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Lion Links: 10/21/21

Orlando City draws with Montreal, midweek MLS, UEFA Champions League, and more.

MLS: CF Montreal at Orlando City SC Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, soccer friends. The MLS season is racing towards its conclusion and yesterday was a big slate of games as the playoff race heats up. We’ve also got some interesting news from across the pond to discuss as well, so let’s dive into a full slate of links.

Orlando City Draw 1-1 With Montreal

Orlando City hosted playoff hopefuls CF Montreal at Exploria Stadium last night in a key match-up in the playoff race. The Lions rolled out a strong starting 11, but ended up drawing 1-1 with the Canadians.

Orlando was on the front foot much of the first half, controlling possession and creating several chances. Orlando found its breakthrough when Chris Mueller put away a cross from Ruan in 45th minute, giving the Lions the lead into the break. It was also Mueller’s first goal in over two months.

Montreal came out on the front foot after the break and found an equalizer six minutes in courtesy of Rudy Camacho off of a corner kick. Montreal played a tight block defensively, limiting Orlando’s opportunities, though the Lions had a few chances down the stretch. In the closing stages of the game, striker Alexandre Pato made his long-awaited return from injury, but Orlando was unable to find a winner. A point against a playoff team isn’t bad, but not what anyone would’ve wanted.

We’ll have your five takeaways and player grades later today.

Midweek MLS Results

The rest of the league was busy last night as well, with 11 other games from around the league, most with major playoff implications. Perhaps the biggest was in Atlanta, where New York City FC’s 90th-minute goal stole a crucial point against Atlanta United. Playoff hopefuls the Columbus Crew kept themselves in striking distance with a 1-1 draw against Nashville SC. D.C. United fell 3-2 to the New England Revolution, but still cling onto the final playoff spot in the East. The Union also fell 3-2 in an inter-conference clash with Minnesota. Chicago beat Cincinnati and Miami beat Toronto in games that don’t matter outside of the Wooden Spoon race.

Out west, the Galaxy crushed the Dynamo 3-0, Los Angeles FC came from behind to beat FC Dallas 3-2, Colorado drew 1-1 with Seattle, Vancouver came from two goals down to win 3-2 against Portland, and San Jose won 4-0 over Austin.

UEFA Champions League Results

Across the Atlantic, there were plenty of big results yesterday in Europe’s top club competition. Manchester United escaped with a 3-2 win over Atalanta thanks to a late Cristiano Ronaldo winner, giants Bayern Munich and Chelsea throttled lesser competition, and several young Americans made an impact.

Sergino Dest and Barcelona got their first win in the competition this year, beating Dynamo Kyiv 1-0, Weston McKennie played 90 minutes for Juventus in a 1-0 victory over Zenit St. Petersburg and Brendan Aaronson’s Red Bull Salzburg easily handled John Brooks and Wolfsburg 3-1.

MLSPA Salary Updates

The Major League Soccer Players Association released an updated list of player salaries to cover all players under contract as of Sept. 30, now including all the spring and summer signings from around the league.

Orlando City remains relatively unchanged after quiet in-season transfer activity, with Emmanuel Mas on a similar number to Pato, which is to say not very much. Some other teams around the league rose considerably, such as the LA Galaxy, who are now the league’s highest spenders after several in-season signings, including Designated Player Kevin Cabral. Atlanta United also rose due to Luiz Araujo, who is among the 10 highest paid players league wide.

Free Kicks
  • Former Lion Tyler Turner signed a deal with indoor soccer team the Milwaukee Wave.
  • FIFA president Gianni Infantino spoke about the proposed biennial World Cup, including the potential of not allowing teams to participate in back to back tournaments.
  • Don’t forget, the USWNT takes on Korea Republic tonight at 8 p.m. in Kansas City. The match can be seen on ESPN2 and TUDN and the Pride’s Alex Morgan is in the squad. Here’s a preview.

That’s all from me this morning. Thank you for reading. Enjoy your Thursday.