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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, MLS, and USMNT links for Wednesday May 21st, 2014

Today's round of Freedom Kicks includes bad news for D.C. United fans, plus a look around MLS and an interview with a USMNT player. Plus there might be free pie at the end, who knows?

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Today in Freedom Kicks, we start with the bad news, but things get less bad as we go along. I promise.

MLS Disciplinary Committee suspends DC United's Eddie Johnson, Portland Timbers' Alvas Powell
I know I like to start my day off with bad news, so here goes: The MLS Disciplinary Committee has suspended Eddie Johnson for tonight's game against Houston for what they are calling a "reckless challenge" against the Impact. Personally I think it's a bit harsh, but I do feel like EJ could have done better to not make contact with Troy Perkins.

I also got the sense on Twitter last night that I had one of the least angry reactions - in that I didn't swear while objecting to the suspension - so if you need to rage, head to the comments.

Talking Strategy: D.C. United vs Houston Dynamo |
This link is less likely to incite a rabble. Preston Burpo tells Molly Bruh some things the coaching staff is looking for from Houston tonight.

2014 U.S. Open Cup fourth round draw: Union host Harrisburg or Baltimore |
Jonathan Tannenwald compiled all the potential dates of every fourth round US Open Cup game. On our end, things are simple: The game will be the evening of Tuesday, June 17th, regardless of whether it's away (if the Rochester Rhinos win) or at the Soccerplex (if Reading United AC wins).

2014 World Cup: Graham Zusi explains how MLS, Sporting KC are fueling USMNT | Sports Illustrated
Brian Straus is at USMNT camp, and yesterday he put out this video interview with Graham Zusi. Better questions here than your normal heading into halftime, "Graham, tell us about how you scored that goal" mini-interviews you often see.

The MLS Grinder: The jazzmen of the Revolution | The 91st Minute
Will Parchman's "The MLS Grinder" pieces are usually worth your time, and this one concerns the Revolution, who we'll play on the weekend. If you want to know how they've scored five goals in two straight matches, this will give you an idea.

Colorado Rapids forward Gabriel Torres to miss next three games to work on muscle strengthening |
Gabriel Torres has been among the least effective DPs in MLS this season. Apparently the Rapids think they have the issue figured out: He has some sort of muscular damage that needs to be rehabbed before he can play again. I say "some sort" because Colorado has not specified where he's injured at all. It's a strange one.

Houston's attempt to sign Ben Speas on loan comes too late | @AdamJardy
Adam Jardy covers the Columbus Crew beat, and he has an interesting note here: The Crew and the Dynamo reached a deal to send Crew homegrown winger Speas to the Dynamo for an intraleague loan - likely to cover for Tony Cascio, who is also a loanee with the Dynamo but tore his ACL - but neither side was aware that MLS has a deadline for this sort of deal. It was news to me, as well, so there you go. This year's deadline was apparently May 12th.

Fear the Underdog? | Grantland
Brian Phillips could turn the mundane tale of your 9v9 coed team's 3W-3D-3L season into a grand saga worth reading twice, so you know he did well with this piece on Atletico Madrid. This was actually written before Atletico's 1-1 draw in Barcelona clinched the La Liga title, but it's worth a look anyway.

And with that, I'm out of links. Use the comments to discuss this stuff, or something else entirely.