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Lion Links: 9/29/20

Orlando seeks top spot, Pereyra is recognized, a new OCSC owner, and more.

Orlando City SC v FC Dallas Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It was a rough start for Orlando soccer over the weekend, as the Orlando Pride and Orlando City B both lost. To brighten things, however, Orlando City managed to continue its unbeaten run after earning a tough draw on the road in Dallas. There’s lots to talk about today so let’s get to it.

Orlando After Top Spot

Orlando City is on an eight-match unbeaten run, and appears to be headed for a first-ever trip to the playoffs. But while the Lions are comfortably in fourth place, the team has its eyes on loftier goals than just making the playoffs. Specifically, Orlando wants to finish top of the Eastern Conference. Junior Urso spoke about the team needing to be ready if the teams above OCSC dropped points, and said that he and his teammates don’t just want to make the playoffs, they want to play at home once they get there.

Addition to OCSC Ownership Group

Orlando City apparently has a new minority owner. Jed Kaplan, who also holds minority stakes in Swansea City and the Memphis Grizzlies, tweeted out last night that he has become a part owner of OCSC. There has been no official announcement yet from the club but any additional capital invested in the club can only be a good thing.

Mauricio Pereyra Recognized

Mauricio Pereyra has been honored for his efforts over the weekend by being named to the substitutes bench of the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Week. It was a just inclusion too. Pereyra had 60 touches in the game, passed the ball at an 86% rate, and had five key passes, with Sean Rollins rating him a 6.5/10 in our Player Grades piece, which was one of the higher scores he gave out from the match. While he was brought off in favor of Andres Perea in the 73rd minute, the substitution was largely due to the need to go more defensive after going down to 10 men. Had the Lions remained at full strength, he likely would have stayed on the field and continued the excellent game he was having.

USMNT Roundup

There were plenty of USMNT players in action over the weekend. Josh Sargent nabbed his first assist of the season for Werder Bremen while Cristian Roldan, Jordan Morris and Sebastian Lletget all scored in the Seattle Sounders’ 3-1 victory over the LA Galaxy, with Roldan notching a brace. Other highlights included an Aaron Johansson brace in Hammarby’s win over Falkenberg, a Jozy Altidore goal which started a comeback against the Columbus Crew, and Zack Steffen’s Manchester City debut in a Carabao Cup victory.

Torres Returns to Sounders

Roman Torres is heading back to the Seattle Sounders. Inter Miami CF has traded Torres back to his old team in exchange for a conditional first round pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft. The MLS veteran made his last start for Miami all the way back in the MLS is Back Tournament, as Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Andres Reyes cemented themselves as the first choice center back pairing for the expansion club. Torres rejoins a Seattle team where he made 83 appearances in all competitions and won two MLS Cups while anchoring the back line.

Gold Cup Groups Announced

The groups for the 2021 Gold Cup have been announced after the draw took place last night. The USMNT finds itself in Group B alongside Canada, Martinique, and whoever wins a preliminary qualifier. The match-up against Canada in particular will hold some intrigue after the U.S. lost to its northern neighbors last year during the Concacaf Nations League before exacting revenge in the rematch. The Gold Cup will kick off on July 10, 2021, with venues and precise scheduling still to be announced.

Free Kicks
  • The Pride’s Ali Riley had Sam Mewis on her excellently named podcast.

That’ll be all for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.