Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! I hope you are enjoying the extra hour thanks to the time change. Of course, I’d be happy if we could stop doing it, but I’ll take the additional sleep. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting excited about the upcoming World Cup. It’s a good thing since a vast majority of soccer news is now World Cup-related. Let’s get to the links!
LAFC Wins MLS Cup
Los Angeles FC won the MLS Cup 3-3 (3-0) on penalty kicks over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. It was a high-scoring affair with both clubs scoring three goals and each finding the net in stoppage time of extra time to force the penalty kick showdown. Jack Elliott gave the Union the very late lead before Gareth Bale evened it up. Unfortunately for the Union, they were unable to convert any of their penalty kicks with LAFC making three. LAFC became the seventh club in history to win both the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup. It wasn’t all smiles for LAFC as keeper Maxime Crepeau fractured his right leg on a play in which he also got ejected.
The State of MLS
Prior to the MLS Cup final, Don Garber gave a presentation on the State of Major League Soccer. The league will continue to expand with St. Louis City and a 30th team to be named. There will also be the addition of the Leagues Cup with LigaMX, and of course the broadcasting deal with AppleTV starting next season. There are still a ton of questions surrounding the pricing and advertisements in the new service. We do know that current AppleTV subscribers will get a limited amount of free matches, but will need to pay to have access to all of the matches. It looks like I’ll be paying more money next season.
USMNT Preps for World Cup
Two projected starters for the USMNT in the World Cup met in Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Chelsea. Christian Pulisic and Matt Turner were both on the matchday squad for their respective clubs, though neither started. Turner only just returned from a groin injury that kept him out for three weeks and did not see any playing time. Pulisic’s frustration over playing time continued with the American not coming on until the 78th minute.
The lack of minutes for both of these players is less than ideal in preparation for the World Cup later this month. The U.S. is in Group B with England, Wales, and Iran. It will be a challenging group for the Yanks, especially given recent injuries. Sam Vines is the latest to get injured, when he broke his leg at Royal Antwerp in the Belgian Pro League. The injury will keep him out for an extended period of time, including the World Cup.
FAs Put Pressure on FIFA
You may have seen FIFA’s tone deaf letter to World Cup teams to “focus on soccer” rather than getting involved in the politics surrounding Qatar hosting the World Cup, and the human rights issues that have come to light. In response, the football associations of 10 European countries are pushing FIFA to take actions to improve the rights of migrant workers in Qatar. World Cup representatives from Qatar have not commented.
- Former Orlando City forward Santiago Patino scored a goal and also assisted on one in San Antonio FC’s 2-0 win that pushed his club past Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and into the USL Championship final.
- Despite suffering a hamstring injury in Bayern Munich’s last match, Canadian international Alphonso Davies will not miss the World Cup. Davies will miss his club’s next two matches.
- The Florida State University Women’s Soccer team defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels 2-1 to win a third straight Atlantic Coast Conference title. The Seminoles will now wait to see who they will host in the NCAA Tournament. The selection show is today at 4 p.m.
- Haji Wright scored his ninth goal of the season for Antalyaspor in a 4-2 win over Fatih Karagümrükon in the Turkish Super League. Despite his good form, he may not be a part of Gregg Berhalter’s World Cup plans.
That will do it for me today. Have a great week and check back as we continue our Orlando City Season in Review series. And it will be worth keeping an eye on social media today as a 48-hour MLS trade window opens at noon and the Concacaf Champions League drawing (including Orlando City) takes place this evening.