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Lion Links: 11/22/22

USMNT draws with Wales, Washington Spirit hire Mark Parsons as coach, FIFA cracks down on inclusion statements, and more.

USA v Wales: Group B - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

How are we all feeling after Monday afternoon’s USMNT World Cup opener? It might not have been the result the United States Men’s National Team deserved, but the Yanks still control their own destiny, and one point is better than none. There’s a lot to discuss today, so let’s jump on in.

USMNT Draws With Wales

The United States Men’s National Team kicked off its 2022 World Cup campaign in slightly disappointing fashion with a 1-1 draw against Wales. While the result itself isn’t bad, the dominance that the U.S. displayed in the first half juxtaposed against a lackluster second period meant that the draw almost feels like a loss — especially given that the equalizer came on an unnecessary penalty conceded by Walker Zimmerman. Still, Tim Weah’s goal was a thing of beauty, the the USMNT played perhaps the best half of soccer in the first 45 that it ever has at a World Cup, so there are positives to take away. The focus now shifts to England on a Black Friday match with massive ramifications.

Washington Spirit Hire Mark Parsons as Head Coach

The Washington Spirit announced yesterday that the team has hired Mark Parsons to be the team’s new head coach. This will be Parsons’ second stint with the team after he coached the Spirit from 2013 to 2015. Following his first tenure with the Spirit, he coached the Portland Thorns from 2016 to 2021, and the Dutch women’s national team from 2021 to 2022. He won the NWSL Championship and a pair of NWSL Shields with the Thorns, and is more than qualified for the role. He will be tasked with turning around a Spirit side that failed to make the playoffs the year after winning the NWSL championship in 2021.

FIFA Cracks Down on Inclusion Statements

On Monday, FIFA cracked down on two intended displays in support of inclusivity at the World Cup. It was confirmed that any team captains who wore OneLove anti-discrimination armbands on the field would receive yellow cards, and the captains of England, Germany, Wales, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands decided not to wear them.

Additionally, FIFA instructed Belgium to remove the word “love” from being stitched into the collar of its away jersey — the inside of the collar of the kit. FIFA was reportedly not willing to discuss the matter with the Belgium federation, and the Belgians are understandably not particularly happy about it.

MLS Transfer Roundup

There were a few notable transfer moves in MLS yesterday. The biggest came from the New York Red Bulls, as they inked Corey Burke to a two-year deal with an option year for 2025. Burke has been with the Philadelphia Union for the last five seasons and recorded 25 goals and eight assists in 93 appearances with the team. Burke immediately provides more firepower to a Red Bulls team that reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup and the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs.

Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, D.C. United signed Pedro Santos to a two-year contract. The midfielder joins D.C. as a free agent after playing with the Columbus Crew for the last six seasons, and will be part of a challenging rebuild under Wayne Rooney.

Finally, we move to the Western Conference. Austin FC inked goalkeeper Brad Stuver to a new contract extension that runs through the 2025 season with an option for 2026. He has kept 13 clean sheets in his 64 regular season appearances with the team, and locking him down looks to be a wise move.

Free Kicks
  • The Orlando Pride and Orlando City helped distribute turkeys and food to Orlando residents.

That’s all I have for today. Y’all stay safe out there.