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Lion Links: 8/5/21

Orlando City draws with Inter Miami, MLS All-Stars announced, midweek MLS, and more.

MLS: Inter Miami CF at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, folks! Yesterday was a big one in the American soccer-verse with a bevy of news and action from Major League Soccer. We had a full slate of games, including here in Orlando, plus big announcements, so let’s dive right in.

Sloppy Orlando City Draws 1-1 with Inter Miami

Orlando City and its rivals from south Florida, Inter Miami, played to a disappointing 1-1 draw. Miami came out hot to start the game, but Orlando eventually settled in and dominated. The Lions held the majority of possession, created most of the chances, and were clean defensively in the first half. Orlando found a breakthrough at the end of the half off a corner, when Mauricio Pereyra played it short to Nani who fired a perfect cross to Antonio Carlos to nod home. Unfortunately, the Brazilian took a hit to the head on the header and wasn’t able to play the second half, being replaced by Rodrigo Schlegel after the break.

The second half wasn’t particularly inspired from Orlando, and Miami found an equalizer in the 66th minute from a Kieran Gibbs header. The Lions nearly took back the lead in the 82nd minute when a shot from Kyle Smith hit the goalkeeper and Tesho Akindele tapped home the rebound, but after video review, the referee ruled that Tesho was offside. Nothing much happened in the following stoppage time, and the Lions walked away with a disappointing draw on a night where they could’ve made up ground on the conference-leading New England Revolution.

We’ll have our five takeaways from the match and our player grades for you later today.

Nani, Gallese Named MLS All-Stars

We now know the roster that will face the Liga MX All-Stars in Los Angeles on Aug. 25. The 2021 MLS All-Star Team was revealed yesterday, and it featured two Lions — Nani and Pedro Gallese. Both were voted in by the combined fan, media, and player vote. The roster featured 13 players voted in, 12 coach picks directly from Bob Bradley, and two “commissioner picks” from Don Garber.

The Seattle Sounders dominated the voting, with a league-high six players all voted onto the roster. The coach’s picks were dominated by LAFC regulars, including Diego Rossi and Eduard Atuesta, but also deserving stars Matt Turner and Dániel Sallói. Andrew Weibe of MLSSoccer.com broke down the roster and named a handful of snubs, including Orlando’s Antonio Carlos. In general, this roster is a mostly deserving selection that should put on a fun display later this month.

Wilf Family Given Introduction as New Owners

The new owners of Orlando City Soccer Club, the Wilf family, had a grand introduction yesterday, giving a big press conference with several guests, including NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird and MLS Commissioner Don Garber. Nothing new or particularly interesting was said, just typical talk from new owners — building a winning organization, being good members of the community, etc. — but Mark Wilf noted that they are committed to giving the proper investments to help the club win, including in the transfer market and the academy. Wilf also reiterated the family’s commitment to investing in the Orlando Pride and building both teams into elite franchises.

The full video is embedded below if you want to see the entire event. Most of this is preamble filler, so if you want to get to Mark Wilf’s speech, skip to 27:43.

Midweek MLS Results

Orlando was not alone on Wednesday Night Football, with 12 games around MLS last night. In the East, Atlanta came from 2-0 down to draw Montreal, D.C. United crushed Columbus 4-2 in Ohio, the Union crushed Toronto 3-0 at home, and New England and both New York teams played to 0-0 draws, with the Revs drawing with Nashville, the Red Bulls drawing with Cincinnati, and New York City FC drawing with the Fire.

Out west, Austin won 3-2 over Houston in a Copa Tejas match-up, Seattle drew with Dallas 1-1, the Galaxy beat Real Salt Lake 1-0, Sporting Kansas City took down LAFC 4-1, and the San Jose Earthquakes drew with the Portland Timbers 1-1 in Portland.

Free Kicks
  • For what feels like the first time, the Pride’s Ashlyn Harris did NOT win Save of the Week, with the honor instead going to Portland’s Bella Bixby.
  • Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse was traded to the San Jose Earthquakes for over $1 million in General Allocation Money.
  • Louis van Gaal was named manager of the Dutch Men’s National Team for the third time in his career.

That’s all for this Thursday morning. Thank you all for joining me. Have a fantastic rest of your day!