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Lion Links: 5/24/22

U.S. Open Cup preview, why Kylian Mbappe rejected Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund hires familiar face, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Austin FC Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Aside from Orlando City B’s 6-0 pasting of Inter Miami II, the less said about this weekend’s games the better. Fortunately, Orlando City gets a nearly immediate chance to bring the good vibes back when the Lions take on Inter Miami CF in the U.S. Open Cup tomorrow at Exploria Stadium. As usual, there’s a lot to discuss today, so let’s jump in.

U.S. Open Cup Preview

The U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 is upon us, and there’s plenty of interesting match-ups in this round. Highlighting things is Orlando City’s clash with Inter Miami at Exploria Stadium, as the Lions look to take advantage of playing at home for the third straight round. There are also three non-MLS sides still alive in the tournament with USL Championship teams Sacramento Republic and Louisville City, joined by USL League One side Union Omaha out of Nebraska. Another highlight is the El Trafico clash between LAFC and the LA Galaxy a little over a month after the two teams last met in the league.

Why Kylian Mbappe Stayed

Kylian Mbappe is staying at Paris Saint-Germain for the time being, and has revealed his reason for doing so. In a press conference Monday, Mbappe stated that PSG’s “sporting project” was the determining factor in his decision to extend his stay in the French capital and that money didn’t play a part. It was an eventful press conference, as Mbappe denied that wanting more influence in off-field decision making played a part in his decision to stay, while also not shutting the door on potentially leaving in 2025 after the end of his three-year contract extension. For now though, Mbappe will stay in Paris for the immediate future after contacting Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to inform him of his decision to reject the Spanish club’s overtures.

Borussia Dortmund Hires Familiar Face

A familiar face will be in the Borussia Dortmund dugout next season, as the German club announced yesterday that it has hired Edin Terzic as manager until 2025. Terzic was previously in charge of the team during the 2020/21 season after Lucien Favre was fired in December 2020. During the 32 games he was at the helm, Dortmund won 20 games, drew four, and lost eight. It’s an interesting choice to pivot away from Marco Rose and back to Terzic after Rose saw a relatively close second-place finish behind Bayern Munich, but the team was also eliminated from the UEFA Champions League in the group stage, which likely played a part in his exit.

Thiago Doubtful for UCL Final

Liverpool midfielder Thiago might miss Saturday’s UCL final due to an Achilles tendon injury he suffered during the final day of Premier League games on Sunday. The midfielder was withdrawn at halftime with the injury, and even though it isn’t thought to be serious, the quick turnaround between games might mean he’s unavailable. On the bright side, Mohamed Salah returned to the side on Sunday and Virgil van Dijk was fit enough to make the bench. Liverpool faces a stern test on Saturday against a Real Madrid team that has repeatedly refused to go away during the knockout stages of the tournament.

Free Kicks
  • The Lions stayed at No. 8 in the ESPN MLS Power Rankings and somehow Justin Lindberg used the word “fortunate” to describe Orlando getting out of Austin with a point. It’s actually true, if by fortunate he means that the Lions were lucky Joe Dickerson didn’t hand the hosts six or seven more advantages in the second half. In Lindberg’s defense, if you only looked at the stat sheet, and didn’t actually watch the game, it’s easy to confuse which was the fortunate team in the match. Hint: Orlando was the unfortunate team in the match.
  • Erin McLeod has vowed that the Orlando Pride will continue to improve.
  • There were no Lions on this week’s MLS Team of the Week, although being handed a dubious penalty was enough to get Austin’s Sebastian Driussi on the first team.
  • The United States U-16 Women’s Youth National Team got another win at the UEFA Development Tournament.

That does it for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.