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Lion Links: 6/12/20

Orlando City will face Inter Miami, Don Garber confident about player safety, La Liga returns, and more.

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KR Reykjavik at Orlando City Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope you all are having a good week as we transition into the weekend. Fridays are always a good time, even if most of the day is still spent working. Now, let’s jump right into today’s links from around the soccer world!

Orlando City Learns Its Tournament Fate

A match between Orlando City and Inter Miami CF will kick off the MLS is Back Tournament on July 8. It will be the first meeting between the two Floridian clubs and Orlando’s first step in the tournament. The Lions will then face New York City FC and Nashville SC in the group stage, with the Philadelphia Union and Chicago Fire rounding out the rest of Group A. With six groups in the tournament, the top two in each and four third-place finishers will advance, so let’s hope Orlando has a good showing on somewhat home turf.

While we still wait for more information on the tournament, it was revealed that five subs will be allowed each game and that VAR will be in full effect.

Don Garber Confident in Tournament’s Safety Measures

While this is all very exciting, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber and the league are keeping a close eye on the coronavirus pandemic and Orlando. MLS has protocols in place for the tournament to ensure the players and coaches remain safe. Hotel and non-MLS staff will be kept at a safe distance from players and there will be regular testing and sanitation during the tournament.

“There is no specific protocol for how many positive tests would have us take a step back and think about what happens next,” Garber said. “It’s why we are so focused on regular testing and ensuring that we do what we need to do to keep our players safe and then managing what would happen should a player test positive.”

The USWNT’s Toughest Competition

It’s been a year since the United States Women’s National Team dominated in the 2019 FIFA World Cup, and the competition across the world is eager to dethrone the Yanks. France, England, and Germany are all major European threats, but some Orlando Pride players are mounting a challenge with their countries as well.

Marta, Camila, and the rest of Brazil didn’t make this list of the USWNT’s biggest threats, but Shelina Zadorsky’s Canada did, thanks to the nation’s growing young talent. Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond’s Australian side is also a powerhouse and worth keeping an eye on in every tournament. While the Pride’s Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, and Emily Sonnett aim to keep the U.S. on top, the gap is narrowing.

European Soccer Returns

La Liga returned yesterday, with Sevilla defeating Real Betis 2-0 to climb to third in the table. The game had a unique look for fans watching at home, with virtual fans filling the stadium.

That’s not the only thing that will make you think you’re watching a video game. EA Sports, the company behind the FIFA franchise, is supplying crowd noise for both La Liga and English Premier League games.

Speaking of the EPL, the 20 clubs unanimously agreed on protocols for the league’s restart. There will be strict guidelines regarding distance, with rules that will affect team buses, changing rooms, and even celebrations. There also won’t be ball boys or girls, and masks aren’t required to be worn by players.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City and the Orlando Pride both unveiled Black Lives Matter CITYiD patches for their kits, with proceeds going towards a good cause.
  • Here’s a look at the Lions getting ready for the tournament and training. He isn’t the only person in the training video, but I think I’m most excited to see goalkeeper Pedro Gallese in action for Orlando.
  • EPL clubs will support the Black Lives Matter movement next week when matches return.
  • Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli won’t be playing next week against Manchester United after earning a one-match ban for a Snapchat video. In an airport, Alli zoomed in on an Asian man before panning the camera to sanitizer. Alli stated he targeted the man because he was coughing before the video started, not because of his ethnicity.
  • If you love judging soccer kits before they’re even out yet, you’re in luck. Adidas jerseys for Juventus, Arsenal, Real Madrid, and plenty more were leaked for you to check out.
  • We end our links with some game-changing news. OK, so that’s being a bit dramatic, but the rules of the game did change. Now, if a match goes into penalty kicks, the slates will be wiped clean as far as yellow card accumulation is concerned. It’s the kind of change that will have no bearing whatsoever until a goalkeeper in some World Cup match taunts the opposing team and doesn’t get sent off.

That’s going to be it from me, Mane Landers. Have a wonderful Friday and a fantastic weekend!