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Lion Links: 10/26/22

Young Lions called up for camp, NWSL names its Best XI, Jim Curtin is MLS Coach of the Year, and more.

SL Benfica v Juventus: Group H - UEFA Champions League Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all of you are doing well down in Florida. I’ve been staying busy up here in Chicago. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Three Young Lions Called Up for Training Camp

Orlando City SC’s Luca Maxim, Xzavier Colon, and Gustavo Delgado were called up for the U.S. Under-15 Men’s National Team’s final training camp of the year by Head Coach Tom Heinemann. The camp is taking place at the National Development Center in Kansas City and will last through Sunday as they prepare for next year’s Concacaf Boys’ U-15 Championship. Of the 24 players called into camp, 17 were part of last month's talent identification camp, including Maxim, Colon, and Delgado. Another notable player on the roster is Alaskan forward Abad Vargas, who is the younger brother of U.S. U-20 midfielder Obed Vargas. Defender Gavin Wolff was also called up and is the son of former USMNT player and Austin FC Head Coach Josh Wolff, as well as the brother of U-20 forward Tyler Wolff.

NWSL Names Its Best XI

The San Diego Wave’s Alex Morgan, OL Reign’s Sofia Huerta, and Chicago Red Stars attacker Mallory Pugh were a few of the players named to the NWSL Best XI first team. Morgan won the Golden Boot, scoring 15 goals to lead the Wave to a semifinal appearance in the NWSL playoffs. Former Orlando Pride defender Carson Pickett is also on the first team, alongside North Carolina Courage teammate Debinha. Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle, and Becky Sauerbrunn were named to the second team.

Jim Curtin Wins MLS Coach of the Year

Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin was named MLS Coach of the Year. This is the second time Curtin has won this award, claiming the honor in 2020 as well. Curtin helped guide the Union to 67 points, a single-season club record, and secured first place in the Eastern Conference for the second time in three seasons. At 43, Curtin is the youngest two-time recipient and becomes the fifth coach to win it multiple times. Curtin narrowly beat out CF Montreal Head Coach Wilfried Nancy for the award.

UEFA Champions League Group Stage Nears Conclusion

It was an action-packed day in the UEFA Champions League. RB Leipzig snapped Real Madrid’s unbeaten run in a 3-2 victory at home and only needs a result against Shakhtar Donetsk to reach the next round. Juventus was eliminated in the group stage despite a late comeback and a goal from American midfielder Weston McKennie against Benfica, falling short in a 4-3 loss. Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a 7-2 victory over Maccabi Haifa, getting goals from its trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe. Christian Pulisic set up Kai Havertz’s winner in the second half as Chelsea defeated RB Salzburg 2-1 to win its group. Both Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund also qualified for the knockout stage despite a scoreless draw. Today’s match-ups will feature FC Barcelona looking to stay alive against Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid hosting Bayer Leverkusen, and Tottenham taking on Sporting CP.

Free Kicks
  • Let’s all congratulate former Lion Nani and his family on the birth of his daughter, Catarina.
  • Here’s a nice refresher on the important dates to keep an eye on during the MLS off-season. The trade window opens on Nov. 7 and the Expansion Draft will take place on Nov. 11.
  • Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada is the MLS Newcomer of the Year. Almada contributed six goals and 12 assists and was named to the MLS Team of the Week on five occasions this season.
  • The Columbus Crew are reportedly eyeing Montreal’s Nancy for their open head coaching position.

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