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Lion Links: 8/9/20

MLS really is back, Lions confident in the program, Camila reportedly goes out on loan to Brazil, and more.

SOCCER: OCT 12 NWSL - Reign FC at Orlando Pride Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Sunday, everyone. Yesterday I mowed the lawn and then I was hungry so I made hot dogs. Hey, all my intros can’t be super exciting. This should just make you appreciate the good ones that much more.

We’re now just two days away from Orlando City playing in an actual final — something we haven’t seen since our USL days supporting the club. While we wait, let’s get to the news of the day.

MLS Really is Back; Lions Will Resume Regular Season at Miami

We’d heard the rumblings but yesterday Major League Soccer made the league’s return to regular-season play official. MLS teams will play 18 more games in the 2020 regular season, starting with a “first phase” of six matches. Orlando City’s will feature three home-and-home sets and the opponents will be fellow southeastern sides Inter Miami CF, Atlanta United, and Nashville SC. In true “we can’t have nice things” fashion, MLS will reward Orlando City’s deep run in the MLS is Back Tournament by giving the Lions three road matches out of the first four after the restart.

The dude in charge of the league unsurprisingly said that the MLS restart plan is a good one. Fan attendance will not be a common thing to start, as many parts of the country still prohibit mass gatherings. Orlando City is among the clubs exploring the idea of allowing limited attendance. That will apparently affect pregame.

Orlando City Players Trust in Pareja’s Preparation

We’ve all seen the difference in Orlando City’s play this season and it has been a hot topic among national soccer writers. The players and Head Coach Oscar Pareja generally just point out that they feel confident in their plan and their preparation in 2020.

“There isn’t any secret,” Pareja said. “The players have understood the idea, and the energy and the confidence that they have with that idea is tremendous. It makes our job easier. We have worked hard indeed; it has so far been difficult times for us. But the players just put all the excuses away and then just kept going and going. ... They’re playing with confidence and they accept each other and they understand that this is a day-by-day growing path.”

A confident bunch of purple Lions is truly a joy to watch.

Orlando Pride’s Camila Reportedly Going on Loan with Palmeiras

Camila is the latest Orlando Pride player linked with a loan spell overseas as she’ll reportedly go finish out the current season with Palmeiras (linked story is in Portuguese) in her native Brazil. Camila was one of the players who had her contract option exercised last November, following the 2019 season. While not yet confirmed by the club — similar to the reported loans of Claire Emslie and Phoebe McClernon — it makes one wonder if the club believes there will be no more NWSL in 2020. Ali Riley is also officially on loan in Sweden. Ali Krieger was also recently announced as a new member of Orlando City’s broadcast team. Even though the club said she would be unavailable for broadcasts that conflict with her Pride responsibilities, it just doesn’t seem like the Pride are banking on a restart for the NWSL.

Champions League Results

The UEFA Champions League has returned to action this week and the quarterfinals are set. While there aren’t a ton of surprises, there are some notable big names missing, such as Real Madrid and Juventus. The Round of 16 finished up yesterday with Bayern Munich knocking out Chelsea and Barcelona ousting Napoli. Here’s how the quarterfinal match-ups look:

Free Kicks
  • Miguel Gallardo gives a little analysis on Nani’s brace and I’m here for it.
  • Those born on this date include Jaws star Robert Shaw (1927), basketball legend Bob Cousy (1928), boxing’s Ken Norton (1943), actor Sam Elliott (1944), Miami Dolphins legend Jim Kiick (1946), American science fiction writer John Varley (1947), actress Melanie Griffith (1957), Whitney Houston (1963), hockey’s Brett Hull (1964), Deion Sanders (1967), X-Files star Gillian Anderson (1968), basketball’s Chamique Holdsclaw (1977), Anna Kendrick (1985), and Willian (1988),

That’s all my time for today. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend and get ready for Tuesday night.