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Lion Links: 10/14/22

Orlando City’s offense can impress on Sunday, MLS names award finalists, Matt Turner earns another clean sheet for Arsenal, and more.

FK Bodo/Glimt v Arsenal FC: Group A - UEFA Europa League Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? It’s finally Friday, which means we’re another step closer to Orlando City’s playoff game this weekend. We also have other MLS playoff games and the NWSL playoffs to look forward to over the next few days. Before we dive right into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando City midfielder Wilfredo Rivera. He turns 20 today and is on loan with Indy Eleven, which just finished up its season earlier this week.

Opportunity Knocks for Orlando’s Offense on Sunday

Orlando City’s playmakers will need to be at their best on Sunday at 8 p.m. when the Lions take on CF Montreal in Canada. Although Orlando’s offense hasn’t exactly been firing on all cylinders this season, the team has players more than capable of creating chances and scoring. Facundo Torres is in good form, with a goal or an assist in Orlando’s last four games of the regular season. Fellow Uruguayan Mauricio Pereyra is the only Lion to record 10 or more assists in consecutive seasons in Orlando’s MLS era. Midfielder Junior Urso has also stepped up on offense this year and will make his 100th appearance for Orlando if he plays on Sunday. If those players do well and get Austrian forward Ercan Kara involved, the Lions could light it up at Stade Saputo. Miguel Gallardo and Evan Weston broke down everything to watch for in this playoff match.

MLS Announces Award Finalists

No Orlando City players were named as finalists for the MLS’s year-end awards. In my opinion, Torres should have been included as a finalist for Newcomer of the Year and Young Player of the Year. Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese has been great for the Lions this year, but didn’t make the cut for Goalkeeper of the Year. A few question marks to me are Gonzalo Higuain’s nomination for Comeback Player of the Year and LAFC Head Coach Steve Cherundolo’s inclusion with Montreal’s Wilfried Nancy and the Philadelphia Union’s Jim Curtin for Coach of the Year. I would’ve liked to see Austin FC’s Josh Wolff or FC Cincinnati’s Pat Noonan get some recognition for taking their teams from the bottom of the standings last year to being MLS Cup contenders.

Four of the MLS MVP finalists are from the Western Conference, with Union goalkeeper Andre Blake as the exception. He joins Austin’s Sebastián Driussi, Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar, the LA Galaxy’s Javier Hernandez, and LAFC’s Cristian Arango.

U.S. Continues Its U-17 World Cup Campaign

The United States U-17 Women’s National Team is playing Brazil this morning in the group stage of the U-17 Women’s World Cup in India. The game started at 7 a.m. and both teams are looking to build upon wins in their tournament openers. The U.S. beat India 8-0 in a record-breaking win while Brazil won 1-0 over Morocco. This is the first meeting between these U-17 teams in a World Cup and the winner will take control of Group A. Brazilian forward Jhonson is the player the U.S. will need to be wary of, as she scored the winner for Brazil against Morocco and had nine goals in qualifying. After this match, the U.S. will take on Morocco in its final group match on Tuesday at 10:30 p.m.

Goalkeepers Shine in Europa League Action

In the Europa League’s group stage, American goalkeeper Matt Turner had another clean sheet as Arsenal won 1-0 over Bodø/Glimt. Bukayo Saka scored the game’s only goal as Arsenal moved to the top of its group. Manchester United nearly had to settle for a draw at home against Cypriot club Omonoia, but Scott McTominay found a goal in stoppage time to give United the win. Omonoia goalkeeper Francis Uzoho stood on his head, making 13 saves to deny United’s offense all game long. Elsewhere, AS Roma and Real Betis battled to a 1-1 draw, Union Berlin won 1-0 over Malmo, and Trabzonspor crushed Monaco 4-0.

Free Kicks
  • Mukhtar is apparently pulling for Orlando City to reach the MLS Cup final. Not only did he praise the team’s stadium and colors, but he referred to Orlando as “my Lions.” That’s either a dig at Orlando considering his past performances against the Lions, or genuine support.
  • You’ll need a translator for the full story, but reports from a French investigative newspaper claim that Paris Saint-Germain hired an agency to attack its players and others on social media.
  • Enjoy this thread on Twitter regarding how the purchase of Wrexham AFC by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney has increased the club’s revenue and reach.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!