Happy Sunday, everyone. With Jenn leaving our staff this week, we’re shifting some things around and the weekend Lion Links will be going away as a regular feature for the time being. Should our staff resources increase sufficiently, we’ll bring them back later. If someone has the extra time on their hands and wants to write one, they can, but we’re not going to promise anything at the moment.
The U.S. women stayed perfect at Exploria Stadium with their two wins over Colombia last week, and now we’re a week away from the men trying to do the same. The USMNT is 3-0-0 at Exploria with wins over Panama, Ecuador, and Canada. The Yanks will face Trinidad & Tobago at the purple palace a week from today.
For now, however, let’s get to the news of the day.
Dike Reunited with College Teammate at USMNT Camp
Orlando City’s Daryl Dike was reunited with former Virginia Cavaliers teammate Henry Kessler this winter at the United States Men’s National Team camp with the U-23 team and Danielle Stein wrote about it. Both were drafted in 2020 from the University of Virginia prior to the 2020 season and the two met in the MLS Cup playoffs at the end of the season, bookending outstanding rookie seasons for both players. Right now the focus for both is on working hard at the national team camp.
“As a younger kid you wish to play for the National Team,” said Dike. You wanna wear your crest, you wanna represent the country and personally it’s such an honor to know the quality and I know how many good players there are in this country that could be called up and to be selected to even have the opportunity to come here and train. That’s something I’m truly thankful for. Now I wanna make sure I keep doing things and keep improving and I think for me personally there’s so much more I wanna achieve and so many things I wanna do.”
“It is something I’ve dreamed about. The first day of training putting on the top and everything was really cool to be wearing the crest and all that. It was sort of surreal. Hopefully I’ll be able to play in some games and wear the uniform and what not but something that I dreamed about for a long time and hopefully these dreams keep coming true,” said Kessler.
Canada-USMNT Scrimmages Canceled Due to COVID-19
Four inconclusive tests among Canadian players and staff members forced the cancelation of two 70-minute scrimmages between Canada and the United States. Both teams are in separate bubbles but the positive tests among the Canadians forced the cancellation out of an abundance of caution. Canada Head Coach John Herdman is using the camp to evaluate his players for the coming year, especially his younger players.
“It’s unfortunate the timing,” Herdman said of the cancelled U.S. scrimmage. “But at the end of the day we got out of today what we hoped, which was another opportunity to assess all the players and get a sense of how our young players are tracking for the men’s national team or the Olympic squad. And there were some real good learnings today.”
Americans Fill the Nets in Germany
It was another good day for the Yanks abroad on Saturday. Tyler Adams got his first Bundesliga goal for RB Leipzig (he had previously scored in a Champions League game), scoring off a rebound off the bar. Leipzig still lost to Mainz, 3-2.
American Tyler Adams scores his first Bundesliga goal pic.twitter.com/ceqTCNn7CL— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 23, 2021
Not to be outdone, Josh Sargent scored a screamer for Werder Bremen in his team’s 4-1 over Hertha BSC.
Dest’s Form Has Him Lacking in Confidence
Elsewhere in Europe, USMNT fullback Sergino Dest says his performances for Barcelona recently have sapped his confidence. A thigh injury hasn’t helped matters as the youngster looks to get back into the side and regain his form.
“For me, it’s important to get that confidence back because I feel a little bit unconfident right now,” Dest told La Liga World.
“That’s the most important thing for me right now: get the confidence back and play like I used to play and then I think I have a lot of potential.”
Here’s hoping Dest can get healthy and in form quickly.
- Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger posted about how she felt to get back out on the pitch with the USWNT and dominate on Friday night.
- The ECNL season is underway. Orlando City’s boys’ U-18/19 team is off to a 1-1-0 start. The U-17s are 0-2-0 and have yet to score a goal. The U-16 team is 1-1-0 and the U-15 team stands at 0-2-0 and, like the U-17s, has yet to score.
- Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said the EPL needs fewer teams to improve competitive balance, but perhaps having all teams on an even economic playing field would produce the same effect?
- Atlanta United is reportedly set to sign 19-year-old Argentine midfielder Franco Ibarra.
- Those born on this date include Neil Diamond (1941), Aaron Neville (1941), Warren Zevon (1947), John Belushi (1949), original Squeeze member Jools Holland (1958), Dream Theater bassist John Myung (1967), gymnastics legend Mary Lou Retton (1968), Matthew Lillard (1970), Ed Helms (1974), Kristen Schaal (1978), and Atletico Madrid/Uruguay forward Luis Suarez (1987).
That’s all my time for this Sunday. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.