In Orlando: Welcome back, Flash
Orlando City right back Ruan went down with an injury early in the Lions’ game at FC Dallas on September 27, and while Kyle Smith filled in more than capably in his absence, it was sure good to see the Brazilian back to doing what he does best.
Ruan. My word. Welcome back— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) October 14, 2020
Poor Gudmunder Thorarinsson. That’s just disrespectful.
Orlando’s club-record and 2020 league-best unbeaten streak now sits at 11 games and counting.
Around MLS: Gotta hand it to the kids
I remain very skeptical about dreaming too much on this U.S. Men’s National Team youth movement–we’ve been burned before–but beyond the Pulisics and the Reynas getting major minutes for Champions League teams, there are some exciting teenagers in MLS at the moment as well.
Caden Clark, who Orlando City will see on Sunday when they face the New York Red Bulls (7 pm EST, FOX35 Plus), has lit the league on fire over the past week, scoring a winner in his debut against Atlanta United and following it up with this incredible goal on Wednesday night to snag a point from league-leading Toronto FC:
Clark isn’t the only one. 16 year-old Cade Cowell is off to a great start for San Jose, 19 year-old Cole Bassett has put himself on the national team radar with Colorado, and 18 year-old Gianluca Busio has adapted nicely to the No. 6 role with Sporting Kansas City, just to name a few.
Here in Orlando, Andrés Perea has displayed versatility and maturity in central midfield at 19 years of age, and he’s U.S.-eligible, having been born in Tampa. 19 year-old Homegrown Jordan Bender, who has had a camp with the USMNT U20s, made his MLS debut at the end of the game Wednesday night.
Throughout the World: Brazil is back?
It’s been a disappointing last few World Cups for perennial international power Brazil. They were humiliated 7-1 in the semifinals by Germany in 2014 and bounced in the quarters by Belgium in 2018. Their last title came in 2002.
But fear not for the Selecão, as they’ve started CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying for 2022 with a bang. Brazil romped to a 5-0 win over Bolivia in their first match, powered by a brace from Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino, and outlasted a game and much-improved Peru side for a 4-2 win on Tuesday night. Brazil scored four or more goals just twice in the 2018 qualifying cycle. They’re getting important contributions from younger players like Everton, Douglas Luiz, and Renan Lodi.
All that said, qualifying was still smooth for Brazil in 2018, and their World Cup fortunes did not change. They will need Neymar at his very best and more contributions from their promising young players to reverse their fortunes.
What Weston’s Watching this week
Everton vs. Liverpool, English Premier League (10/17, 7:30a, NBCSN) - The Merseyside derby has much more intrigue this year, as James Rodriguez and the white-hot Dominic Calvert-Lewin have seen Everton as surprise league leaders through four games. How will Liverpool respond after getting shellacked 7-2 by Aston Villa before the international break? This one’s worth setting an alarm and getting the coffee going for.
Inter Milan vs. AC Milan, Serie A (10/17, 12p, ESPN+) - Inter were this close to both the league title and the Europa League last season and have begun their 2020/21 campaign with ten goals in their first three games. A coronavirus outbreak has left them short-handed, though, and they’ll have to deal with the returning Zlatan Ibrahimovic for 3-0-0 AC Milan. Christian Vieri, who played for both sides in his career, said of Zlatan: “he’ll be playing the derby with a cigarette in his mouth, trust me.