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Lion Links: 1/26/21

MLS announces opening weekend dates, Pride players called up for Canada, MLS teams’ personnel moves, and more.

Colombia v United States Photo by Roy K. Miller/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone! We’re under a week away from being able to catch the USMNT at Exploria Stadium, and we now know exactly how long we have to wait before the new MLS season starts. Clearly there’s a lot to talk about today, so let’s have at it.

MLS Schedule Format, Opening Weekend Announced

Major League Soccer has announced the outline of its schedule for the 2021 season, with details being dropped yesterday afternoon. The regular season will kick off the weekend of April 3-4, with teams allowed to open preseason training on Feb. 22. Teams will then be able to run a six-week preseason before opening weekend, which is roughly in line with the norm. Decision Day is set for Nov. 7, with the playoffs starting a little under two weeks later on Nov. 19. The season will conclude on Dec. 11 with the MLS Cup final, a timetable which is again roughly in line with the norm. The complete regular season schedule is still yet to be announced, but we at least have a start date!

Pride Duo Called Up to Canada

A pair of Orlando Pride players have been called up to the Canadian Women’s National Team ahead of the SheBelieves Cup. Erin McLeod and Jordyn Listro have both been called up to the preliminary roster for a two-week preparation camp before the final 23-player roster is announced closer to the start of the tournament. For McLeod the call-up is far from being something new. The goalkeeper has made 118 appearances for her country across 19 years, and has represented Canada at four World Cups and two Olympic tournaments. Listro, on the other hand, is at the opposite end of the spectrum. While she has represented Canada at the youth level, she has yet to make an appearance for the senior side, so it would be very cool if she makes the final roster for the tournament. Either way, congratulations to both players!

MLS Personnel Moves

A few MLS teams recently made some notable moves both on the field and in the front office. First, Atlanta United signed forward Lisandro Lopez from Racing Club on a free transfer. Lopez is a former Argentina international, and has played for the likes of Porto and Lyon over the course of a long career. He will add a veteran presence to Atlanta’s attacking group.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Sounders announced yesterday that the club has signed Brian Schmetzer to a multi-year contract extension. The move is a smart one, especially considering Schmetzer has guided the Sounders to the MLS Cup final in four out of the last five years, winning the competition twice.

Elsewhere, Chicago Fire president Nelson Rodriguez has decided to step down from his position. Rodriguez had been with the club since 2015, originally as the general manager.

Chelsea Sacks Lampard

Chelsea FC has announced the firing of Frank Lampard. With the club sitting in ninth place and mired in a poor run of form and league results, the decision was made to move on from the club legend. Lampard had been in the job since last season, and the club made the FA Cup final but lost to Arsenal. While nothing has been officially confirmed, there are plenty of rumors that Thomas Tuchel will be taking the reins at Stamford Bridge. If true, it would reunite him with Christian Pulisic, which could potentially be beneficial for the young American. He was coached by Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund, and he was the coach who handed Pulisic his debut with the team.

Free Kicks
  • Check out some of the scenes at USMNT training.
  • DeAndre Yedlin seems to be having issues with his work visa in the UK.

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