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Lion Links: 12/29/19

SeaWolves deal yet another important player, the top 10 trades of 2019, Kevin Durant meets with the Union, MLS transfer rumors, and more.

Amy Kontras, Kansas City Comets

“Happy” likely-end-to-your-vacation day, folks (and apologies to the rest of you who already went made their way back to work). I for one, am not prepared to return to work yet. Will I ever be? As the old Tootsie Pop adage went, “The world may never know.” (Those things were disgusting.)

Let’s procrastinate thinking about tomorrow by distracting ourselves with some Links, shall we?

SeaWolves Deal Schmermund

The Orlando SeaWolves have traded Richard Schmermund to the Baltimore Blast for financial considerations. You may have noticed that a lot of players have departed recently. Well, SeaWolves GM and Head Coach Chris Kokalis left the team earlier this month and the team has been struggling along under the control of the MASL. The SeaWolves, already a struggling team on the field and at the box office, have lost several of their more important players since that happened — usually for financial considerations. The team was already missing some key pieces due to immigration issues that plague the MASL but hit Orlando particularly hard. A spokesman for the MASL reached out to The Mane Land last night to explain that the league is seeking local owners to take over the SeaWolves and we expect to know more by next week. In the meantime, it sucks to lose a useful player like Schmermund, who was a vital set piece player.

MLS Top 10 Trades of 2019

Trades can be absolute disasters. Remember Justin Meram? Yet, trades can also be a catalyst for a club, proving that one or two players can truly come in and make a difference in a squad. In 2019, Orlando City SC made waves, but not necessarily via trade — hence not making this list. I can’t say there’s too much I disagree with here, either. I think it’s a solid representation of what went well for MLS clubs following trades in 2019. Some of my favorite inclusions are Darlington Nagbe to Atlanta (I know, but boy was he important for our “rivals,” Darwin Quintero to Minnesota, and Zac MacMath to Real Salt Lake. Any thoughts of who could be on this list come 2020? I sure hope Orlando lands someone.

Kevin Durant meets with the Union

The NBA phenom is reportedly interested in becoming an owner of the Philadelphia Union, and met with top executives on Dec. 20. Durant’s investment company, Thirty Five Ventures, wouldn’t be the first iconic player and company to take part in MLS. Former superstar Magic Johnson is a co-owner of Los Angeles FC and Durant’s former teammate, James Harden, bought an ownership stake in the Houston Dynamo earlier this year.

Jill Ellis: A Decade of Success

With glory in her hands and wins in her wake, Jill Ellis, FIFA World Coach of the Year, came from quite humble beginnings — at least when it comes to soccer — as she had no organized game available to her. No matter. She still made a lasting impact on the world’s most dominant soccer program, arguably serving as one of the best coaches that the U.S. Women’s National team has ever had. Ellis sat down with Glenn Crooks and got into the details (well, to an extent) of what it was like being the coach of the powerhouse program.

MLS Rumor Mill

Ah yes, the MLS and rumors. What’s new? While there’s some indication that these moves should occur, nothing is written in stone. Minnesota United is reportedly interested in Christian Rivera of Deportivo Cali, while Facundo Pellistri could be headed to Toronto. Meanwhile, further south, FC Dallas is likely to sign Pablo Aranguiz on loan. All the while, a bevy of French clubs are fighting for the signature of Houston’s Mauro Manotas, so they’ll likely be in the market for a marquee players should Manotas move.

Free Kicks
  • If you had sharp eyes, you might have seen some pics from the Orlando Pride’s “royal wedding.” Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris’ big event happened in Miami. Alex Morgan’s pregnancy is moving along and she’s glowing in this Instagram post from USWNT teammate, Allie Long.
  • U.S. Men’s National Team vet (and once viewed as a potential wonder kid) Juan Agudelo will be an Inter Miami player come 2020 after his rights were traded by Toronto FC, which could not come to terms with the former New England Rev. It cost Miami but a third-round draft pick.
  • As a good friend put it (I don’t think there’s a cooler way to say it): The Kerr has landed. Sam Kerr is ready to take on a new challenge with Chelsea FC Women, which welcomed her Saturday.
  • West Ham has sacked Manuel Pellegrini. Do I need to add more? He’ll be fine, probably landing a job elsewhere with a stronger club. West Ham? I don’t know about you guys. It looks bleak. Just being honest.
  • Let’s end with some fun. This one is easy for me: Andres Iniesta. It isn’t close. At all.

All right folks, that’s it for the day. Do your best to enjoy the day, get outside and get some fresh air, and get ready for 2020! I’m looking at you...ah shit, I’m looking in a mirror. I’ve got some cleaning to do. Ciao!