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Lion Links: 11/8/21

Orlando City clinches playoff spot after win, MLS Decision Day results, NWSL semifinals set, and more.

SOCCER: NOV 07 MLS - Orlando City SC at CF Montreal Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? It may be Monday, but it’s hard not to be in a good mood after Orlando City’s win. I hope you had a nice weekend and enjoyed the cooler weather that rolled in. I was able to finally get some use out of the sweaters and jackets in my closet. But for now, let’s dive right into today’s links from around the soccer world.

Orlando City Makes the Playoffs

The Lions went on the road on Decision Day and won 2-0 against CF Montreal to secure a spot in the playoffs. Midfielder Sebas Mendez scored his first goal for the club in emphatic fashion, curling a shot from distance into the net to give Orlando a lead in the second half. A strong defensive performance and an insurance goal from Daryl Dike late in the match ended Montreal’s playoff hopes as the Lions claimed sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Orlando will go on the road to take on Nashville SC in the first round of the playoffs. While Nashville is undefeated at home this season, the Lions have done well in Nissan Stadium this year with a pair of draws.

Michael Citro has your match recap. Check back later today for Topher Adams’ player grades and Man of the Match, as well as Adrian Barragan’s five takeaways from the match.

Decision Day Determines the MLS Playoffs

Mendez’s goal was one of many thrilling moments from a busy Decision Day as the MLS regular season came to an end. There was a brief moment during the day when the stars aligned for Orlando to host a playoff game, but New York City FC and Atlanta United both managed comebacks to stay ahead of the Lions in the standings and the two will face off against each other at Yankee Stadium in the first round. D.C. United and the Columbus Crew both won, but the New York Red Bulls managed a 1-1 draw in Nashville to claim the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Colorado Rapids claimed the top seed in the Western Conference and a spot in the Concacaf Champions League after a dominant 5-2 win against a desperate LAFC side. Although the Seattle Sounders settled for a 1-1 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps, they will also play in next year’s Concacaf Champions League. The most thrilling match out west on Decision Day was the 3-3 draw between Minnesota United and the LA Galaxy. The Loons scored twice in the first half for an early lead, but Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez had a brace in the second half to bring the Galaxy level. The late stage of that match was made much more hectic thanks to Real Salt Lake’s Damir Kreilach scoring a game-winner against Sporting Kansas City deep in stoppage time. With RSL’s win, the Galaxy were eliminated and will watch the playoffs from home alongside LAFC.

NWSL Semifinals Set as Carli Lloyd Bids Farewell

The Chicago Red Stars hosted NJ/NY Gotham FC and won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Mallory Pugh to advance to the semifinals. Gotham’s loss ends United States Women’s National Team legend Carli Lloyd’s career as she enters retirement. In the other quarterfinal match, the Washington Spirit beat the North Carolina Courage 1-0 after Ashley Hatch scored in extra time. The semifinals will take place this Sunday as the Red Stars will face the Portland Thorns and the Spirit will face OL Reign.

European Soccer Weekend Roundup

It was a dramatic weekend in La Liga as FC Barcelona blew a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Celta Vigo while Valencia forward Hugo Duro scored twice in stoppage for a 3-3 draw with Atletico Madrid. Real Sociedad, Sevilla, and Real Madrid all won to stay near the top of the table.

In the English Premier League, Manchester United fell 2-0 to Manchester City, West Ham United snapped Liverpool’s unbeaten streak with a 3-2 win, and Norwich City picked up its first win of the season by beating Brentford 2-1. In France, Neymar had a brace while Kylian Mbappe had two assists and a goal of his own for Paris Saint-Germain. American manager Jesse Marsch led RB Leipzig to an important 2-1 win against Borussia Dortmund. AC Milan and Inter Milan battled to a 1-1 draw in Serie A.

Free Kicks
  • Enjoy this look at the Lions in the locker room following their big win in Montreal.

That’s going to be it for today. I hope you all have a wonderful Monday and rest of your week. Go Orlando!