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Lion Links: 9/28/22

USMNT draws against Saudi Arabia, U.S. U-19 team wins Slovenia Nations Cup, the LA Galaxy and LAFC will play at the Rose Bowl, and more.

Saudi Arabia v United States - International Friendly Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope you all are well and staying safe down in Florida. Let’s wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride midfielder Gunny Jonsdottir! There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

USMNT Draws Against Saudi Arabia

In its final friendly before the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in November, the United States Men’s National Team drew 0-0 with Saudi Arabia in Spain. The USMNT lost to Japan 2-0 last Friday, and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter made some changes for this match, starting Christian Pulisic, Ricardo Pepi, DeAndre Yedlin, and Kellyn Acosta. Despite those changes, the USMNT could not score a goal in these two friendlies as it now prepares to face Wales in its opener on Nov. 21 at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. What’s also concerning is that the Yanks only registered two shots on target across these two matches. Giovanni Reyna was taken off the pitch reportedly due to reported muscle tightness.

Let’s hope Reyna is ready to roll and that the USMNT can get things figured out before the World Cup kicks off in less than two months.

U.S. U-19 team wins Slovenia Nations Cup

It wasn’t all bad for the U.S. though, as the U.S. U-19 Men’s National Team defeated Scotland 2-1 to win the Slovenia Nations Cup. Orlando City’s Thomas Williams and Alex Freeman both started in the match, with Chicago Fire midfielder Sergio Oregel Jr. and Philadelphia Union forward Marcos Zambrano scoring the two goals for the Americans.

The U-20 team finished the Revelations Cup on a positive note with a 2-0 win over Paraguay. Wolfsburg’s Kevin Paredes scored early on and then assisted on Fire midfielder Brian Gutierrez’s goal later in the first half.

LAFC and LA Galaxy to Play at the Rose Bowl Next Year

El Trafico is going up a notch next year as the LA Galaxy and LAFC will open their seasons against each other at the Rose Bowl on Feb. 25. The Rose Bowl has a capacity of over 90,000 and has hosted World Cup finals in the past. It was also the home of the Galaxy from 1996 until 2002, before they moved down the road to Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson. The Galaxy will be the home team for this match, and playing in front of such a larger audience should add some intensity to this rivalry.

UEFA Nations League Group Stage Ends

The group stage of the UEFA Nations League wrapped up during this international window. Spain was able to grab a spot in the finals after Alvaro Morata buried his shot in the 88th minute to stun Portugal. Spain finished one point ahead of Portugal in its group to join next summer’s tournament alongside Croatia, Italy, and the Netherlands. Scotland earned promotion to League A after a 0-0 draw on the road against Ukraine. Serbia won 2-0 against Norway to secure promotion as well. The Czech Republic was relegated to League B following a 2-1 loss to Switzerland while Sweden was relegated to League C after a 1-1 draw against Slovenia.

Free Kicks
  • The Seattle Sounders and FC Cincinnati played to a 1-1 draw. Cincinnati moves ahead of Orlando City by one point after the result, although the Lions have a game in hand. It was a tough blow to Seattle’s playoff hopes, although the Sounders are not yet eliminated.
  • Pulisic is looking forward to working with new Chelsea boss Graham Potter and spoke about his aspirations for more playing time.
  • Raphinha had a brace and Neymar scored a penalty kick as Brazil beat Tunisia 5-1 in a friendly.
  • Uruguay scored two goals in the first half to defeat Canada 2-0 in a friendly in Slovakia.
  • The pots were announced for the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany. France and England are unseeded in the qualifying draw and could have a challenging path to reach the final in Berlin.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Have a good Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.