A veritable horde of links for those of you who are pretending to work on the day before Thanksgiving:
D.C. United news and notes | Soccer Insider
Steve Goff has some on-field news for us after talking to Dave Kasper. Some of it - see below for more - is probably going to be bad. There's also a mention of United one day starting an in-house USL-PRO side, but anything concerning things like that is contingent on the stadium. Speaking of which...
D.C. Council advances professional soccer stadium, but pitfalls remain | Washington Post
We'll have more on yesterday's hearings on the site in just a few hours. In the meantime, enjoy this rare WaPo non-sports piece that refers to United as "D.C. United" rather than "D.C. United, the professional soccer team you have never heard of and also yes, soccer is a sport played professionally here in the United States believe it or not."
D.C. Council threatens eminent domain in revised D.C. United stadium plan, McMillan on the docket | Washington Business Journal
Michael Neibauer looks at the issues that might well arise between the city and Akridge given that Muriel Bowser has made it clear that eminent domain is on the table.
Moving on, it was house-cleaning day at several MLS teams, and a bunch of notable players are either all the way gone or merely just about gone:
Dynamo Decline Options on Several Players and Other Roster Updates | Dynamo Theory
No real shocks here. Expensive veterans who are backups despite playing at close to their best tend to have their options declined, as do youngsters who will likely be replaced by draft picks. The bigger surprise here is that Alex Lopez has been retained, which points towards the Dynamo asking their coaches to find a way to fit a #10 into their lineup. Dominic Kinnear never did, and Lopez wasn't at all cut out to play their normal style.
Sporting KC makes several roster moves | The Blue Testament
There were much bigger changes to the north of Houston, as KC has apparently hit the salary cap hard and will be undergoing a major restructuring this year. Regulars Sal Zizzo and Toni had their options declined, along with both potential starting GKs (Andy Gruenebaum and Eric Kronberg) and several others. Aurelien Collin, Jacob Peterson, Kevin Ellis, and Soony Saad will all be out of contract as of January 1st, and KC has declared that they've started talks to keep all four. It seems hard to imagine that Collin will accept much of a pay cut after drawing European interest last year. And that's not all:
Olum on his way to Malaysia? | The Blue Testament
Lawrence Olum went from being a depth pick-up from USL-PRO to a starter who Peter Vermes appeared to prefer to Honduran national team regular Jorge Claros this year. This piece is from Monday, but the information has since been confirmed: Olum and KC have agreed to cancel his remaining contract so he can move to a club in the Malaysian league. At 30 years old, Olum can hardly be blamed for accepting what has to be a pretty lucrative offer. It still leaves KC with an issue, even assuming that Claros does better with a full preseason under his belt.
Rapids Decline Options on 11 | Burgundy Wave
The Rapids were a mess this season, and normally you'd say it's either on the players or a roster that doesn't make much sense. Here, the issue is different: The players aren't as bad as their record, and the roster isn't a particularly great example of a poorly-constructed team. Pablo Mastroeni's bizarre and never-ending squad rotation is probably a big factor in Colorado's problems. As such, it's hard to be sure whether a guy like Marvell Wynne is as bad as he looked this year, or if he just wasn't getting the chance to establish a true rapport with his teammates.
One name that really intrigues me for United would be Carlos Alvarez, who was the #2 overall pick by Chivas USA in 2013. He was traded away, bizarrely, for Nathan Sturgis, and now is likely to have to accept a pay cut (if the Rapids offer him anything). From the outside looking in, this is not so much a reflection on Alvarez as much as the result of playing for two teams that were run horrendously during his time there. Alvarez could give United a more attacking look from Davy Arnaud's #8 role, and he's also spent time on both flanks as an inverted wide man. I'm not saying United will go get him, but if they did he'd be an instant upgrade on Lewis Neal (and he's only 24).
A number of key players returning in 2015 | ImpactMontreal.com
Troy Perkins is headed for the Re-Entry Draft, while Gorka Larrea - a player I had expected to do more than sit the bench behind Calum Mallace - is not coming back. A sneaky-big issue for the Impact: Find a way to keep Andres Romero, who provided 6 goals from the wings in the second year of his loan from Brazilian club Tombense. Montreal can't really afford to have the monster rebuild they already face and then also lose one of their only true goal threats.
Sebastián Fernandez Suspended Four Games | Eighty Six Forever
Remember that bad news I mentioned before? Well, this is an indicator of what we can expect for Fabian Espindola at the start of next season. In fact, it might even be a game more since Fernandez may or may not have made any contact with officials. We could be looking at 5 games here, which is enough of the season that United may have to make moves now (i.e. protecting Eddie Johnson or Chris Pontius) to make sure there's enough attacking depth to start the season reasonably well.
Columbus Crew SC announce new USL PRO affiliation with newcomers Austin Aztex, replacing Dayton Dutch Lions | MLSsoccer.com
So Columbus has a USL-PRO side in their own state, and instead chose to go with a brand-new team in Texas? Not a good look for Dayton.
MLS Insider: How Oscar Pareja became "El Profe" for FC Dallas | MLSsoccer.com
Ever wondered what Oscar Pareja did to get Fabian Castillo to become the elite threat he is? A big slice of the answer is probably in this video.
Thierry Henry ready for first game on New England Turf | MLS Now | MLSsoccer.com
This is less about Thierry Henry - he who created the sun and the moon, and who can't be bothered to play at several MLS venues, which I'm sure is very inspirational to his teammates - and more about the Revs-NYRB second leg in general. Ignore the clickbait title and watch for Jesse Marsch's excellent breakdown of some issues New England was lucky not to pay for in the first leg.
Orlando City Committed to Making Playoffs in 2015 | American Soccer Now
Orlando City president Phil Rawlins talked to Brian Sciaretta about all kinds of stuff. If you want to learn about the East Coast's new southern outpost - it had been us for a long, long time - this is a good place to start.
Now there’s a whole website (that isn’t YouTube) devoted to streaming MST3K | AV Club
Let's end with good news, and hope that one day Thick McRunfast joins United and leads us to glory.
OK, comment and/or go on a long MST3K joke run.