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Lion Links: 10/28/21

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Orlando City falls to Columbus, Wednesday night MLS, Orlando Pride coaching update, and more.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Good morning, friends. I hope you’re doing well. We’re firmly in the mad dash to the playoffs in Major League Soccer all while the NWSL season comes to a close and seemingly everything else is happening. It’s a busy time and we’ve got linkables to share with you this morning. But before we get to that, let’s wish Pride defender Courtney Petersen a happy birthday!

Orlando City Falls 3-2 to the Columbus Crew

Orlando City went on the road to face the reigning MLS Cup champions the Columbus Crew in a crucial midweek clash. Orlando is on the brink of clinching a playoff spot, and could’ve even clinched yesterday, but stumbled and lost to a struggling Crew team who are all but eliminated from the postseason.

It was a pretty even and slow start, but the home side opened the scoring when a poor Kyle Smith clearance lead to a Columbus goal off a recycled set piece. The Crew doubled their advantage off another set piece in the 31st minute. Less than a half in, the Lions found themselves in a big hole. After halftime, Orlando earned a penalty after a handball, and after Columbus goalkeeper Eloy Room was off his line early on the first attempt, Daryl Dike slammed home the spot kick. Unfortunately, Lucas Zelarayan, who had both assists in the first half, scored a scorcher from outside the box to give the Crew a 3-1 edge. Robin Jansson got one back in stoppage time for Orlando City, but it proved too little too late, and Orlando walked away with a 3-2 loss. Huge blow as the playoff race gets even tighter.

Orlando Pride Announce Bucky Burleigh Won’t Return Next Season

The Orlando Pride made it official yesterday, announcing Wednesday that interim head coach Bucky Burleigh wouldn’t be coming back for 2022.

“We are grateful to Coach Burleigh for stepping into this role and for guiding the Pride with the utmost professionalism,” said Orlando Pride Chairman Mark Wilf. “We appreciate Becky’s leadership over the past three months and we wish her the best in the future.”

So far, Burleigh has led the Pride to a 3-5-3 record, amassing only 12 points in her 11 games at the helm. It’d be hard to pin on the blame of a disappointing campaign on the interim manager, but at the same time, the club has lost four straight to crash out of the playoff race and there was little to suggest Burleigh was anything but a stop-gap. The club will embark on a coaching search, hoping to find someone who can bring consistent success to such a troubled franchise.

Nani boasts 11th-Highest-Selling MLS Jersey

MLSSoccer.com released a list of the 25 highest-selling jerseys Wednesday. Orlando City had one representative in the top 25, with club captain Nani just missing out on the top 10, finishing at 11.

The list was dominated by the usual suspects, with Josef Martinez at the top and both Carlos Vela and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez in the top five. The Seattle Soudners finished with a league-high four players in the top 25, all of whom finished in the top 10. The Galaxy and Austin FC finished joint second with three players each.

Wednesday Night MLS Results

Unfortunately, the rest of the Eastern Conference didn’t shake out favorably for Orlando City either. Nashville SC rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win 6-3 over FC Cincinnati. Atlanta United pulled out a 2-1 win over Inter Miami. D.C. United beat the Red Bulls 1-0, while New York City FC escaped with a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire. The Philadelphia Union trailed in the second half but escaped with a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC. New England also broke the single-season points record with a 1-0 win over Colorado.

In the west, RSL beat FC Dallas 2-1, Sporting Kansas City won 2-0 over the Los Angeles Galaxy, the Portland Timbers beat the San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 and the Vancouver Whitecaps won 2-1 over Minnesota United.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City’s U-23 squad beat the Columbus Crew U-23s 4-0 in an exhibition match before the MLS sides faced off.
  • MLS suspended and fined Sporting Kansas City’s Tim Melia for his body slam of Cristian Roldan on the weekend.
  • Carli Lloyd wrote a goodbye in The Players Tribune after her final USWNT appearance.
  • FC Barcelona fired manager Ronald Koeman after a 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano.
  • The five substitutes rule could be made permanent very soon.

That’s all from me today. Thanks for reading. Have a good Thursday.