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Lion Links: 5/31/22

Scouting report for Morocco, Real Madrid reportedly after Gabriel Slonina, UEFA orders independent report on Champions League chaos, and more.

FBL-WC-2022-QUALIFIERS-USA-PAN Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Happy Monday, everyone. I hope everyone had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend, although not working yesterday threw me off so bad that I completely forgot I was supposed to be writing Lion Links until our fearless leader reminded me an hour and a half before our deadline. Fear not though, all is well and we have lots to discuss today as usual. Let’s have at it.

Scouting Report for Morocco, Other USMNT News

The United States Men’s National Team will be back in action tomorrow when it takes on Morocco at TQL Stadium. The Moroccans present a stiff test and have a squad largely composed of European-based players. They tend to line up in a number of different formations and look to build attacks through the wings, with Achraf Hakimi pushing up from right back when Morocco has possession. Yassine Bounou, or Bono, mans the net fresh off a deep Europa League run with Sevilla and is particularly talented when it comes to distribution. It should be a good match-up for the USMNT against a talented team that it has never beaten.

The USMNT will be without Djordje Mihailovic for the June window, after he suffered an ankle injury while playing against FC Cincinnati over the weekend.

Real Madrid Reportedly Chasing Slonina

Fabrizio Romano has reported that Real Madrid is in the midst of preparing a bid for Gabriel Slonina. The Chicago Fire goalkeeper’s star is quite clearly on the rise, and Real is the latest name rumored to be chasing his signature. Romano reported that if a deal is agreed upon, it’s possible that Slonina may be loaned back to Chicago through the 2023 MLS season. If such a deal comes to pass, it would certainly be an interesting and high profile one. Slonina is a young but still very inexperienced goalkeeper, and while current Madrid starter Thibaut Courtois is 30, goalkeepers tend to have a long shelf life and it’s unlikely Slonina will be unseating him anytime soon. Stranger things have happened though, so this is definitely a story to watch.

UEFA Orders Independent Report Over UCL Chaos

UEFA has ordered an independent report regarding the chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France that delayed the UEFA Champions League final over the weekend. Kickoff was delayed three times, with UEFA initially blaming the delay on late-arriving Liverpool fans, a reason which was roundly condemned by fans and several media outlets. Liverpool supporters were teargassed and UEFA claims that Reds fans who bought fake tickets and tried to force their way into the stadium are the ones to blame for long ticketing lines and the tactics employed by French police. On the other hand, many are blaming the organizational efforts by UEFA and the police as the cause for the problems and the investigation should prove to be very enlightening.

Amandine Henry Left Off French Euro Squad

Lyon midfielder Amandine Henry has been left off France’s squad for this summer’s European Championship a mere week after she was named player of the match in the Champions League final. Henry captained the French team at the 2019 World Cup and has not been shy in her public criticism of Head Coach Corrine Diacre. Diacre said that Henry’s omission is due to sporting reasons, but Henry believes it’s because she brought up issues that players were having with the head coach. Either way, she won’t be on the plane to England and neither will fellow Lyon teammate Eugenie Le Sommer — France’s all-time record goal scorer.

Free Kicks

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