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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United and MLS links for Tuesday 25 February 2014

Freedom Kicks are part of a balanced breakfast.

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Lots of content yesterday in the world of American soccer - I guess this is what happens when the season is mere days away. Jumping right in:

Nick DeLeon rejuvenated going into 'very big' 2014 | - Yesterday, we looked at Nick DeLeon as he will try to rebound from the subpar 2013 that plagued everybody wearing Black-and-Red. Thomas Floyd sat down with Nicky to talk about exactly that with the player himself.

D.C. United looks to back from record-setting futility | - Yesterday the league website's Matthew Doyle previewed United's season with an article (linked above) and a video (embedded below). I think his projected XI is a bit off (I think we'll see Pontius start the year on the bench as Olsen runs out the lineup from Saturday night in Charleston), but it's tough to quibble with much else.

Ben Olsen 'very excited' with remade squad's progress | - Our buddy Pablo Maurer chats with Ben Olsen about the progress being made by the team down in Charleston.

MLS CBA battle will be fought in the middle | - Jeremiah Oshan looks ahead to a year from now, when - if a new collective bargaining agreement isn't struck between MLS and the players' union - we could be staring down the barrel of a work stoppage. I'm on the record as wanting to see as much money as possible pumped into the bottom half of MLS rosters, even as many team owners want to make big splashes with brand name players. This article sets the table for the negotiations, which could start while the 2014 season is still being played.

MLS MVP Mike Magee reportedly holding out for a new contract | Hot Time In Old Town - SBN's Chicago Fire site is facing their nightmare scenario: the reigning league MVP Mike Magee sitting himself out to force a new contract out of the front office. Fire fans seem to be generally on Magee's side on this. Speculation is that the Fire waiving Frederico Puppo and trading Austin Berry to Philly for allocation are both moves to make a bigger contract for Magic Mike more feasible.

Vergara's Legacy: Ten years of Chivas USA | - If you didn't yesterday, go read this, from The Goat Parade's Alicia Rodriguez, right now.

Will big-spending clubs threaten MLS parity? | FOX Sports - With Toronto FC on track to dramatically exceed any other MLS payroll - even those of big spenders like the LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders - is there a chance that these moneyed clubs will separate themselves from the rest of the pack and break the model of parity that has defined MLS over 19 years? (If you ask me, and last year's MLS Cup finalists, small-market clubs Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City, the answer is "not anytime particularly soon.")

Yankees: Stadium can house NYCFC; MLB: Well... | Empire of Soccer - The new Yankee Stadium is looking like the frontrunner to house NYCFCLOLIDKWTFBBQ for at least the first year of the expansion club's existence in 2015. Major League Baseball is apparently concerned about the safety of baseball players should that option come through. Which is really weird, considering the Nats shared RFK Stadium with D.C. United back when they were owned by - wait for it - Major League Baseball. It's anything but clear that the brand new, state-of-the-art facility that is Yankee Stadium is somehow *less* safe than RFK, which opened in 1961.

Good new, you guys! New Jersey is slightly less scared of snow than they used to be! | - State of the art snow removal, y'all. Or something. Via @GothamistDan.

ESPN announces coverage schedule for 2014 World Cup | ESPN - Get ready for half-hour pregame shows, dedicated post-match SportsCenters and two-hour condensed match programming this summer. All 64 matches will show on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC, and all three USA group stage games will air on ESPN.