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Lion Links: 8/26/21

MLS defeats Liga MX in All-Star Game, more Daryl Dike rumors, FIFA lets Mexico off the hook a bit, and more.

MLS: MLS All-Star Game Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, friends! MLS’s midweek shenanigans from the West Coast have passed, the European transfer window is drawing to a close, and the Lions and Pride will be back in action this weekend. Let’s get right into today’s news:

MLS All-Stars Defeat Liga MX All-Stars in Penalties

A new format for the MLS All-Star Game debuted last night in Los Angeles with the first ever MLS vs. Liga MX All-Star Game. While the game lost some of its luster with the injury absences of key figures — most notably Chicharito and Carlos Vela — there was plenty of talent on display for both sides. Orlando City’s Pedro Gallese started in goal for the MLS side, marking his first appearance since an injury against New York City FC on July 25. The starting lineup also featured six Seattle Sounders.

The Liga MX All-Stars opened the scoring in the 20th minute courtesy of Cruz Azul’s Jonathan Rodriguez. The MLS All-Stars found their equalizer in the second half, when Jesus Murillo scored off a corner kick in front of his home fans. The game was surprisingly defensive and intense for an All-Star event, with both sides making enough defensive plays to hold the 1-1 scoreline through the original 90 minutes.

In the penalty shootout, both sides hit their first attempts, before Matt Turner made a big save to give MLS an advantage. After a pair of misses, Orlando City captain Nani went to the spot with a chance to ice the game and proceeded to badly miss. After Luis Romo converted to tie the score, 18-year-old FC Dallas Homegrown Player Ricardo Pepi smashed his penalty under the crossbar and in to secure a dramatic shootout victory for the MLS All-Stars.

Daryl Dike Subject to Interest from Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion

The never ending rumor mill linking Daryl Dike to a move abroad strikes again. Before going any further, I want to clarify that the source isn’t exactly respected and that nothing close to a tangible offer seems in the works. With all that in mind, the latest side in for Orlando’s brightest young talent is Leeds United.

Per TEAMtalk, the Yorkshire giants are exploring a potential loan for Dike before the end of the summer transfer window. On the very off chance this is a legit report, it would be an interesting move for Dike, placing in a high-intensity system and on a talented Premier League team with European ambitions. He’s also being linked to the recently relegated West Bromwich Albion, where his former manager at Barnsley, Valérien Ismaël, is currently the man in charge. Again, neither move has any tangible offer tied to it, so as it stands, Dike is an Orlando City player for the near future.

FIFA Reduces Mexican Punishment For Anti-Gay Chant to One Game

The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) has had its two-match ban for homophobic chants reduced to just one. After again hearing the chant at Concacaf Olympic qualifying in March, FIFA put a two-match ban on fans in attendance for Mexico’s upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign, by far the harshest penalty for the repeated infringement as of now, but following an appeal, that’s been changed to one.

The appeal was granted after FMF’s media campaign trying to educate fans and eradicate the chant over the last several months. It’s worth noting that the chant has been heard through this summer’s tournaments — most infamously against Canada at the Gold Cup — so the rationale for FIFA’s decision seems shoddy at best.

Pep Guardiola To Leave Manchester City after Contract Expires

Pep Guardiola, one of the most well-regarded coaches in global sports, is set for a new challenge once his Manchester City contract expires following the 2022-2023 season. The former FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has been in charge at the Ethiad since 2016 and has led the Sky Blues to three Premier League titles, but said he’s ready to step down from the rigors of the English top flight once his contract winds down. Guardiola also stated he wants to coach internationally after he leaves Manchester, a challenge he’s yet to take on in his coaching career.

Free Kicks
  • The USMNT will announce its roster for upcoming World Cup qualifiers tomorrow.

That’s all from me this morning. Thank you all for reading. Have a wonderful Thursday.