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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, MLS, USMNT, and CONCACAF links for Wednesday December 24th, 2014

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A local institution shuts its doors, Cubo Torres is headed to Houston, Gedion Zelalem didn't actually do anything, and we may have learned how CONCACAF qualifying is going to work.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday!!!

Soccer bar Summers nearing final whistle | Soccer Insider
Let's start off with Steve Goff's story on the unfortunate end for Summers, the Arlington soccer bar that plenty of us visited before streaming video and the proliferation of soccer channels changed the lives of American soccer fans.

I have a couple noteworthy Summers memories, but the one I'll talk about is the 2004 Eastern Conference semifinal. The first leg saw D.C. United visit the Metrostars, and with scores level 0-0 Ryan Nelsen played a long ball over the top for Earnie Stewart to pursue. Stewart pops up on screen in a position that made it impossible for him to be onside. Usain Bolt wouldn't have been able to get that far past the Metro back four without being offside. The flag stayed down, though, and Stewart scored a goal that the Metros never recovered from.

Watching at Summers, I was not alone among United fans in reacting to the goal with laughter. The three replay angles made it funnier: One shot showed Nelsen and the Metros offside line, but not where Stewart was when the ball was struck. The second angle, from in the corner, showed Nelsen and Stewart, but not the whole back four. The third shot showed Stewart making his run through the back four, but not when Nelsen struck the ball. It was like no one anywhere could prove what was obvious. It was the kind of thing soccer nerds would laugh about, and the room was chock full of them.

That's my weird way of saying that Summers was a great place to watch a game with a soccer-educated crowd. I'll miss it.

Houston Dynamo sign Erick Cubo Torres | Dynamo Theory
Huge news in Houston, as the Dynamo have added Cubo to a team that will start Oscar Boniek Garcia, Brad Davis, and Giles Barnes next year.

Well, they've added him to that roster from summer onward, that is. Assuming he does in fact leave Chivas Guadalajara, the club he's said multiple times he dreams of playing for. I'm sure Houston signed Torres with a very firm statement that he will only be loaned to Original Chivas for the spring season in Liga MX (Chivas is in danger of relegation and part of the problem is a lack of goalscorers). However, if you loan a dude to his favorite club, and he does well there...well, Frank Lampard isn't even a Man City fan and you've probably heard how that's going.

Anyway, it's still probable that Cubo shows up in the summer wearing orange. If the Dynamo can stay in touch until then - and they ended 2014 as a tough out once Ricardo Clark and Luis Garrido were paired centrally - they're going to be a real threat out West.

Lastly: Houston likely paid about $7.5 million to acquire Torres. You know who will stop losing $7-10 million a year due to their stadium situation? Yeah. Soon my friends, soon.

Say what you will, but it looks like Chivas USA got a monumental bargain with Erick "Cubo" Torres | The Goat Parade
Alicia Rodriguez has covered the Cubo saga from start to finish, and points out how unlikely it was for a player of his quality to ever take the field in a Goats jersey. Chivas Mexico generally sent 2nd division-level players up, and the results Chivas USA put together underlined that. Oddly enough, it was only because of the chaos in Guadalajara that Torres resurrected his career in MLS, and that means he can come back to Guadalajara. Follow all that? It makes sense if you've had your morning coffee.

Did Gedion Zalalem just become a USA citizen? Nope | Stars and Stripes FC
It's not American soccer unless we all get totally worked up about a tweet that later turns out to be innocuous or meaningless.

Whitecaps poised to add scorer Octavio Rivero | Vancouver Sun
The Vancouver Whitecaps have been a lot more "miss" than "hit" when it comes to their slew of international strikers, but their one true hit won the Golden Boot and eventually got them a seven-figure transfer fee. If Rivero is another hit, watch out.

On the other hand, you have to wonder what happens with Darren Mattocks. His talent is undeniable, and MLS teams will line up to make a trade and see if they can unlock it.

Colorado Rapids' MLS Cup-winning head coach Gary Smith is back in the USA with Silverbacks | MLSsoccer.com
Prediction: Atlanta knocks an MLS side out of the US Open Cup again this year. Gary Smith is not going to win people over with his style or innovation, but his Rapids teams were solid and effective. Several MLS coaches have gotten second chances that should have gone his way (looking at you, Frank Klopas).

Here's an interesting bit of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying news:

I'll close with a confession: I will probably be among the horde of tense shoppers out in the world today finishing up my gift shopping. It's a shame, but it's true. Feel free to regale me with your horror stories from similar experiences, or to heap scorn on me for being part of the problem.