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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, USMNT, and US Open Cup links for Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Due to a lack of other news, we're still talking about EJ being left off the US World Cup roster. Well, that plus thoughts on D.C. United, USMNT, shirts that are better than you, US Open Cup, and a few stories from abroad.

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

There wasn't as much D.C. United news as there normally is on a Tuesday, but I did my best and padded this out with links to USMNT, US Open Cup, and international stories. I didn't even have to resort to linking to anything about Kurt Russell or whatever 90s thing I'm stuck on, so congratulations I guess?

Freedom Kicks!

DC United head coach Ben Olsen "extremely disappointed" for USMNT snub Eddie Johnson |
Maybe EJ takes this snub on the chin and comes roaring back to form in an effort to prove Jurgen Klinsmann wrong. It'd be pretty impressive, given how awful it must feel to go from World Cup shoe-in to not even on the provisional 30-man roster. As United fans, all we can really do is hope EJ proves Klinsmann wrong through the rest of 2014.

Eddie Johnson didn't earn his place | Stars and Stripes FC
B&RU (and virtually everyone else on SB Nation)'s Kevin McCauley comes at the EJ issue from the other side. Some cold hard facts here, it must be said.

How D.C. United turned things around |
Brendan Darr looks at some of the available data on how United is no longer a constant disaster at soccer. I'm not convinced by some of the metrics he consulted - Squawka's player score, for example, seems to indicate that Fabian Espindola has made a significantly less positive contribution over his nine starts than Chris Rolfe has in three - but the idea that United's improvements are more on the defensive end is valid.

Philadelphia Union manager on "Fire Hackworth" chant: "I certainly heard the fans" |
Unfortunately for Union fans, John Hackworth did not join Bob Bradley and Hans Backe on the list of rival head coaches fired after a demoralizing loss to United. The rest of the Eastern Conference should be quietly pleased that he'll continue to lead Philly for the time being.

The 10 Most Significant Goals In U.S. Soccer History #10: Rewritten History | Sports Illustrated
The World Cup is in a month, and SI is doing some great work with this collection of pieces on vital, transformative goals in American soccer history. I'm linking to the first piece, by Brian Straus, but links to the other pieces that have been released are there too.

World Cup: Cristiano Ronaldo highlights list of 30 players on Portugal preliminary World Cup roster |
Feeling good about Bert Patenaude's hat trick? Well, now I've ruined it by reminding you that our World Cup group features a team with Cristiano Ronaldo, and that team isn't even the best team in our group.

World Cup: To d-mid or not to d-mid? 25 years of USMNT tactics under the microscope |
Attention tactics nerds: The thrust of this piece by Devin Pleuler is that the USMNT gets better World Cup results playing an anchor-style defensive midfielder, and it's a compelling case containing Opta data from World Cups that happened before Opta was a thing. I don't know how they got it, but it's fascinating stuff.

For me, though, the real reason Klinsmann should opt for a purely defensive midfielder is less about USMNT history and more about current USMNT players. Michael Bradley is at his best playing ahead of another more defensive central midfielder, and since Bradley is our most important player, we should construct a team that lets him play his best role.

TL;DR: Jurgen, please see the light. Don't start Jermaine Jones.

Baltimore Bohemians 2014 kits unveiled | Baltimore Bohemians
I know many of our inside-the-beltway readers see Baltimore as being some mix of a) exactly like The Wire, b) full of uncivilized "Baltimorons," or c) at least 6 hours away by plane. None of these things are true, so you'll have to read this item.

The Bohs justifiably won acclaim with their debut season's home jersey, which was a glorious and beautiful tribute to the only state flag that matters. This year's is not too different, but the emphasis has switched from black/gold to gold/black. I must admit I preferred the 2013 version, but I should also note that the new one is still a staggering piece of clothing fit for the gods. In fact, that doesn't go far enough. The gods don't even deserve to wear it. This shirt >>>>> gods.

Also, Santino Quaranta is their head coach, and they play in the Open Cup tonight against Icon FC.

List of teams that will stream video of their Open Cup games tonight | @usopencup
Speaking of the Open Cup, tonight will be the craziest night in tournament history: 23 of the 24 second round matches will be played tonight, provided there are no forfeits (which, due to there being amateur teams featuring people with real jobs, is always possible this early). This includes the Richmond derby between RVA FC and the Kickers, who will travel the three miles or so north to Sports Backers Stadium. I can only assume that our own Ben Bromley will be there. If not, feel free to hassle him in the comments.

The odd game was last night's dramatic 3-2 win for USL-PRO side Arizona United SC, who were 2-0 down against the Portland Timbers u23 team in the 84th minute but scored twice in four minutes and then bundled in a winner five minutes deep into stoppage time.

Canadian Championship: to offer free stream of semifinal second legs, final |
Speaking of cup soccer, the second legs of both Voyageurs Cup semifinal pairings are tomorrow night. The Montreal Impact will host the NASL's FC Edmonton down 2-1, while Toronto FC posted the same score against what was basically a Vancouver Whitecaps junior team at BMO Field.

Nothing Can Stay Buried | ESPN The Magazine
Wright Thompson wrote this absorbing piece on Bosnia & Herzegovina striker Vedad Ibisevic, who like many Bosnians went through some terrible things as a child during the Bosnian War. If you can't find time today, bookmark this one to read before the World Cup kicks off.