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Lion Links: 7/10/20

Orlando City’s schedule shifts after Nashville SC’s withdrawal, Nani shares stories, tournament results, and more.

MLS: Inter Miami CF at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I bet you’re all still riding high after Orlando City’s big win this week. It still feels a little surreal that Major League Soccer action is back, let alone the fact that we get to celebrate a Lions’ victory. Now, let’s hop into today’s links!

Nashville’s Withdrawal Changes Orlando’s Schedule

After nine Nashville SC players tested positive for COVID-19, the club was pulled out of the MLS is Back Tournament. Because of this, MLS moved the Chicago Fire from Group A to Group B, leaving each group in the tournament with four teams and shifting Orlando’s remaining schedule. Now, the Lions will play the Philadelphia Union on July 20 at 8 p.m. instead of the Fire during the morning time slot. The changes in format also moved Orlando’s next game against New York City FC on July 14 from a late 10:30 p.m. kickoff to the prime time 8 p.m. slot.

Nani Opens Up About Hardships and Triumphs

In his own words with The Players’ Tribune, Orlando midfielder and former Manchester United star Nani shared stories and moments from his life that have shaped him into who he is today. It’s a fantastic read as Nani recalls his childhood in Portugal, coping with the absence of his father and begging for food in the richer parts of Lisbon. Nani also speaks on his time with Manchester United, including living with Cristiano Ronaldo. Talking openly about his fears and past, Nani’s life has changed but he hasn’t changed who he is because of it.

Today I know that some people may not really understand me because I always show my emotions. If I am sad or unhappy, I will show it. But I want to be like this. I don’t want to change who I am. You see people go from having nothing to having everything, and they become different people and lose their way. I have always told myself, The day you forget who you really are, you’re done.

MLS is Back Tournament Continues

In yesterday’s morning game between NYCFC and the Union, captain Alejandro Bedoya scored the only goal in a 1-0 win for the Union. Goalkeeper Andre Blake came up with a few big stops in order to keep Heber and the NYCFC offense from doing damage. After the disappointing result, NYCFC is now the fourth team in MLS history to go without a goal or point in the first three matches of a season and the club knows what’s at stake against Orlando in the next match.

In the night game, the New England Revolution faced off against the Montreal Impact in a rematch after the two teams played earlier this February. The Revolution came away victorious this time around, with Gustavo Bou burying the ball in the back of the net in another 1-0 win.

Will a team be able to score in the first half in this tournament? The Seattle Sounders and San Jose Earthquakes will give it their best shot tonight at 9 p.m. as the tournament continues.

MLS Continues Support of Black Lives Matter Movement

MLS players and staff aren’t shying away from fighting racial inequality as the league returns to play. Philadelphia Union players wore the names of police brutality victims on the back of their jerseys in place of their own. The players also created a special captain’s armband for the tournament as well.

Impact Head Coach and soccer legend Thierry Henry knelt for eight minutes and forty-six seconds in his coaching box during the game, the same length of time George Floyd had a knee on his neck.

These aren’t the only acts of solidarity being taken across the league and they certainly won’t be the last. Orlando midfielder Tesho Akindele reflected on the pregame statement made by both Orlando City and Inter Miami to open the tournament.

Free Kicks
  • Charlotte’s team name and logo will be revealed later this month on July 22. I don’t even have a guess on what name the club will go with, but it’ll be interesting to see if they take a page out of the North Carolina Courage’s playbook and use the state name rather than the city.
  • USL League One club Forward Madison will play in another stadium to avoid the regulations set by the county the team usually plays in.

That’s going to do it for today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a great Friday and fantastic rest of your weekend. I’ll be spending mine with a new puppy and getting some writing done.