and its thank you to all of the region’s frontline workers.
Stay safe, stay sane, and go City!