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Lion Links: 6/27/22

Orlando City U-17 team wins, Gareth Bale announces move to LAFC, MLS results, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at FC Cincinnati Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! The Orlando City match didn’t go the way we wanted, but there’s another chance to see the Lions in action this Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup at Exploria Stadium. I anticipate that Óscar Pareja will employ a first-choice lineup as the club continues its quest for silverware. Before we get to today’s links, let’s wish a happy birthday to Orlando winger Gaston Gonzalez!

Orlando City’s U-17 Team Advances

What do you do when the match is tied at 0-0 heading into second-half stoppage time and you are down a man? If you are Orlando City’s U-17 squad, you score a goal to defeat Inter Miami 1-0 in the MLS NEXT Cup playoffs.

The Young Lions continue their playoff run against the San Jose Earthquakes at 6 p.m. tonight. The winner of that match will reach the quarterfinals to take on the winner between Austin FC and New York City FC.

LAFC Continues to Make Big Moves

Welsh winger Gareth Bale is headed to LAFC and announced the move on Twitter.

If you’re wondering how LAFC is able to add Bale without making him a Designated Player, LAFC’s General Manager has a lot of “coach speak” for your answer. If you are a frequent reader of The Mane Land you know that LA and Miami teams are not always held to the same standards when it comes to the number of Designated Players or money spent as other clubs, so just roll with it.

Just in case you were wondering what Bale’s inclusion means for Carlos Vela’s tenure with the club, the prolific scorer confirmed he is re-signing with LAFC. I’m sure all of this is on the up and up, as long as Orlando City doesn’t try something similar.

MLS Week 16 Wraps Up

The aforementioned LAFC also played a match on Sunday against the New York Red Bulls and became the first club to 10 wins this season after a 2-0 win at home. Vela may not have scored, but he did have an assist.

Philadelphia played a wild one with NYCFC that had a bit of everything. Philly nearly dropped points after getting the early lead when NYCFC scored on a penalty kick in the 89th minute, but a header late in stoppage time won it for the Union. There was also the little matter of Philadelphia Union Head Trainer Paul Rushing being sent off by the referee after an altercation with some NYCFC players. It was the epitome of a game between teams from Philadelphia and New York.

In Canada, the New England Revolution and Vancouver Whitecaps battled to a scoreless draw. Revolution goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic made six saves for a clean sheet on the road. The Revolution extended their unbeaten run to nine games and sit in sixth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind Orlando.

Evaluating the U.S. National Teams’ Rosters

Following the United States Women’s National Team’s 3-0 win over Columbia, we’re seeing more and more of the next generation start to contribute. Some are making an impact more than others, as Sophia Smith scored a brace and former Orlando Pride player Taylor Kornieck added a goal of her own. It’s always the case, but the stock of some players is rising, while others are seeing theirs falling.

If you’re like many other United States Men’s National Team supporters, you are running through the possible roster in your head and trying to figure out what Gregg Berhalter might do. The idea that Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Matt Turner will be there isn’t a stretch, but what about the options at center back or forward? It is fun to think about.

Human Rights Groups Speak With FIFA

Various workers rights and human rights groups are working with the future U.S., Canada, and Mexico host cities to ask FIFA to commit to livable wages, equitable hiring and worker protections for the 2026 World Cup. The groups say that FIFA is listening but has yet to commit to the minimum standards being proposed. In my opinion, given the horrible conditions and deaths that resulted in Qatar, FIFA must do more to monitor this process to ensure host countries are handling their business in a way that protects workers who are helping to make these events happen. We will have to wait to see if FIFA holds its hosts accountable.

Free Kicks

That will do it for today. Don’t forget to check back as we get you ready for Orlando City’s match against Nashville SC this Wednesday. Vamos Orlando!