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Lion Links: 11/18/21

Sydney Leroux named Best XI Second Team, Orlando chasing silverware, jumping on the Lions’ bandwagon, and more

NJ/NY Gotham City FC v Orlando Pride Photo by Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The MLS Cup playoffs and the NWSL final are just two days away and we are five days from Orlando City’s second playoff run. These are exciting times and we’ve got plenty of news to share this Thursday morning.

Orlando City Chasing More in Second Playoff Run

Tuesday will mark Orlando City’s second season in the MLS Cup playoffs. According to a feature in The Orlando Sentinel, Luiz Muzzi and Oscar Pareja aren’t just happy with being here.

“We try to make the playoffs something that, moving forward, it’s expected,” Muzzi said. “It’s not something that we’re going to be saying, ‘Hey playoffs!’”

“But it [should be] like, ‘We made the playoffs again. Now let’s go after what’s [coming] after making the playoffs,’ and we want to bring titles and trophies here to Orlando.”

Pareja also noted that the team won’t try to change its mentality of tactics heading into the postseason.

“We’re going to be ourselves. We know who we are. We’re going to be protagonists. We have to go look for those three points”

Sydney Leroux Named to NWSL Second Team Best XI

The NWSL unveiled its first- and second-team Best XIs, with Orlando Pride forward Sydney Leroux named to the second team, the lone Orlando representative. Leroux scored eight goals and registered two assists in over 2,000 minutes, playing and starting in 23 of Orlando’s 24 matches.

OL Reign led the league with six representatives — four on the first team — led by MVP Jess Fishlock, followed by Portland with five. Rookie of the Year Trinity Rodman of the Washington Spirit also made first-team Best XI.

MLS Postseason Bandwagon Guide power ranking aggregator Sam Jones released reasons to hop on every playoff team’s bandwagon for reasons less than soccer related. The section for Orlando goes as follows:

The Lions are here to appeal to those among us who have the ability to make something of themselves if they apply themselves but haven’t really worried about applying themselves just yet. They’ll show up when it matters. And now it matters. Live vicariously through them unmotivated brilliant people.

Extratime Best XI(s)

We haven’t quite yet reached awards season in MLS, but the good folks over at ExtraTime radio released five(!) end-of-year Best XIs for the regular season. Despite 55 roster spots, only a single Orlando City player was nominated, with center back Antonio Carlos squeaking into the fifth team.

All the usual suspects received recognition higher up the lists, with MVP finalists Hany Mukhtar, Carles Gil, Taty Castellanos, and Joao Paolo making the first team. Some of the surprise names sprinkled throughout the XIs were New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Carlos Coronel on the fourth team and Red Bull center back Sean Nealis on the third team, and Nashville’s Anibal Godoy making it onto the first team.

Free Kicks

That’s all for me this morning. Have a great rest of your Thursday!