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Lion Links: 10/22/22

MLS playoffs preview, U.S. U-17 women eliminated from World Cup, Musah thrives, McKennie scores, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at New York City FC Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

What’s up, Mane Landers? My week was wild, busy, and exhausting. Hopefully, you are doing a little bit better than me at this point. I am looking forward to watching a little bit of soccer abroad and kicking back this afternoon on the couch. I will probably catch the Chelsea and Manchester United match today and follow that up with Tottenham and Newcastle tomorrow. Let me know what matches you are most looking forward to down in the comments below. For now, let’s enjoy these links from around the soccer world.

MLS Playoffs Continue Tomorrow

USMNT striker Jesús Ferreira will be looking to continue his 2022 Young Player of the Year form tomorrow as FC Dallas takes on Austin FC in a Western Confernce semifinal match. In what is beginning to bud into a fierce cross-state rivalry, FC Dallas has yet to lose to Austin FC, having won all three meetings in 2021 and drawing both 2022 matches. If the streak is to continue, it will surely be due to Ferreira’s tenacity in front of goal. This season, Ferreira scored 18 goals and added six assists across his 33 games, 29 of which he started.

On the east coast, CF Montréal will try to continue the winning streak after having knocked Orlando City out of the playoffs in their last outing. Tomorrow, Stade Saputo will host New York City FC. Earlier this season in March, NYCFC defeated CF Montréal 4-1. Later in July, the two clubs played to a scoreless draw. For this meeting, NYCFC will be without the services of Alfredo Morales, as the experienced midfielder is still nursing a lower leg issue.

U.S. Eliminated From U-17 Women’s World Cup

The U-17 U.S. Women’s National Team’s has been eliminated from the the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. The match went the distance and finished 1-1 in regulation but ultimately Nigeria moved on after a 4-3 penalty kick shootout.

While the United States were the protagonists for long stretches of the match, even outshooting the Flamingoes 27-8, the young Americans only put three shots on goal. To add to the shot count, the team also and piled up 15 corner kicks but still showed lack of efficiency in front of goal. Nigeria scored the opening goal on a penalty kick after a highly questionable video review. American forward Amalia Villarreal equalized just before halftime, but the U.S. could not find the go-ahead finisher despite numerous quality chances, and the match went straight to penalties.

Yunus Musah Thriving at Valencia

USMNT midfielder Yunus Musah is learning a lot under Valencia Head Coach Gennaro Gattuso. Gattuso is a legendary player who was part of a golden era of an AC Milan midfield that boasted Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf, and Kaká — who later became Orlando City’s inaugural captain. As a former midfielder himself, he is truly making an impression on young Musah.

“When he came in, I did think this is an ex-midfielder coming in to help us, so it has been a natural transition [back to central midfield] because I spent my whole youth playing in the middle. Obviously, whenever I go to the [U.S.] national team I play in the middle as well, so it’s been a good transition and it helps the style of play in the team as well.”

While Musah is currently taking his soccer week to week in league play, he is already looking forward to the 2022 FIFA World Cup — especially the match against England.

“This game is going to be really special for me. I played for England and I lived there. So that match is special because I have to win that match, you know. I know some people from the team, Saka and Bellingham, so I am going to have to go toe-to-toe with them in that match and smash them, really, because it’s pride, you know! I told some of my friends back home as well that if we win that match, they have to celebrate, in the English pubs and everything they have to celebrate, that would be nice.”

Weston McKennie Off The Mark

USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie has found the back of the net just in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. McKennie’s goal was his first in the league this season for Juventus and came as most of his do — via a quality header.

While USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter will not be leaning heavily on McKennie to lead the team in goals, it is always reassuring to see players find the back of the net prior to a major tournament. The goal will surely boost McKennie’s confidence and show other unlikely goal-scorers that they too have a chance to put one away on crucial set pieces.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City winger Facundo Torres and midfielder César Araújo have been named to the preliminary 56-man roster for Uruguay prior to the World Cup.
  • Orlando City’s eMLS Amateur Cup qualifier has its winner. Congrats, Youssef Aboyoussef!

That’s all I have for you today as far as links go. But, I would like to challenge you with something else. Heck, I’ll even let you choose from the list: Call a loved one today, smile at the car beside you at the red light, hold the door for someone at the store, Google a way to volunteer in your local area. Above all, try to make someone’s day and be a good human. The world could use an extra smile today. As always, Vamos Orlando!