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Lion Links: 11/1/21

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Orlando City draws with Nashville, U.S. players succeed abroad, the NWSL playoffs are set, and more.

MLS: Nashville SC at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Unmerry Monday morning, Mane Landers. I know I’m normally a cheery guy to start the week, but that was some Grade A horse hockey in yesterday’s match and I refuse to sugarcoat it. The Professional Referee Organization will provide its explanation, but it is hard for me not to don a second tin foil hat. Ugh. Let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Gets PRO’d

To be clear, there were plenty of chances for the Lions against Nashville SC that they didn’t finish in a 1-1 draw. Orlando City did well in the match, although it only put two of its 14 shots on target. That doesn’t excuse the call made by referee Allen Chapman to pull back Orlando City’s winning goal in stoppage time. Alexandre Pato put a near perfect free kick into the crossbar and Andres Perea finished it off to give the Lions the lead, only to have it taken away due to a foul by Daryl Dike after video review. Judge for yourself.

Orlando Head Coach Oscar Pareja and Nashville Head Coach Gary Smith had differing opinions on the call to say the least. It seems to many, including myself, that a striker like Daryl Dike is more likely to try scoring rather than trying to stop the defender from clearing it right at the line.

Check back today for Topher Adams’ player grades and Man of the Match, as well as Marcus Mitchell’s five takeaways.

NWSL Regular Season Comes to a Close

I know the Orlando Pride’s slide out of playoff contention might still feel a little fresh, but the rest of the National Women’s Soccer League season moves on. The Houston Dash’s playoff hopes came to an end after losing 1-0 to the Washington Spirit and the postseason schedule is set. The Portland Thorns and OL Reign have earned byes to avoid the first round of the postseason that begins this Sunday. NJ/NY Gotham FC will travel to take on the Chicago Red Stars and then the Washington Spirit will host the North Carolina Courage. The semifinals will take place on Nov. 14 and then the final is set for Nov. 20 in Louisville. You should still watch the playoff games as future Pride players may be on those other teams as Orlando makes plans for the off-season. After a five-game losing streak to end the season, the Pride finished eighth in the league.

U.S. Players Doing Well Abroad

A few Yanks got in on the scoring in Europe this weekend. Christian Cappis came off the bench to score the winner for Brøndby IF in the Danish Superliga. It was the 22-year-old midfielder’s second game-winning goal in his past three league matches.

Weston McKennie scored yet again in Juventus’ 2-1 loss to Verona as he is in a good run of form. RB Salzburg’s Brenden Aaronson had an assist in a 2-2 draw with Ried and Joe Scally delivered a great cross in Borussia Mönchengladbach’s 2-1 win over VfL Bochum 1848 for an assist.

It’s that type of play that gives Scally an argument for making the next USMNT camp. On the defensive side of things, Fulham’s Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson did well in a 2-0 win while John Brooks helped Wolfsburg hold onto a 2-0 victory. More Americans will be in action this week with the UEFA Champions League and Europa League returning this week.

Europe’s Biggest Clubs in Action This Past Weekend

Manchester United bounced back from its loss to Liverpool in emphatic fashion with a 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur. Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo worked well with one another on offense, both scoring in the match. Crystal Palace had a strong 2-0 win against Manchester City, with Wilfried Zaha scoring and making life difficult for the opposition. Arsenal, West Ham United, and Chelsea all had notable wins as well, while Liverpool and Brighton and Hove Albion battled to a 2-2 draw.

Atletico Madrid had a strong 3-0 win over Real Betis while FC Barcelona could only manage a 1-1 draw with Alaves despite a good match from Memphis Depay. In other games across Europe, Bayern Munich returned to its winning ways, Villarreal struggled in a 2-0 loss to Valencia, and Paris Saint-Germain won 2-1 against Lille despite Lionel Messi’s struggles.

Free Kicks
  • Kansas City announced the new club name and logo for its NWSL side. Say hello to the Kansas City Current. I have to say, it’s a solid name given their new stadium will be close to the Missouri River. It’s an original and relevant name, and I like it. Of course, I want the Orlando Pride to beat them next year, but still...well done.
  • Jordan Morris is expected to be available for the Seattle Sounders in tonight’s match against the LA Galaxy. Morris tore his ACL eight months ago, but can make an impact during the postseason.
  • Barcelona forward Sergio Aguero exited the team’s game for a cardiac exam after experiencing chest pain.
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic did exactly what he does when taunted by opposing fans. He scored a goal. Seriously? Even I know not to poke Zlatan.

Welcome to November. Hopefully, all the scary stuff is done now that Halloween is over, and we can look forward to some feasts instead. Vamos Orlando!