Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, USMNT, and CONCACAF Champions League links for Wednesday May 28, 2014

#DCU4Diskerud - Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United may appeal Eddie Johnson's suspension, while off the field the political games have only just begun in pursuit of a stadium deal. All this plus the CCL draw and the USMNT in today's Freedom Kicks.

Plenty of links for you today, including a few on the all-important stadium front:

D.C. United news and notes | Soccer Insider
Steve Goff has some news for us: D.C. United may be appealing Eddie Johnson's red card against the New England Revolution, Chris Rolfe's allegedly minor hamstring ailment may keep him out of a second consecutive game, and United will have three players - Sean Franklin, Conor Doyle, and Luis Silva - at more or less full strength this weekend.

Soccer stadium deal lands with legislators | District of DeBonis
Elsewhere at the Post, District blogger Mike DeBonis starts his own link round-up with a few words on the status of United's stadium deal. Short version: It's completely up in the air at this point.

With a D.C. United stadium deal on the table, will D.C. Council play ball? | Washington Business Journal
Daniel Sernovitz of WBJ spoke with council chairman Phil Mendelson, who had some positive things to say about the deal but also expressed reservations about the tax abatements involved.

Community Garden Could Become Substation Under D.C. United Deal | Washington City Paper
If the stadium deal does go through, the city will lose an urban garden when Pepco relocates the substation that has to move. I have the same idea as Matthew, a commenter on the piece: Make the community garden part of the stadium grounds.

Breakdown: D.C. United reclaims identity through application and diligence | FoxSports.com
When Kyle McCarthy takes a look at United, he sees a team with a vastly improved mentality compared to last year's debacle of a team.

Training Notes: May 27, 2014 | DCUnited.com
On the docket as Doyle and Silva returned to training: Various warm-up drills, agility work, 11v9 high-pressure keep away, and 8v8 games played on half of a normal-sized field. Dealing with congested space and constant harassment in possession is crucial for this weekend's game against Sporting Kansas City, so those last two were smart choices. It's worth noting that Doyle and Silva both scored twice in those 8v8 matches.

CONCACAF Draw Tomorrow, May 28 | DCUnited.com
United will learn its CCL opponents and schedule at 7pm tonight. We'll have coverage of the draw after it happens, but since I ran out of time to do a real preview here's the TL;DR version:

Favorable draw - Caribbean teams
Unfavorable draw - Costa Rican teams (Alajuelense and Saprissa are confirmed, and unless Belize built a CONCACAF-approved stadium over the last year, my guess is that there will be a third Costa Rican side taking the spot of Belize's entrant, the well-named Belmopan Bandits)

Rhinos Advance Against Reading | USLPro.com
Speaking of tournaments United is in, we now know who we start our US Open Cup defense against. The Rochester Rhinos of USL-PRO made hard work of their home game against the PDL's Reading United - who saw University of Virginia star Darius Madison sent off in extra time - but eventually finished off the visitors 2-1. Colin Rolfe (no relation to Chris) scored the winner in the 119th minute.

United will play the Rhinos in Rochester on June 17th. The remaining fifteen Third Round matches will take place tonight.

United Drives to Collect Toiletries for Thrive DC | DCUnited.com
Do you and a friend need tickets to Saturday's game? Bring some toiletries, get a buy one, get one free voucher.

USA vs. Azerbaijan: Final score 2-0, USMNT unimpressive in World Cup tune-up win | SBNation.com
Shifting gears, Ryan Rosenblatt sums up a slightly discouraging outing for the national team. Mix Diskerud and Aron Johansson scored in the final fifteen minutes to give the USMNT a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan, a team that likely wouldn't have gotten into the Hexagonal at all if they were in CONCACAF. Hopefully this was just an example of a team doing two-a-days and lots of fitness having heavy legs, and the game could have been a blowout if Chris Wondolowski had been more precise on two early chances, but it's still tough to draw much to be optimistic about from this game.

Clint Dempsey injures groin, out of USMNT lineup | Stars and Stripes FC
This is just to further dampen your spirits. Dempsey is said to be in no danger of missing games; hopefully he's not just fit enough to play come June 16th, but in the sort of form that saw him laying waste to MLS defenses before camp.

That's it for me. Got some comments? Maybe some Klinsi rage you haven't expressed, or a preferred CCL opponent? Or perhaps you just had a good lunch? Either way, have at it in the comments.

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