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Lion Links: 9/21/20

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Pedro Gallese’s expectations, Dutch winger interested in Orlando City, Americans abroad, and more.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! I know that I’ve been typing that first sentence for my Lion Links for many years now, but it’s not every Monday that I actually feel merry. With Orlando City on a six-match unbeaten streak and coming off a 4-1 win, it’s hard to be anything but merry. I’ll admit it was also my wedding anniversary on Saturday, so it was a pretty great day. I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend as much as I did. Let’s get to the links!

El Pulpo is All In

The Lions don’t look back at making the MLS is Back final as a chance occurrence. Not only did they deserve to make that final, but Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese stated that the club is aiming for the MLS Cup as well.

“We are stronger now, we are correcting the mistakes that we have been making in the back,” Gallese said after the Lions defeated Chicago Fire FC 4-1 Saturday night. “We want to make it to the playoffs and be in the finals. This is our goal.”

That type of talk would have been considered hyperbole in past seasons, but I think this group might actually mean it. That’s not to say that it would be a disappointment if such a result was not to occur, but at least it’s a better possibility than in the past.

Dutch Winger Interested in Orlando City

It is just a rumor at this early stage and the verbiage may be weird due to the needed translation, but Dutch winger Silvester van der Water wants to come to Orlando City. Van der Water chose not to play for his club, Heracles, this weekend in the Eredivisie. If anyone is able to decipher this better than I can, please let me know, but the club was not pleased with his decision not to play. Last season, the 23-year-old attacker scored seven goals and had three assists in 23 league appearances.

U.S. Players Abroad

Just as Orlando City is getting better and garnering more notice, so are American footballers in some of the best leagues in the world. Tyler Adams made his season debut for RB Leipzig, playing all 90 minutes. Meanwhile, Sergino Dest might not have started for Ajax, but he did sub on amidst rumors he’s headed to either Bayern Munich or Barcelona. Other United States Men’s National Team players are also making the grade across Europe as John Brooks helped Wolfsburg towards a clean sheet and Weston McKennie started and played all 90 minutes with Juventus.

Rapinoe Inspires the Next Generation

Megan Rapinoe is nothing if not consistent. Alabama women’s soccer player Taylor Morgan knelt during the national anthem and unfortunately received “hateful fan comments.” While unsurprising, it’s good that someone like Rapinoe decided to support Morgan and back her up. Like many other athletes, Morgan explained that her decision has nothing to do with the flag or the troops.

“My choice to kneel before today’s game was one of the easiest decisions that I’ve ever had to make. By kneeling, it was in no way meant as a disrespect to the flag nor the military; which both my father and brother are a part of. In fact, I did this for them. I did this for the millions of African Americans like them that are being oppressed.”

Union Win to Reclaim Second Place

There was only one match Sunday, but it did affect the rankings of the Eastern Conference heading into the new week. Like Orlando City, the Philadelphia Union won their match 4-1 over the Montreal Impact (who went down a man in the 16th minute) to leapfrog the Lions back into second place in the Eastern Conference. Orlando sits in third place now, edging out Toronto FC in goal differential.

Free Kicks
  • USMNT midfielder Lynden Gooch scored a nice goal in a fairly solo effort for Sunderland.
  • Florida State University got its second win of the season with a 1-0 win over Louisville. Despite the scoreline, it was a dominant performance from the Seminoles.

That’s going to do it for me, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a wonderful start to your week.