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Lion Links: 11/29/21

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MLS playoff action continues, USWNT prepares for last game of the year, Erling Haaland returns, and more.

Australia v USA - International Friendly: Game 1

How’s it going, Mane Landers? It’s the last Monday of November as December is just around the corner. It feels like I doubled my weight after this holiday weekend filled with food and lazing around watching sports. I’m out of leftovers, so a grocery trip is definitely the first thing on my to-do list. But enough about my errands, let’s dive into today’s links!

Philadelphia Union and Real Salt Lake Advance

The Philadelphia Union booked their ticket to the Eastern Conference final after beating Nashville SC in a penalty shootout. The game itself finished even at 1-1 as Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar scored in the 38th minute before Daniel Gazdag equalized right before halftime. In the shootout, Union goalkeeper Andre Blake denied Mukhtar and Aníbal Godoy as Nashville failed to convert any of its attempts. After this solid performance, the Union will take on the winner of tomorrow’s match between the New England Revolution and New York City FC.

Real Salt Lake went on the road and won 2-1 against Sporting Kansas City to advance to the Western Conference final. Johnny Russell gave Kansas City a lead after converting a penalty in the 24th minute, but RSL fought back in the second half. Anderson Julio scored an equalizer in the 72nd minute and then former Lion Justin Meram found Bobby Wood in stoppage time for the game winner. RSL will now head to Providence Park to take on the Portland Timbers.

USWNT Prepares for 2021 Finale in Australia

The United States Women’s National Team will play its final game of 2021 in Newcastle against Australia. The game is set for 4:05 a.m. tomorrow morning, meaning you will either need to stay up very late tonight or wake up very early in order to catch some of the game. The USWNT did well in a 3-0 victory against Australia on Friday night, with Ashley Hatch, Rose Lavelle, and Lindsey Horan all finding the back of the net. Pride midfielder Emily van Egmond and the rest of Australia’s offense will aim for a better performance in front of their home fans after being shut out. It will be interesting to see how much rotation will be done for the USWNT roster, but it seems USWNT Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski will still be without two of his phenoms.

Orange County SC Wins USL Championship Title

In front of a sellout crowd at Al Lang Stadium in Tampa, Orange County SC won 3-1 against the Tampa Bay Rowdies to claim its first USL Championship title. Haitian forward Ronaldo Damus stole the show by scoring a brace in the first half for Orange County. Former Lion Dillon Powers also started for Orange County and played all 90 minutes, helping defensively in the midfield with three tackles, three clearances, and two interceptions. For the Rowdies, it was a disappointing ending to an otherwise stellar season as they missed a penalty and couldn’t complete their comeback in the second half.

In other USL news, there could be a major change to future seasons.

If that comes to pass, it would give MLS fans additional soccer to watch during the off-season. Orlando City loaned three players to the USL Championship this past season to help them develop. If the USL changes to a winter season, it could result in more young MLS players going on loan for minutes during the off-season. USL President Jake Edwards also spoke to ESPN about how the league and its players are gaining European interest as the USL grows.

Europe’s Biggest Clubs Earn Results This Weekend

After missing over five weeks due to injury, Erling Haaland scored just seven minutes into his return for Borussia Dortmund. The Norwegian forward’s goal put a bow on Dortmund’s 3-1 comeback win over Wolfsburg and he can help his club overtake Bayern Munich for the top spot in the Bundesliga when they meet this Saturday.

In the English Premier League, Cristiano Ronaldo was an unused substitute as Manchester United drew 1-1 with Chelsea. The result helped Manchester City and Liverpool close the gap at the top of the table after they both won this weekend. Leicester City and Brentford also picked up important wins while Newcastle United remained at the bottom of the table after a 2-0 loss to Arsenal.

Sergio Ramos made his debut and Lionel Messi bagged three assists in Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-1 win over Saint-Etienne, but Neymar had to leave the game on a stretcher after an ankle injury. La Liga’s biggest clubs had nice weekends as Atletico Madrid, FC Barcelona, and Real Madrid all won. In Italy, Napoli returned to its winning form with a 4-0 victory against Lazio on the first anniversary of Diego Maradona’s death.

Free Kicks
  • Pride midfielder Marta came on as a substitute in Brazil’s 4-1 win against Venezuela. Debinha had a goal and two assists to help Brazil overcome an early goal from Venezuela in the third minute.
  • Carli Lloyd spoke about how she’s adjusting to retirement after a playing career that demanded plenty of training and focus. The 39-year-old also stated that she wants to stay involved in the game when choosing the next step of her career.
  • Tests done on Weston McKennie determined that there were no capsule ligament injuries to his knee, although Juventus will keep a close eye on his condition.
  • If this leak for the United States Men’s National Team’s home jersey next year is true, it would be fairly lackluster in my opinion.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a great Monday and rest of your week!