Lion Links

Lion Links: 11/7/23

Phil Neville named Portland Timbers coach, Real Salt Lake beats Houston in shootout, chaos reigns in Chelsea’s match with Tottenham, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy game day, everyone! Orlando City will try to put away Nashville SC tonight and advance to the next round of the MLS Cup playoffs without needing to take things to a Game 3. The first game was an extremely tight affair and hopefully Game 2 is a bit more comfortable for the Lions. There’s a ton for us to talk over this morning, so let’s get into the links.

Portland Timbers Hire Phil Neville

The Portland Timbers have named Phil Neville as the team’s new head coach. Neville has signed a deal that will keep him at the club through 2026. He becomes the team’s fourth coach as an MLS franchise, following Gio Savarese’s firing back in August. This will be his second stint coaching in MLS, as he spent a little over two seasons with Inter Miami. While he got the team to the playoffs in 2022, his overall record with the team was 35-42-13, and reports of Portland’s interest in him raised some eyebrows. Aside from the questions of his qualifications, the Timbers Army voiced its displeasure of his candidacy due to a past history of sexist tweets.

Real Salt Lake Survives Against the Houston Dynamo

It took a spectacular equalizer and a perfect outing at the penalty spot, but Real Salt Lake got the result it needed after a 1-1 draw at home against the Houston Dynamo. Jefferson Savarino’s gorgeous free kick cancelled out Amine Bassi’s opening goal to send the game to penalty kicks. Zac MacMath held his nerve and saved Bassi’s second penalty kick attempt of the night, and RSL made five straight attempts from the spot to get the shootout win and force a Game 3 back in Houston. This result, along with FC Dallas’ win at home against the Seattle Sounders, contrasts the first-round sweeps after Sporting Kansas City and LAFC each advanced by winning the first two games of their matchups.

Chaos in Chelsea’s Win Over Tottenham

Chelsea handed Tottenham its first loss of the Premier League season in a positively bonkers game on Monday afternoon. Spurs got the game’s first goal in the sixth minute, but things descended into anarchy from there. Chelsea had goals ruled out in the 21st and 28th minutes before Cristian Romero was shown a red card for Spurs after a video review determined he fouled Enzo Fernandez in the box. Cole Palmer scored the resulting penalty kick for Chelsea, and Micky van de Ven and James Maddison both went off injured before the 10 minutes of first-half stoppage time had finished. Destiny Udogie received a second yellow card in the 55th minute to reduce Tottenham to nine men, and Nicolas Jackson then scored a hat trick to give the Blues a 4-1 win that was far less comfortable than the bloated score indicated.

UEFA Champions League Preview

The UEFA Champions League’s group stage continues today and there are a number of storylines to watch. Barcelona will make the round of 16 after missing out last year if it wins or draws against Shakhtar Donetsk. Christian Pulisic, Yunus Musah, and AC Milan have a massive game against Paris Saint-Germain, and the Italian side really needs a win if it wants to have a chance of advancing out of the group. Giovanni Reyna and Borussia Dortmund take on Newcastle United as well, with both clubs currently on four points, trailing PSG but ahead of AC Milan in Group F.

  • The Lions got a nice little send-off from training ahead of traveling to Tennessee to face Nashville SC tonight.
  • The baby Lions had themselves an excellent weekend.
  • Marta spoke a little bit about getting some practice in before she took on the responsibility of waving the checkered flag at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!


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