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D.C. United roster moves, USWNT vs. Australia, Rangnick in at Manchester United, and more: Freedom Kicks for 11/30/2021

All that, plus the Washington Spirit reportedly in talks with Kris Ward over the head coaching gig

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Caitlin Buckley / Black and Red United

Good morning! D.C. United made its end-of-season roster moves, the Washington Spirit-heavy USWNT finished their match in Australia about an hour ago, and I am most likely asleep, because yesterday I got my Covid-19 booster.

My enthusiasm for being vaccinated can be summed up here:

However, enthusiasm in this case also comes with some fatigue, so I’m sleeping in.

Anyway, the news:

D.C. United announce post-season roster moves | Black and Red United
All the moves United made are spelled out here. I can’t say I found any of the choices surprising, and the reality of seeing United with free international spots — they have five players taking up six spots at the moment, since Erik Sorga is away on loan, and are about to get two more from past trades back — is pretty exciting.

Steven Goff at the Washington Post is reporting that the Spirit have talked to Kris Ward about becoming the team’s permanent head coach. Given that they a) won the NWSL championship and b) haven’t lost a game that they actually played under Ward, this is not a surprising move.

USA vs. Australia, 2021 friendly: What to watch for | Stars and Stripes FC
This game already happened, but if you’re like me and watching it after the fact, Donald’s write-up over at Stars and Stripes is good pre-game material.

Also, while we’re here, it’s Donald’s birthday, so wish him well!

Rhian Wilkinson named Thorns FC head coach |
The Portland Thorns have officially announced that Rhian Wilkinson is their new head coach, some time after it was first reported. She’s got some good experience within the Canada youth national team program and as an assistant with two senior national teams, but the Thorns job is (in my book) the biggest single job in woso other than the USWNT. It’s a big step up for just about everyone.

Sources: Orlando Pride to hire Amanda Cromwell as head coach | Equalizer Soccer
Continuing the run of NWSL coaching jobs being filled, Jeff Kassouf is reporting that the Orlando Pride will hire UCLA head coach Amanda Cromwell. It’s just after they announced that Amanda Duffy is no longer at the club in what feels like a bit of a sea change for the Pride.

How to watch NYCFC at New England Revolution | Hudson River Blue
The MLS playoffs are once again playing on Tuesday for reasons beyond my ability to understand. Revs-NYCFC should be the pick of this round, though, so hopefully it’s a fun game.

Official: Ralf Rangnick in at Manchester United, questionable for Arsenal | The Busby Babe
The man that wrote the book for NYRB (and the rest of the Red Bull club apparatus) has taken over at Manchester United.

Alexia Putellas and Lionel Messi win 2021 Ballon d’Or – as it happened | The Guardian
Messi won his, I don’t know, 19th Ballon d’Or.

Alexia Putellas won her first, and that’s where I have more of an opinion. This isn’t about whether she’s a worthy winner; Putellas is a phenomenal player, and I don’t watch enough European woso to really formulate an opinion. My issue is this: the final shortlist appears to be built around the idea that the USWNT disappointed at the Olympics, so therefore they get few nominees. Meanwhile, the logic doesn’t go the other way, as many players who didn’t even play in the Olympics, or whose teams did worse than the USWNT, did get nominated. NWSL play doesn’t factor at all (a recurring theme in this award that is flawed to the point of meaninglessness).

So anyway I think it’s a clown award because they can’t show their work. Getting the outcome right (which only happens some of the time) only papers over an insultingly flawed process.

Portugal finds 13 cases of Omicron variant at Lisbon soccer club | Reuters
Man, this is just bad news.

‘Bruce has always been Bruce’: The influential beginnings of Bruce Arena’s coaching career at the University of Puget Sound | The Athletic
As you’d expect, this story on Bruce Arena’s early days starts with a wildly dangerous situation involving a U-Haul.

Alright that’s it for me. Please don’t wake me. Just let me emerge from my slumber.