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Lion Links: 11/30/21

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Pride set coaching sights on Amanda Cromwell and part ways with Amanda Duffy, Bruce Arena wins coach of the year, and more.

Chicago Red Stars v Orlando Pride Photo by Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Somehow, December is almost upon us, which is absolutely terrifying. Soccer, like the passage of time, stops for no man, woman or child, and that means there’s plenty to talk about today. Let’s get to the links.

Report: Pride Plan to Hire UCLA, Ex-UCF Coach Cromwell

Jeff Kassouf of The Equalizer broke the news last night that the Orlando Pride plan to hire UCLA head coach and former UCF women’s coach Amanda Cromwell as the club’s next manager. Cromwell, a former USWNT midfielder/defender, led the Bruins to their first ever national championship in 2013 and nearly won another title at Exploria Stadium in the 2017 College Cup, but her team fell 3-2 to rival Stanford. Obviously this isn’t a done deal yet, but Cromwell would be an interesting hire. She was the college coach of Orlando’s Viviana Villacorta, although the latter lost her 2021 pro season to a knee injury and has yet to play for the Pride. According to Wikipedia, her senior career as a player includes stints with the Orlando Lions and the Maryland Pride, so maybe she was destined to lead the Orlando Pride?

Amanda Duffy Departs Pride

Amanda Duffy is no longer in her role as the executive vice president of soccer operations for the Orlando Pride. The Pride made the announcement yesterday, saying that it was a decision made after examining the way the club is structured and operates. Duffy leaves after being on the job for a little under two years, having taken over for General Manager Erick Ustruck on Jan. 7, 2020. Duffy’s exit is the first move made regarding the front office under the new ownership of the Wilf family. It’s worth noting that Stephanie Yang of The Athletic reported that the move was solely for organizational reasons, and was not related to the slew of recent allegations of abuse and improper behavior that have plagued the NWSL.

Bruce Arena named Coach of the Year

Bruce Arena has been named the MLS Coach of the Year. This makes the fourth time that Arena has won the award, and the first time with the New England Revolution. Winning the Supporters Shield and setting the MLS points record was enough to secure the honor for Arena, and the Revs’ head man is now the only coach to win the award with three different teams, having done so twice with the LA Galaxy, once with D.C. United, and now once with New England. The job Arena has done since taking over for Brad Friedel is even more impressive considering how the club was struggling before his arrival. However, the individual accolade likely won’t mean much if the Revs don’t take care of business against NYCFC tonight.

Dos Santos Leaves LA Galaxy

Nani isn’t the only club captain to be departing his team this off-season, as Jonathan dos Santos has left the LA Galaxy. Dos Santos is out of contract and was not given a new deal, with the club and dos Santos making announcements about his departure yesterday. The Mexican midfielder joined the team from Villareal in 2017 and notched six goals and 12 assists in 103 regular season games. Dos Santos occupied a Designated Player spot alongside Chicharito but missed a lot of time the last two seasons between injuries and national team call-ups. The Galaxy missing the playoffs, combined with dos Santos’ advancing age (he’ll turn 32 in April), may have contributed to the decision, and like Orlando, it will be interesting to see how they reload.

Omicron in Portugal Top Flight Club

Thirteen cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 have been discovered in a Portuguese soccer club. Belenenses SAD has a player who recently returned from South Africa, and the 13 cases were pinged among the players and club staff. The diagnoses came after the top flight club played a match against Benfica on Saturday in which it was only able to field nine players at the outset of the match due to a COVID-19 outbreak. After halftime, only seven of the Belenenses players returned to the field and the game was abandoned two minutes after the restart with Benfica holding a 7-0 lead. Yesterday, Belenenses asked the league to invalidate the result of the game and arrange a rematch.

Free Kicks

That does it for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.