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Lion Links: 12/21/21

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Uri Rosell departs Orlando, Kris Ward given Spirit job full-time, MLS transfer happenings, and more.

MLS: CF Montreal at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. The holidays are very nearly here, and soccer continues to move along in full swing. There’s lots to talk about today, so let’s jump right in.

Rosell Leaves Lions

Uri Rosell has announced that he will be departing Orlando City. The Spaniard posted on Instagram yesterday that this season was his last as a Lion. The midfielder joined Orlando back before the start of the 2018 season and spent four seasons with the team, notching a couple regular season assists during his time in purple. Rosell was out of contract at the end of this year, and while the club announced that it was in discussions with him over a new deal in its end-of-season roster decisions announcement, its likely that he didn’t wish to take a pay cut (he made $475,000 in 2021) and also wanted to start. We thank Uri for his contributions during his four years as a Lion and wish him luck! #ForeverALion

Spirit Give Ward Full-Time Job

The Washington Spirit have removed the interim tag from head coach Kris Ward, giving him the job on a permanent basis. Ward took the reins with the Spirit after former coach Richie Burke was suspended and subsequently fired following allegations of abuse. Not only did Ward lead the team to a sterling regular season record, going 9-2-3, but the impressive run of results didn’t stop in the regular season. The Spirit carried the momentum all the way to an NWSL championship — the first title in the club’s history. Much like Roberto di Matteo guiding Chelsea to a UEFA Champions League title after taking over midseason, winning silverware is a pretty good way to go from “interim” to full-time head coach.

MLS Transfer Happenings

There are two notable pieces of transfer business to discuss in MLS. First up, Sporting Kansas City signed free agent Ben Sweat to a two-year deal with an option for a third. Sweat was with Austin FC last year, but suffered an ACL injury in April that ended the left back’s season.

Speaking of Austin FC, the Verde & Black have signed free agent midfielder Ethan Finlay to a two-year deal. Finlay was with Minnesota United from 2017 to the end of this season after being drafted by the Columbus crew back in 2012, and will look to add a little more punch to Austin’s attack.

Prem Plows Ahead with Fixtures

The Premier League released a statement saying that it has no plans to alter its fixture schedule among a bona fide COVID-19 outbreak that has spread among its clubs and the United Kingdom as a whole. Six games were not played over the weekend due to COVID-19 outbreaks among various teams, but rather than take a pause in fixtures to try to attempt to stem the spread of the virus among its clubs the league announced its intentions to “continue the current fixture schedule where safely possible.”

Spurs Out of Europa Conference League

In related news, Tottenham Hotspur has been eliminated from the Europa Conference League after UEFA decided that the team forfeited its game against Stade Rennais after Spurs cancelled the fixture due to an outbreak of COVID in the squad. The game was postponed by host Tottenham just hours before kickoff, after an outbreak saw the team close its training ground and postpone its league match against Brighton & Hove Albion. Frankly, I doubt Spurs will be losing too much sleep over the ruling, as the subsequent decrease in fixtures will make life slightly easier for Tottenham.

Free Kicks

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