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Lion Links: 6/25/20

Orlando City learns MLS is Back Tournament schedule, Colorado Rapids player tests positive, Group A disadvantage solved, and more.

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

Happy Thursday, Lionesses and Lions. I hope you are all doing well and overcame your hump day with ease. Sadly, COVID-19 cases seem to be spiking once again in the Sunshine state with over 5,500 cases reported on Wednesday.

Fortunately, away from the coronavirus and other sources of ever perpetual bad news, some good news was released for soccer fans. And on that note, let’s get into the links.

MLS is Back Tournament Schedule Released

At long last, MLS has announced the official schedule for the MLS is Back Tournament. The league has announced the dates of all fixtures, including when the latter stages of the competition will be held. Orlando City will face Inter Miami CF in the first match of the competition at 8 p.m. on July 8 (ESPN). The match-up will be the first battle between the Florida sides. Later that day, Nashville SC will take on the Chicago Fire at 10:30 p.m. The Lions will face New York City FC in their second game at 10:30 p.m. on July 14 (TUDN). Finally, Orlando City will participate in one of the seven morning matches, facing off against Nashville SC at 9 a.m. on July 20 (ESPN).

The round of 16 will include four straight days of double headers from July 25-28. The quarterfinals will be held as two doubleheaders on July 31 and Aug. 1. The semifinals will be Aug. 5-6. And last but not least, the final will be held on Aug. 11 at 8 p.m.

San Jose Earthquakes the First Side to Land in Orlando

The San Jose Earthquakes received a classy welcome from Orlando City to the new capital of MLS, as the Quakes were the first team to touch down in Orlando for the upcoming tournament.

Despite the competition still being 13 days away, the MLS sides are now going to start infiltrating Orlando to find their feet and get acclimated to the relentless Florida heat prior to the 54-day competition.

Former MLS is Back Tournament Significant flaw” Solved

In last week’s installment of Lion Links, a “significant flaw” in the MLS is Back Tournament was mentioned that could have potentially harmed Orlando City. Mathematically, Orlando City, the Philadelphia Union, Inter Miami, New York City FC, the Chicago Fire, and Nashville SC each only had a 50% chance of advancing to the round of 16 compared to a 65% chance of advancing for all other teams.

Fortunately, said flaw has been solved. Now, the top three sides in Group A will automatically advance to the round of 16. Evan Weston tweeted a photo explaining the newly mandated solution.

Colorado Rapids Player Tests Positive for COVID-19

Unfortunately, the Colorado Rapids have confirmed that an anonymous player has tested positive for the coronavirus. While soccer is coming back, it must not be forgotten that COVID-19 still remains an ever-present issue.

The positive test for the Rapids player follows three other recent positive results within the last week: Atlanta United announced positive tests on June 18 and 19, while Inter Miami also announced on June 19 that they had a player test positive. Prior to that, the other MLS clubs recently announcing positive tests include D.C. United (June 13), FC Dallas (June 3) and the Philadelphia Union (April 1), with Kacper Przybylko revealing he was the Union player to contract COVID-19. NYCFC announced on March 19 that a member of the club’s sporting department tested positive.

Free Kicks
  • Pride goalkeeper Erin McLeod weighed in on Instagram regarding this week’s events.

That’ll do, pig. That is all for this Thursday. Keep on keeping on, but make sure you also don a mask. I’ll catch you on the flip side.