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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, Buzzard Point stadium, and MLS links for Wednesday December 3rd, 2014

So many links you guys. Stadium links. United awards links. MLS teams making moves. Minus zero is a concept. It's wild.


Let's just get right to the news:

D.C. Council approves soccer stadium deal, paving way for games in 2017 | Washington Post
Obviously the big news of the day is that the DC city council has passed the stadium bill. It was not without acrimony, and there were long stretches in which the subject no longer seemed to even be the stadium, but the bill was passed without a single vote against. Mark your calendars for December 16th: That's the big, official, for reals vote. And then after that, hopefully we'll find out where the city's portion of the funding will come from, because right now council chair Phil Mendelson and still-technically-mayor Vince Grey are squabbling pretty loudly over that subject.

Also, I'll keep harping on this until the Post's non-sports pages stop doing it: A nearly twenty year old sports team that makes the local news and is well-known throughout the area does not - does not - need to be referred to with a clarification attached. "The D.C. United soccer franchise" and variations thereof is a needlessly specific way to talk about a team that people are well aware of. Continuing to address the team this way serves to treat it as a curiosity or an obscure local tradition that some handful of people know. United draws Caps and Wizards-sized crowds on a regular basis and deserves a seat at that table.

D.C. Council backs D.C. United stadium plan | Washington Business Journal
Michael Neibauer and the WBJ have no such issues for me to carp on, so maybe read their piece first, or harder, or however you feel this very important semantic score should be settled.

D.C. United’s stadium wait is almost over | Soccer Insider
Or maybe I should have gone with Goff like I often do. Goff has some interesting quotes from Don Garber, who was apparently busy reading texts from Jason Levien during the State of the League address/Q&A circle yesterday.

D.C. Attorney General Says Plan to Fund D.C. United Stadium Is Illegal | Washington City Paper
Will Sommer goes more in-depth on the gritty details of the legality of various stadium funding mechanisms. Did you ever think you'd learn anything about the legality of funding mechanisms for federal cities? Yeah, neither did I, but here we are. Being a United fan probably qualifies all of us for at least a bachelor's degree in something or other.

MLS reveals 2014 Best XI, headlined by Landon Donovan, Thierry Henry |
We wrote about Bill Hamid and Bobby Boswell yesterday, but this is the league's official announcement of the Best XI with a justification of each pick.

Armchair Analyst: An alternate view of the MLS Best XI & why positions matter |
I like Matt Doyle's line of thinking here, but realistically the Best XI is never going to contain fewer than 3 forwards because that's who people remember the most. Anyway, Doyle's got Boswell on his first team, Hamid and Sean Franklin on his second team, and listed Fabian Espindola, Perry Kitchen, and Taylor Kemp (!) among his hardest cuts.

D.C. United boss Ben Olsen named MLS Coach of the Year |
Ben Olsen was also recognized as MLS's top coach yesterday. A lot of stuff happened yesterday. The work Olsen did to steer a mid-level roster made up of so many new faces to the top of the Eastern Conference deserved some kind of award. Probably more than one. I want him to also get some other MLS award, or maybe the Nobel Prize. Or both.

Also worth noting: Oscar Pareja somehow only finished 4th despite playing a ton of kids and having to rebuild his side's entire way of playing on the fly after Mauro Diaz - who FCD built themselves around - got injured early. As someone who will always favor resourcefulness and getting the most out of limited resources over the aristocracy management that goes on in places like Seattle and LA, I think Pareja was the only serious challenger to Olsen's claim. He deserved 2nd.

What the heck is going on with Frank Lampard and NYCFC? | Top Drawer Soccer
So Frank Lampard keeps playing for Man City in important games, and no one wants to come out and say that the initial terms of his loan - which are that he'll join the team for a full preseason - will be followed. I'm a little more confident that NYCFC will get their way than Will Parchman is here, but not by much. Every time Lampard helps City, he's a little less likely to help NYCFC from the start. That's a very Chivas USA way to start your expansion team.

FC Dallas announces roster moves ahead of 2014 Expansion Draft | Big D Soccer
Some big names are possibly on their way out in Dallas, including George John and Hendry Thomas. Both of them have suffered a major knee injury this year, and in fact John has been dealing with multiple separate knee injuries for quite a while now. If he can prove his fitness, though, he's a potential Best XI center back. Thomas is a high-end destroyer, but I can see why Dallas is risking losing him in the RED. The emergence of Victor Ulloa gives them the luxury of cutting salary at that position and using it elsewhere. My purely speculative guess? Someone that didn't make the playoffs adds Thomas to their midfield and instantly becomes harder to beat. Maybe Chicago?

From a United perspective, I could see Ben Olsen being interested in Adam Moffat to bolster central midfield. Moffat would have to be at his best to supplant Davy Arnaud, but he's only 28 and would improve depth there for DCU. I'm not expecting it or anything, but if any FCD player were to land here I'd say Moffat's odds seem the strongest (or maybe I should say "least weak" there).

New York Red Bulls announce they will not exercise options on seven players for the 2015 season |
The cuts continue in Jersey. NYRB has made an offer to the two players I'd have any interest at all in pursuing, so that's that.

MLS Transfer: Fire ink Kennedy Igboananike to DP deal | Hot Time In Old Town
So while some teams are making cuts, and United hasn't even made cuts yet, the Chicago Fire has added a new DP. Kennedy Igboananike has spent his entire career in Sweden, which is usually rated as the third-best Scandinavian league. He's also being labelled a striker by most reports, but as HTIOT notes he's probably more of a wide forward/winger than a #9. Chicago's rate of misses when it comes to DPs is pretty awful, so color me skeptical of a guy coming from Scandinavia's third-best league (possibly illuminating side note that is also an extremely small sample: former LA substitute Michael Stephens is a regular starter for Bob Bradley at Stabaek in Norway, which is generally rated above the Swedish league).

MLS Commissioner Don Garber discusses wide range of topics in State of the League roundtable |
The State of the League probably merits your time, even if Don Garber didn't break any news or take up any surprising positions. The only big news here is that, apparently, there is such a thing as "minus zero."