How’s it going, Mane Landers? This time last week, we were in anguish over Orlando City’s loss to Inter Miami. Now, we’re gearing up for Orlando’s playoff match this Sunday. That’s just the kind of season it’s been for the Lions, and hopefully we have more to be happy about come next Thursday. For now though, let’s enjoy these links from around the soccer world!
Orlando City Will Play a Tough CF Montreal Team
The Lions are in the playoffs for the third straight year and will face one of the league’s best teams on Sunday when they travel to Canada to take on CF Montreal. The Canadian club has not lost since Aug. 31 and has won eight of its past 10 matches. These two teams last faced off on May 7, with Orlando falling 4-1 on the road. However, Orlando won 2-0 in its season opener against Montreal back in February and also beat Montreal on Decision Day last year to clinch a playoff spot. Orlando’s defense will have to find a way to stop a potent Montreal attack led by Kei Kamara, Romell Quioto, and Djordje Mihailovic. While the Lions will be underdogs in this match, they’ve found ways to win important games throughout this year.
Gallese Up for MLS Save of the Year, Kara Up for Top Goal
The recognition doesn’t end there for Orlando players. Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese’s save on the road against Dom Dwyer was nominated for MLS Save of the Year. El Pulpo made a full extension to deny Dwyer from scoring against his former team, helping the Lions secure a crucial result on the road against their rival. Gallese’s save faces stiff competition from the other excellent goalkeepers in the league, such as Andre Blake, Joe Willis, and Dayne St. Clair.
Who you got for Save of the Year?— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 12, 2022
VOTE ➡️ https://t.co/HbJZvZIcmM pic.twitter.com/4w5QkpA1DR
Orlando also had a player nominated for MLS Goal of the Year in the form of Ercan Kara. The Austrian Designated Player is up for the award due to his silky smooth team goal back on April 16 in a 2-0 win at Columbus. If you don’t want to watch all of the nominees, you can just watch Kara’s below.
This sequence from @OrlandoCitySC.— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 17, 2022
Ercan Kara with a beautiful turn & finish makes it 2-0. pic.twitter.com/mU5rXwtdTe
Getting Ready for the MLS Playoffs
While we’re all understandably focused on Orlando’s match on Sunday, there’s plenty of playoff soccer worth checking out this weekend. Here’s a nice refresher on the playoff format, the schedule, and how yellow card accumulation will work. Half of the teams in this year’s playoffs didn’t qualify last year and only three of the teams have ever won the MLS Cup before. LAFC and the Philadelphia Union are the favorites to win it all, but there are plenty of dark horses in this race.
If Orlando beats Montreal, it will face the winner between New York City FC and Inter Miami. After some uncertainty on where the Pigeons would play, NYCFC will host Miami at Citi Field on Monday at 7 p.m. Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, FC Cincinnati’s red-hot offense heads to Red Bull Arena to face the New York Red Bulls on Saturday at noon. It should be an exciting match to get the playoffs started.
More Clubs Reach the Champions League Knockout Stage
Napoli advanced to the knockout stage of the Champions League after a 4-2 win at home against Ajax. The Italian club has won all four of its matches so far, scoring an impressive 17 goals while only conceding four. Belgium’s Club Brugge clinched a spot in the knockout stage for the first time following its scoreless draw with Atletico Madrid. Club Brugge is undefeated in the group stage and has yet to concede a goal. Bayern Munich also secured its spot in the knockout round, beating Viktoria Plzen 4-2.
The most dramatic match was a 3-3 draw between FC Barcelona and Inter Milan. Barcelona struck first, but needed Robert Lewandowski to equalize twice late in the match to keep the Spanish club’s hopes of making it out of the group stage. Despite the result, Inter only needs a win over Viktoria Plzen to advance and send Barcelona to the Europa League. Mo Salah scored a hat trick in just a little over six minutes after coming off the bench in Liverpool’s 7-1 win over Rangers. Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min had a brace in his club’s 3-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.
- Cincy forward Brenner was named MLS Player of the Month for the months of September and October after scoring nine goals and adding two assists in the club’s final five games. Brenner also won MLS Goal of the Week for his nice goal on Decision Day.
- Although the Orlando Pride won’t be participating, there is still NWSL playoff soccer to look forward to this Sunday. The Houston Dash will host the Kansas City Current at 5 p.m. Later, at 10 p.m., former Pride forward Alex Morgan and San Diego Wave FC will welcome the Chicago Red Stars to Snapdragon Stadium.
- While controversy surrounds the Portland Thorns organization, goalkeeper Bella Bixby asked that fans attend the team’s playoff match on Oct. 23 to support the players. Bixby also spoke about the complexity of this issue and that she understands the decision by some fans not to attend.
Dear Portland pic.twitter.com/kABGAJznme— Bella Bixby (@bellageist) October 12, 2022
- Former Pride head coach Marc Skinner spoke about the need for women’s soccer to adapt and improve so that it can better protect players.
- Following the USWNT’s pair of losses in Europe, All For XI’s Kudzi Musarurwa dived into if a change in formation and tactics is needed and how the team’s inflexibility could be a weakness.
- UEFA wants an explanation on why Sunil Gulati, the former president of the United States Soccer Federation, ignored claims of abuse in the NWSL according to the Yates Report. Gulati is currently the chairman of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body.
I hope you enjoyed today’s links! We have a weekend filled with soccer ahead of us, so that should help get us through the next couple of work days. Have a great Thursday!