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Lion Links: 7/22/21

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Chris Mueller to leave for Europe, Wilf family officially takes over, midweek MLS, and more.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Orlando City SC Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning friends! This week — and month— have felt like a neverending sea of big news stories and games, and that was definitely the case Wednesday. We had two major announcements, plus a full MLS schedule and plenty of other things. Buckle up gang, let’s roll.

Mueller Headed To Europe After Season

Orlando City winger Chris Mueller has agreed to a pre-contract agreement with an unnamed European club. The move comes after several failed attempts by Orlando City to tie down Mueller to a new contract, allowing any European team to sign him on a free transfer. He will remain with Orlando City for the rest of the 2021 season, including playoffs, but is set to join his new club in the fall.

Mueller is among the best and most beloved players in Orlando City history. He’s played in more games and registered more assists than anyone else in the club’s MLS history and made himself a fan favorite. The Lions do have Silvester van der Water and Alexander Alvarado — plus two transfer windows — to replace Mueller for next season. Mueller will be missed when he crosses the Atlantic, and let’s hope he can end his Orlando City career on top.

Wilf Family Officially Takes Over Orlando City

You’d think this would be the top link, but the club decided to drop the Mueller bombshell last night. Alas, Orlando City is officially under new ownership. Originally reported back in May, the Wilf family has purchased Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, Exploria Stadium, the Orlando City Development Academy, and all team training facilities from former majority owner Flavio Augusto da Silva. Mark Wilf will take over as the club’s chairman and governor.

We knew the Wilfs would be taking over back in May, but what we learned yesterday is that the DeVos family, owners of the Orlando Magic, also purchased a minority stake in the club. Their stake is minor and they will have no voting power or role in the day-to-day operations of the club.

Orlando City Takes on Philadelphia Union Tonight

With all that out of the way, we’ve got soccer, folks! Orlando City will play host to the Philadelphia Union tonight at Exploria Stadium. We’ve got you covered with pregame coverage for tonight’s match with David Rohe’s three keys to victory tonight and Joe Lister from Brotherly Game answered some questions for our Intelligence Report. Stay tuned this afternoon for your match preview and live thread.

Orlando sits one point behind the Union with a game in hand, making tonight’s match an excellent opportunity to jump the reigning Supporters Shield champions in the standings. Orlando will also want to break its recent run of disappointing form, with two losses and a draw over the last three games.

Midweek MLS Results

Last night, pretty much the rest of MLS was involved in midweek action. It started in Ft. Lauderdale, where Inter Miami got annihilated 5-0 by the New England Revolution. Miami’s former stadium mates, CF Montreal, also had a disappointing night, falling 1-0 to New York City FC in New York. The Chicago Fire blew a two-goal advantage en route to a 2-2 draw at home against D.C. United, while FC Cincinnati blew a goal advantage but held onto a 1-1 draw against Atlanta United. Columbus and Nashville played to a 0-0 draw and the New York Red Bulls drew 1-1 at Toronto FC.

Out west, Sporting Kansas City avoided an upset at home with a late equalizer, finishing with a 1-1 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes. The Colorado Rapids cruised to a 2-0 win over a reeling FC Dallas side, Real Salt Lake drew 2-2 with the LA Galaxy, and the Portland Timbers won 2-1 at home against LAFC after a late winner from Felipe Mora.

Inter Milan Out of Florida Cup

If it wasn’t already, the Florida Cup is in full-on crisis mode. After Arsenal pulled out of the preseason tournament Tuesday, Italian champions Inter Milan followed suit, pulling out of the competition yesterday.

“FC Internazionale Milano announce that they will not be travelling to the USA for the Florida Cup due to the current risks involved in international travel as a result of the spread of the pandemic, risks that have already caused Arsenal F.C. to withdraw from participation”

Even without its two biggest clubs, the Florida Cup is still on, with Everton already in Orlando and Millonarios set to arrive today. Those two are set to play as previously scheduled on July 25, but what happens in the July 28 spot or the originally planned final is uncertain. Florida Cup contacted approved media members and stated that the tournament will announce “additional schedule changes in the coming days.”

Free Kicks
  • The Orlando Pride’s Ali Riley captained and went the full 90 for New Zealand in her country’s 2-1 Olympic-opening loss to Australia.
  • Ashlyn Harris continues racking up Save of The Week awards after another penalty save on the weekend.
  • The Netherlands opened their Olympic campaign with a ridiculous 10-3 win over Zambia.
  • There was an interesting sighting at a Miami Walgreens yesterday:

Thank you all for joining me this morning. Have a fantastic day, and let’s hope tonight is a good one for the Lions.