Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, USMNT, and MLS links for Wednesday March 18th, 2014

It was one of those nights for LA. - Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday's Freedom Kicks involve United, kids who want to play for United, voters, recruiting, friendlies, disappointment, and predictable results. This is B&RU's open thread for the day.

One more day until March Madness! Also, one more day of dismal, dreary weather before we get some sun. Until then, you'll have to subsist on these internet links I found with my computer machine and my eyeballs:

After dismal 2013 campaign, DC United boss Ben Olsen says pressure same as it ever was |
The ubiquitous Pablo Maurer talked to Ben Olsen and Conor Doyle about the pressure to get things right. Nothing like a player already talking about fighting for jobs before said player's team has played their second game of the season. These are the things that happen when you're historically bad.

Training Notes: March 18, 2014 |
On the positive side, D.C. United had what sounds like a very good training session despite having to do so at an indoor facility merely half an hour away in Maryland on Saturn. Molly Bruh reports on what went well and which players used obscenities while praising another person.

FC Dallas' Toyota Stadium to host 2014 Generation adidas Under-17 Cup starting April 14 |
Next month, United's under-17 team will take part in a tournament featuring the u17s of nearly every MLS club. United didn't qualify to be in the "international tier" - which is mostly MLS youth teams anyway - and will instead take part in the "national tier" of the tournament with seven other MLS clubs who didn't get into the big show. It's like the Europa League of under-17 youth tournaments...happening in April.

MLS Power Rankings, Week 2: No denying Houston Dynamo the top spot |
This being United, we must end on a down note. Despite the absolute train wreck up in New England, the league's official site lists DC dead last in their power rankings. You'd think not playing would be better than, say, dropping your best and most crucial player, benching several others while not benching the player who was directly responsible for two goals in week one, getting your tactics all wrong, and being fortunate to only lose by one would be enough to fall to last, but you would be wrong.

Look for next week's Power Rankings to list United in last even after Jay Heaps burns Gillette Stadium down after a series of avoidable blunders. 2013 has an aftertaste.

Julian Green picks U.S. over Germany |
Taylor Twellman - who has emerged as the best-connected person in US soccer over the past few months - tweeted the news first, and this piece from Doug McIntyre fleshes out the details. Green, an 18 year old winger/forward at Bayern Munich, has filed the required paperwork with FIFA to switch his international allegiance from Germany (where he has played for their under-19 team) to the US.

While it must be pointed out that US fans haven't seen Green play unless they regularly attend Bayern training sessions, it still says a lot about how the USMNT has become a more attractive option than in the past, where we were snapping up guys like David Regis (who was eligible for France the same way Taylor Kemp is eligible for the US). Even if Green has finished developing and turns out to be a bust, it's a big positive for the USMNT to be able to lure players away from a traditional power like Germany.

USA will play September friendly vs. Czech Republic | Stars and Stripes FC
Speaking of the USMNT, we already have our first post-Brazil friendly lined up. The Czech Republic isn't as strong as they once were, but they're still a solid opponent. At least the beer will be good.

LA Galaxy surrender CONCACAF Quarterfinal to Club Tijuana | LAG Confidential
The Galaxy had the easiest path to the CCL semifinals of the three MLS clubs left. Unlike San Jose, they won their home leg. Unlike Sporting KC (who also won at home), they were facing a struggling side at sea level rather than a championship contender in Mexico City.

Unfortunately, they were woefully unprepared to seize the opportunity. Tijuana wiped out LA's first leg advantage after just 58 seconds, moved ahead after nine minutes, and made it 3-0 in the 26th minute. If that doesn't sound bad enough, they also hit the crossbar twice during the same timeframe. The final 4-2 scoreline on the night really just flattered LA.

tl;dr James Riley played a CCL knockout game and his team lost.

Chelsea cruise past diabolical Galatasaray | We Ain't Got No History
Oh, right, and the other Champions League continued yesterday. Chelsea actually had some work to do after a 1-1 draw in Istanbul, but ultimately they coasted to a 3-1 aggregate win over a surprisingly toothless Galatasaray. Samuel Eto'o and Gary Cahill scored in the first half, Eden Hazard caused problems all night. Hooray having unlimited funding to buy players!

Real Madrid Vs Schalke 04, UEFA Champions League 2013-2014: A Convincing But Bittersweet Victory | Managing Madrid
Speaking of bottomless pockets, Real Madrid finished pulverizing Schalke 04 with a 3-1 home win taking the aggregate score up to 9-2. Real rested some players, but still sent Cristiano Ronaldo out to score twice, which is cold...blooded.

It wasn't all good news for Carlo Ancelotti's side though, as oft-used substitute Jese Rodriguez tore his ACL in the match.

2 winning tickets in $400M Mega Millions jackpot |
Someone in Maryland will split this jackpot with someone in Florida. It wasn't me, or I'd have bailed on writing this to start assembling stadium building supplies. However, I know many of you have publicly promised to build a stadium if you won the lottery, so if it was you...get to work!

With that, the stage is yours. Use the comments to discuss whatever it is you want to discuss. I mean, unless you won the lottery and bought SB Nation, in which case I can't tell you what to do.

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