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Lion Links: 6/7/22

USMNT vs. Grenada preview, former FIFA officials will stand trial, MLS stars on expiring contracts, and more.

Uruguay v United States Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Orlando City doesn’t have a game for another week, but between the Orlando Pride, Orlando City B, and various Nations League games, the soccer isn’t slowing down anytime soon. There’s plenty to talk about today as usual, so let’s jump in.

USMNT vs. Granada Preview

The United States Men’s National Team will take on Grenada in Concacaf Nations League play this Friday in Austin, TX. It will be the first of two Nations League clashes during the June international window, and it comes against an opponent the USMNT hasn’t seen very much of. This will only be the fourth meeting between the two nations, with the United States coming out victorious in the three previous matches. Grenada opened Group A play with a 3-1 loss to El Salvador, as the Spice Boys were unable to get a result on the road. Grenada has not won in the last two calendar years and is 170th in the FIFA rankings.

Former FIFA Officials Will Stand Trial

Sepp Blatter’s and Michel Platini’s 11-day trial is set to begin tomorrow, with the two men accused of defrauding FIFA. Seven years ago, prosecutors in Switzerland announced they were investigating a payment made from FIFA to Platini back in 2011. Both have denied wrongdoing and will be questioned this week. A verdict is scheduled to be delivered on July 8, and each faces up to five years in prison, although suspended sentences are likely. There’s a good chance that lots of things surrounding FIFA’s culture and practices will be dragged into the case, with the controversial awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar being one of them.

MLS Stars on Expiring Contracts

There are a number of notable names in Major League Soccer who have contracts that are set to expire after the 2022 season. One of the biggest names is Carlos Vela, whose deal actually expires on June 30. Vela and LAFC reached an agreement to extend his contract several weeks ago, but currently nothing has been signed just yet. For Toronto FC, both Alejandro Pozuelo and Jonathan Osorio are out of contract at the end of the season, and while Pozuelo has said he wants to stay, Osorio has spoken about keeping his options open. Closer to home, Benji Michel’s deal will be up at the end of the year, and he will not qualify for free agency as he’s only on his fourth year in the league.

Neymar Closing on Pele Record

Neymar came off the bench to score the winning penalty in a 1-0 friendly win over Japan yesterday, and in doing so he drew to within three goals of Pele’s all-time scoring record for Brazil. Pele scored 77 goals for the Selecao, while Neymar’s tally today brought him to 74. He also has 119 caps to his name and will soon overtake Dani Alves and Roberto Carlos, who both have 125. It’ll be awhile before he passes Cafu, who has 142, but he could well pass Pele’s scoring record by the end of the year considering Brazil has only lost once since 2020.

Free Kicks
  • Three Orlando City youngsters started in the U-19 U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2-1 win over England.
  • Trinity Rodman is carving her own path through the American soccer landscape.
  • A power outage caused the Nations League game between Austria and Denmark to be postponed.
  • Wales coach Rob Page called his team’s match against the USMNT a “winnable game.” Bulletin board material, fellas.
  • A statue of Zinedine Zidane headbutting Marco Materazzi will be re-installed in Qatar after it was removed in 2013.

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