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Lion Links: 9/20/21

Orlando City suffers third straight loss, more Dike transfer rumors, FIFA visits the City Beautiful, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Philadelphia Union John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! No, things have not been going well during this three-match losing streak. It wasn’t what I wanted for my wedding anniversary, but what can you do? Yes, something needs to change. Just remember that all is not lost, and there is still time to make sure that Orlando City secures its spot in the playoffs. Let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Loses Third in a Row

The Lions went with a much different lineup due to various injuries and red cards, but the seemingly more defensive formation didn’t get the desired result on the road as the Union defeated the Lions 3-1. Three of Orlando City’s center backs got the start as Óscar Pareja put five players on the back line. We also saw the return of Kyle Smith on the left with Ruan on the right. Kacper Przybyłko should have been sent off for swinging an elbow into Rodrigo Schlegel’s face prior to the Union’s first goal, and the Polish forward went on to score twice in the second half. For the second straight week, the Lions had a player receive a red card, and Antonio Carlos won’t be available for the next match against New England.

Check back later today for your player grades and Man of the Match from Marcus Mitchell and Topher Adams has your five takeaways from the match.

Crystal Palace Wants Daryl Dike

Just when you thought Daryl Dike transfer rumors were dying down, Crystal Palace expressed interest in the Orlando City striker. Patrick Vieira was evidently impressed by Dike’s performance when on loan at Barnsley FC. There has been some mystery surrounding the price tag at which the Lions are willing to sell Dike. According to the report, that amount is over $24 million (£18 million) and is more than Crystal Palace is willing to shell out at this time. That isn’t to say that the Eagles aren’t still interested, and there may be some negotiating about a price and whether a sale could happen at the end of the MLS season or sooner.

Orlando Visited by World Cup Delegation

The FIFA World Cup delegation visited Orlando over the weekend to evaluate the facilities and the city as a possible host for the 2026 World Cup. The approximately two dozen delegates met with more than 100 area leaders, including Orlando City owner Mark Wilf. It was a fast-paced visit, but Orlando officials said it was very encouraging all the same. This will be the only face-to-face meeting regarding the bid. The U.S. will have 11 host locations for the World Cup, with 17 cities in contention. Orlando hosted five matches during the 1994 World Cup and it’s easy to see that the city is even better prepared this time around considering the growth of soccer in the region.

USMNT Players May Not be Released for Qualifiers

Americans playing in the English Premier League may not be allowed to travel for the United States Men’s National Team. Panama is red-listed by the British due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and the English Premier League may not release USMNT players who would play in the World Cup qualifier against Panama on Oct. 10. That means Christian Pulisic, Zack Steffen, Ethan Horvath, Josh Sargent, Tim Ream, and Antonee Robinson could be unavailable. This is disappointing given that Pulisic is on track to return from injury in time for the qualifiers. The USMNT’s qualifying continues when it hosts Jamaica on Oct. 7.

Free Kicks
  • Six players were fined by MLS from last week’s matches, including Orlando City’s Nani and Andrés Perea for not leaving the field quickly enough after their red cards. The amounts of the fines were not disclosed.
  • USMNT midfielder Brenden Aaronson scored his first league goal for RB Salzburg in a 2-0 win over Rapid Wien. Aaronson wasn’t the only American to find the back of the net this weekend as Ian Harkes scored a late winner for Dundee United in Scotland.

That will do it for today. Keep your head up, and look forward to tomorrow night’s match as the USWNT is in action against Paraguay.