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Lion Links: 9/8/21

Lions make MLS Team of the Week, Orlando City prepares for Atlanta United, USMNT faces Honduras tonight, and more.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Orlando City SC Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, Mane Landers! I spent most of the weekend watching soccer and college football. Things should slow down a bit up here and I’m looking forward to catching up with friends in Minnesota in a couple of weeks. But for now, let’s get into today’s links.

Daryl Dike and Junior Urso Make MLS Team of the Week

Orlando City forward Daryl Dike was named to the MLS Team of the Week for his performance in Orlando’s 3-2 win against the Columbus Crew. Dike scored Orlando’s first goal of the game and then assisted on Junior Urso’s game-winner in the second half. It was Dike’s first goal for Orlando since his brace on June 22 against the San Jose Earthquakes and his strike was also nominated for MLS Goal of the Week.

Urso made the bench of the Team of the Week for his solid outing. Not only did Urso rise to the occasion against the Crew, but he’s been crucial for Orlando in recent matches with other midfielders unavailable.

Orlando City Prepares for Atlanta United

The Lions will put their seven-match unbeaten streak on the line when they face rival Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium this Friday at 7 p.m. The last time these two teams faced each other was back on July 30 when the Lions defeated Atlanta United 3-2 at Exploria Stadium. Since that match, Atlanta won four of five games before being shut out 2-0 by Nashville SC this past weekend. This Friday will be the third and final meeting between the two clubs this season, although it will be the Lions’ first trip to Atlanta in 2021. Since Oscar Pareja was named head coach, the Lions haven’t lost to Atlanta over the course of six matches against each other.

USMNT Takes On Honduras Tonight

The United States Men’s National Team is off to a slow start in Concacaf World Cup qualifying and will aim to get things back on track against Honduras tonight. Both teams are seeking their first win in the Octagon and the action starts at 10:30 p.m. The pressure is certainly on for the USMNT after draws against El Salvador and Canada to start its qualifying campaign. Honduras is also coming off of draws with El Salvador and Canada, making tonight’s match in Honduras even more crucial as the winner would lift itself into the top half of the standings. The USMNT has won three of the six qualifying matches it’s played in Honduras over the years.

The USMNT has also been dealing with various absences as Giovanni Reyna is injured, Zack Steffen tested positive for COVID-19, and Weston McKennie was dismissed from the team for violating coronavirus protocols. McKennie reportedly brought an unauthorized individual into the team’s hotel and also spent a night away from the team’s bubble. USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter discussed his decision to dismiss McKennie from the squad.

“Countless coaches are faced with decisions where they have to take talented players out of the lineup for some reason or other, but we did it for what we think is the good of the group and good of the team. And it is what it is when obviously, we’re going to be missing Weston for Wednesday. But it doesn’t rule him out for the future, but we know that we’ll be without him for Wednesday.”

World Cup Qualifying Continues

In UEFA World Cup qualifying action, France snapped its five-game winless streak by defeating Finland 2-0 thanks to a brace from Antoine Griezmann. In Group G, Memphis Depay scored a hat trick in the Netherlands’ 6-1 win over Turkey while Erling Haaland had a hat trick of his own in Norway’s 5-1 victory against Gibraltar. Portugal, Croatia, Denmark, and Russia also cruised to victory. Today’s most notable match-up will be in Group I as Poland and England face off at 2:45 p.m. Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, and Spain are also all in action today.

Later tonight in Concacaf qualifying, Mexico visits Panama, Costa Rica hosts Jamaica, and El Salvador will travel to play Canada. Left back Alphonso Davies won’t be available for Canada after he suffered an injury against the U.S. on Sunday.

Free Kicks
  • Check out the sights and sounds from Orlando’s win over Columbus in Exploria Stadium.
  • Orlando City moved up one spot to sixth in the MLS power rankings. With attacking players returning to the team, the Lions will pose more of a threat to the tough Eastern Conference opponents they will face later this month.
  • Former USL Lion Corey Hertzog scored two goals for San Diego Loyal SC and was named USL Championship Player of the Week.
  • Start hitting the greens now so that you’re ready for this tournament in a couple of months to support youth soccer in Orlando.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.