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Lion Links: 10/29/19

Vlatko officially named new USWNT coach, Dest decides, MLS Best XI announced, and more.

United States Women’s National Team Introduce Head Coach Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Semi-happy Tuesday to you, dear readers. I say semi-happy because my air conditioner broke last weekend and still has yet to be fixed, so I ask your forgiveness if the tone of today’s Lion Links seems slightly crabby. There’s plenty to discuss today so let’s get right to it.

USWNT Officially Names Andonovski Head Coach

Vlatko Andonovski has been announced as the new head coach of the United States Women’s National Team. Andonovski has coached during all seven NWSL seasons, spending five years with the now defunct FC Kansas City and the last two with Reign FC, where he won the 2019 NWSL Coach of the Year award. Andonovski takes over for Jill Ellis, who chose to step down following the U.S. victory in the 2019 Women’s World Cup. He will begin his duties immediately as the U.S. has a game next week against Sweden in Columbus, OH.

Dest Picks the U.S.

Sergiño Dest has announced that he will continue to represent the United States at the national team level. It’s quite possible that some of you dear readers will witness Dest become cap-tied to the Red, White & Blue in person when the USMNT takes on Canada at Exploria stadium on Nov. 15. With that tilt being a competitive match in the Concacaf Nations League, it would hitch Dest’s proverbial horse to the United States’ wagon. If he continues to develop and play well, Dest could prove to be a very important player for the U.S., with fullback being a position of some consternation for the Yanks in recent years.

2019 MLS Best XI Announced

The 2019 edition of the MLS Best XI has been announced and its a list that contains relatively few surprises. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Josef Martinez, and Carlos Vela are the three forwards, Maxi Moralez and Alejandro Pozuelo are included in the midfield, and the stellar MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara is in the back line. Vito Mannone was Minnesota United’s second representative after being included in the goalkeeper spot, and 2019 MLS Newcomer of the Year Carles Gil was also included in the midfield. You can find the full team here.

Playoff Times Are A’Changin’

For the very first time since the first MLS season, none of the original 10 member teams of the league are in the conference finals. Toronto FC, the Seattle Sounders, LAFC, and Atlanta United all entered the league after 1996, and the LA Galaxy’s loss to LAFC in the conference semifinals meant that the last hope of the old guard was gone. Of the 10 original MLS teams, five qualified for this year’s postseason, so the change isn’t completely abrupt. D.C. United, FC Dallas, the New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, and the Galaxy all made the postseason, but the Galaxy were the only of those teams to reach the conference semifinals. Turn up the Bob Dylan, because the times, they are a’changin’.

Free Kicks
  • A member of the Orlando City family is departing to seek a new challenge.

That’ll be all for me today. I’m off to fill my bathtub with frigid water and ice and lay in it, Titanic-style. Y’all stay safe out there.