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Lion Links: 9/9/21

USMNT nabs comeback win in Honduras, Gunny Jonsdottir called up to Iceland, NWSL releases expansion draft procedures and more.


Happy Thursday, everyone! I am bleary-eyed this morning to say the least, but it doesn’t feel so bad with what the United States Men’s National Team was able to do last night. The soccer will keep coming thick and fast with Orlando City taking on Atlanta tomorrow night and the Pride hosting Louisville on Saturday. As usual, there’s lots to talk about so let’s jump in.

USMNT Comes Back vs. Honduras

Breathe, everyone, breathe! After a big first-half scare in San Pedro Sula, the USMNT fought back and got all three points when it needed them most. Gregg Berhalter’s original plan did...not go well in the first half. In fact, it was almost totally wrong. However, the correct changes were made at halftime and later in the second half, and the team kicked on and got all three points when it needed them very badly, winning 4-1 on the road at Honduras. Plus, the Yanks scored a boatload of goals which helps with goal differential, so that’s nice. In a broader sense though, the way this young team dug deep and fought and gutted out a win in a very tough situation could end up being hugely important. We shall see, but for now we have reason to celebrate.

Gunny Jonsdottir Called Up by Iceland

Gunny Jonsdottir has been called up to the Icelandic Women’s National Team for its first qualifier for the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Gunny has been an important contributor for Iceland, with 80 caps to her name since her first call-up back in 2011, and she will look to continue that and help the team qualify for the WWC. Gunny joined the Pride back in January of this year and has appeared in each one of the team’s 18 matches. Best of luck Gunny!

NWSL Announces Expansion Draft Procedures

The National Women’s Soccer League has announced its rules and procedures for the 2021 NWSL Expansion Draft set to take place in December of this year. With Angel City FC and a team from San Diego set to join the ranks of the NWSL, an expansion draft is necessary to help fill the ranks of the new teams. Existing teams are allowed to protect nine players in total, and one of those can be a U.S. allocated player, with all other players needing to remain unprotected. Teams also need to disclose the names of any players that they believe won’t be able to play by Jan. 1, 2022 due to injury, retirement, loan, or another reason. One wrinkle is that Kansas City is exempt from the draft due to an agreement that was laid out when the team was established.

Marsch Open to National Team Job One Day

When asked about the possibility of one day taking the reins of the United States Men’s National Team, Red Bull Leipzig coach Jesse Marsch said that the idea is an interesting one.

“I would hope there’s timing where it comes together, that there’s people that believe I’m the right person to lead the national team, that believe my coaching philosophies and my leadership philosophies are what we need. I don’t know when that is, I don’t know what that would mean in terms of timing again.”

Based on his resume of winning silverware with Red Bull Salzburg and being trusted to take over Leipzig, the prospect of Marsch ascending to the national team job at some point is indeed an attractive one. However, it’s important to note that in the same interview he praised Gregg Berhalter and the way he’s handled the USMNT’s young guns, so don’t go getting ahead of yourself in handing him the gig tomorrow.

CONMEBOL Qualifying Starts Up Again

Following absolutely surreal scenes over the weekend in Brazil, CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying is all set to start back up again today. South America will be halfway done with its qualifying process for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after the dust settles tonight, and there are plenty of interesting points to watch for. Argentina will be without Cristian Romero, Emiliano Martinez and Giovanni Lo Celso but should still handily dispatch Bolivia at home, who have not qualified for a World Cup since 1994. Elsewhere, Brazil is expected to handle business against Pedro Gallese’s Peru, while Sebas Mendez and Ecuador have a big game against Uruguay in a match-up between the teams currently sitting in the final two automatic qualification spots.

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That does it for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.