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Lion Links: 5/4/22

Lions prepare for CF Montréal, Orlando City’s reported compensation for Chris Mueller’s move, NWSL Challenge Cup semifinals, and more.

MLS: Charlotte FC at Orlando City SC Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope everyone is doing well down in Florida. I’m doing well up here in Chicago and looking forward to a much-needed vacation soon. There is plenty to cover today so let’s get to the links.

Lions Prepare for CF Montréal

Orlando City will be on the road this weekend when it takes on CF Montréal at Stade Saputo on Saturday afternoon. The Lions defeated Charlotte FC 2-1 this past weekend and remain one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference. CF Montréal had a slow start to its season, as it balanced league matches with its run in the Concacaf Champions League. Since losing to Cruz Azul in the quarterfinals, CF Montréal has won four of its last six matches, including a 2-1 victory against Atlanta United this past weekend.

Midfielder Djordje Mihailovic has been in good form for Montréal with four goals and four assists in nine league games. Since 2019, the Lions haven’t lost on the road against CF Montréal, winning the past three away games without conceding a goal. Also, Orlando City has won its past two meetings with Montreal, knocking the Canadian club out of playoff contention on MLS Decision Day last year and winning the season opener between the two this year.

More Details Emerge Over Chris Mueller Deal

In the latest update on the Chicago Fire’s reported acquisition of former Lion Chris Mueller, The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio detailed what type of compensation Orlando City will receive.

That’s a great deal for Orlando City to get GAM and a future MLS SuperDraft pick next year, but I’m intrigued to find out which unnamed player those discovery rights are referring to. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

NWSL Challenge Cup Semifinals Begin Tonight

We have two NWSL Challenge Cup semifinals to watch tonight on Paramount+ as the tournament returns after the NWSL season openers this past weekend. The first match-up features the Washington Spirit taking on the OL Reign at Audi Field. These two sides just met on Sunday in a regular-season opener in which the Spirit beat OL Reign, 2-1. The Reign have made it this far in the Challenge Cup with 10 different goal scorers throughout the tournament, while the Spirit have had Ashley Sanchez, Trinity Rodman, and Andi Sullivan creating the chances and leading the attack.

The other match-up has the Kansas City Current hosting the North Carolina Courage at Children’s Mercy Park. Both teams are coming into this match after losses in their season openers and will be looking to bounce back. The Current’s Kristen Hamilton leads the team with four goals in the tournament while the North Carolina Courage's success has been moving the ball and maintaining a passing accuracy of 79.5%. The winners of each match will play in the NWSL Challenge Cup final on Saturday.

Sounders Take On Pumas in Champions League Final

The second leg of the Concacaf Champions League final will take place tonight when the Seattle Sounders host Pumas UNAM at Lumen Field. The final is tied 2-2 on aggregate going into tonight’s match and if the Seattle Sounders can pull out a win, they would be the first MLS club to win the tournament and qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup. This match will break the record as the highest-attended match in Concacaf Champions League history as the Sounders announced that over 67,000 fans are expected to be in attendance. Sounders General Manager and President Garth Lagerwey has experience leading teams to the final as he helped Real Salt Lake reach the Concacaf Champions League final against CF Monterrey in 2011. Lagerwey spoke to Extratime Radio and said the gap between MLS and Liga MX is narrowing and that the Sounders will be ready.

“I think you’re really seeing potentially a more competitive Liga MX-MLS interaction, and one of the things that’s really cool for our team, when you look at maybe how we’ve been doing this, we’ve beaten three Mexican teams in the last 12 months,” Lagerwey said. “If you look at [beating] Tigres and Santos Laguna and Leon between Leagues Cup and Champions League, those experiences didn’t happen five years ago, 10 years ago. So I think it’s pretty incredible that our guys are as well-prepared that they can be.”

You can watch tonight’s match at 10 p.m. on Fox Sports 1 or TUDN.

Liverpool Defeats Villarreal to advance to UEFA Champions League final

Liverpool turned it around in the second half after being down 2-0 to Villarreal at halftime to win 3-2 and advance on aggregate to reach the UEFA Champions League final. After winning the first leg 2-0 at Anfield, Liverpool quickly fell behind 2-0 to Villarreal in the first half and failed to get a shot on target. In the second half, Luis Diaz came off the bench and jumpstarted Liverpool’s attack. Fabinho, Diaz, and Sadio Mane all scored goals in the second half to end Villarreal’s run and book a spot in the final in Paris on May 28. Liverpool will await the winner of today’s second leg match-up at the Santiago Bernabeu as Real Madrid hosts Manchester City.

Free Kicks

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