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Lion Links: 12/28/16

Front office shakeup for Orlando City, Bob Bradley sacked by Swansea, another soccer tragedy, and more.

MLS: Orlando City-MLS Works Event Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it’s Wednesday. Sorry, that’s about all the excitement I can muster for a Wednesday. We’re in the middle of this ethereal week that exists between Christmas and New Year’s Day, in which nobody on planet Earth wants to be at work, most bosses are on extended vacations, and there are daytime games we’d all rather be home watching.

But if you think this time of year is quiet in the soccer world, well, you’d be wrong, pardner. Can I call you “pardner?” We’ll get to yesterday’s big bombshell in a moment. First, I just want to point out that last year on this very date, Orlando City’s first and only chief soccer officer resigned just a couple of months after being hired. The Lions were also linked with a Honduran signing a year ago today and that rumor came true.

Who knows what today will bring? Maybe some of those rumored signings? We’ll see. For now, on to the Lion Links.

Phil Rawlins Out as Orlando City President

The big news out of downtown Orlando yesterday was Phil Rawlins stepping down from day-to-day operations for the club he brought to the City Beautiful. Rawlins will take a new role entitled “life-president” and will serve on the board of directors of the club’s three teams – MLS, NWSL, and USL – and as an ambassador. CEO Alex Leitao will have expanded day-to-day responsibilities and there will not be a new president named. Rumors have been swirling for some time that Flavio Augusto da Silva was working on pushing Rawlins aside but the quotes in the club’s press release make it sound like the idea was all Phil’s. Conspiracy theorists would, of course, say that’s exactly what you’d expect the club to say.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter that much, does it? We’ll forever be grateful to Rawlins for bringing us Orlando City. He’s a funny, charming, and affable guy who will still be around the club, just not to the same extent as before. No one person is bigger than the club. Just as you cheer for whoever pulls on the purple kit, so too should you pull for whoever is working in the front office, because it’s all connected. The alternative is rooting for your club to fail and that’s kind of a strange mindset.

That’s my take, anyway. Best wishes, Phil.

And here’s some good news for the community:

Bradley Sacked by Swansea

The first American manager in the EPL made it all of 11 games. Former USMNT head coach Bob Bradley was fired by Swansea City yesterday 85 days after taking the job. Bradley was 2-7-2 as Swansea boss but a 4-1 loss on Boxing Day to West Ham United didn’t fill ownership with the confidence the club could avoid relegation. Never mind the fact that Bradley never got a single transfer window to try to find players that fit what he wants to do. The Swans are second from the bottom in the table. But apparently Bradley is already drawing interest, at least in Norway .Let Google Chrome translate that second story linked for you.

Personally, I was pulling for the guy to be successful. Oh well.

Best MLS Acquisitions of 2016

This week, has been bombarding us all with year-end lists. One of the latest is a top 10 rundown of the best acquisitions by MLS clubs this past season. Spoiler alert: the winner was Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro, who only showed up and helped turn around a struggling Sounders squad, turning a disappointing season into a championship run. Somehow, the good folks at the league’s official website overlooked one Joe Bendik. I, for one, disagree with that omission.

Tragedy in Uganda

Thirty soccer players and fans from from the western Uganda village of Kawaibenda lost their lives when an overloaded boat capsized in Lake Albert. The boat ride was supposed to be a celebration of a local match but instead ended in tragedy. While the team may not have been as well known as Chapecoense, it is no less heart-wrenching, especially in the middle of the holiday season.

Free Kicks

Samir Nasri had his Twitter account hacked in bizarre fashion last night…It seems like the rich keep getting richer. It was rumored for a while but FC Dallas has signed former Real Salt Lake star Javier Morales...Today’s birthdays include Molson Brewery founder John Molson (1763), Woodrow Wilson (1856), comic book giant and personal hero Stan Lee (1922), hockey legend Terry Sawchuk (1929), Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols (1932), actress Dame Maggie Smith (1934), rocker Edgar Winter (1946), Denzel Washington (1954), Ray Bourque (1960), kicker Adam Vinatieri (1972), Seth Meyers (1973), John Legend (1978), Hull City midfielder Tom Huddlestone (1986), and Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter (1989).

That’s all I’ve got for you on this holiday season Hump Day. I’ll leave you with this from the most recent of the legends we’ve lost in this wretched year of 2016: