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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, Buzzard Point Stadium, USMNT, and US Open Cup links for Wednesday June 4th, 2014

Small news on the field for D.C. United, but big-ish news off of it. Plus we find out who United would face in the 5th round of the US Open Cup, and plenty of World Cup-related stuff. This round of Freedom Kicks is packed with good stuff.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

No real intro today, as I go on long enough below. This is today's open thread:

Fabian Espindola nominated for Etihad Airways Player of the Month for May |
I've already resigned myself to Espindola getting little or no MVP attention nationally, but that's because I am a misanthrope. While several New England players may also get attention here, there's an argument to be made that no one in MLS is carrying his team like United's #9, and his performances in May were, at worst, "really good."

DCU to host World Cup Watch Party 6/22 | @SoccerInsider
Steve Goff may be (understandably) more focused on USMNT duty at the moment, but sometimes his beats dovetail. For those of you on the wrong side of the Virginia border, United's watch party on the day of USA vs. Portugal will go from noon to 9pm at the Reston Town Center. I'll be elsewhere, obviously.

Tuesday's Practice Pitch Updates - With Audio | Massive Report
United faces the Columbus Crew on Saturday, so it's appropriate to check in with what they're up to. This one leans heavily towards their game tonight with Real Salt Lake, but it's still worth a read.

D.C. United soccer stadium hearing set for June 26 | District of DeBonis
In news that is somehow not at all surprising, DC city council chairman Phil Mendelson has scheduled the first of what will likely be several hearings on the Buzzard Point stadium deal on June 26th. You know, the same day as the USMNT faced Germany in something called the "World Cup," which I'm to understand is fairly important for soccer types.

This link has plenty of info on which hoops the stadium will have to jump through, so be sure to read up.

Also, I asked Mike DeBonis, the author of the piece, if he thinks there's any chance the city council will change the date of the hearing. He said yes, if the complaints come in fast.

DC residents, this especially applies for you: Contact your councilmember and ask for a date change in the most polite way you can. Marylanders like me and Virginians like much of the fanbase can also complain, but those of you living in the District will actually get attention. And remember: Twitter is probably the least effective method to make an impact. Taking the time - if you have it - to write an email or call will go further.

D.C. United stadium's fate will be determined by next mayor, Mendelson says |
Mendelson also noted that, no matter how hard he tries, Vincent Gray is pretty unlikely to get the stadium deal done. Like it or not, we're kind of in the hands of skeptics Muriel Bowser and David Catania. On the plus side, Catania's stance on this stadium is nowhere near as furious as he was over Nationals Park.

Even Tommy Wells Isn’t Sure About the D.C. United Stadium | Washington City Paper
Speaking of votes in flux, outgoing councilmember Tommy Wells - formerly a loud proponent of the stadium - says he can't vote yes on the deal after the potential for a streetcar stop was killed in favor of tax cuts. That's pretty bad news, but Wells will leave the council in January. Given that the stadium's chances of being passed with Gray still in office appear to be very slim, it's likely that stadium proponents - that's you and me - need to get the next Ward 6 councilmember on board for a 2015 push to get the bill passed.

La Barra Brava: Why US football fans chant in Spanish |
The BBC did this short video on the Barra and the bilingual nature of United fandom. Some of you may well be in this video.

2014 US Open Cup Round 5 draw unveiled; potential matchups known for June 24-25 |
United's potential opponent in the 5th round of this year's US Open Cup is, unsurprisingly, the winner of the match between the Richmond Kickers and the New England Revolution. The good news here: United will host either side at the Soccerplex. A potential game against Richmond would take place June 24th at 7pm, while a pairing with the Revs is TBA (but would have to take place either the 24th or 25th).

Frank Hanrahan called Fabian Espindola’s goal for D.C. United, and it was amazing | DC Sports Bog
There was a time when the Bog covered United regularly. A big factor in those days ending was that United simply stopped being good, which meant a lot of unhappy players, coaches, and fans, which meant a lack of Bog-worthy material. One can only hope this year's team helps correct the issue.

The MLS Grinder: How Frank Klopas channeled Hannibal | Top Drawer Soccer
There's a reason I link to The Grinder (Will Parchman's weekly piece on MLS). They're not just worth reading for the tactical discussion, either. This week's reference involves the Second Punic War.

Bill Clinton Got Pretty Mad When He Found Out That Qatar Was Chosen to Host the World Cup | New York Magazine
One of us! One of us!

Growing Up In U.S. Soccer’s Dark Ages |
I often wind up as the old soccer head in any given conversation on the game, so naturally I really enjoyed this piece by Andy Glockner on watching American soccer's growth over the last 25 years.

The Quiet Tragedy of Alvaro Saborío’s World Cup Injury | Grantland
This isn't about the USMNT or DC United, but Graham Parker is good and I'll always enjoy the idea of England struggling with a team they can't be bothered to treat with respect.

E:60 Qatar's World Cup |
If you didn't catch it on TV, here's Jeremy Schaap's gut-wrenching report on Qatar's labor force. Find 17 minutes to watch it, but be prepared to feel sick afterward.

Finally, because this has been a pretty unpleasant Freedom Kicks, we close with Jon Bois and the last piece in his series on the NBA 2k14 video game. While "ALL IS LOST" screams more sadness, this is actually the hilarious result of taking a sports video game and making every player in it awful. Please make sure to watch the video segments.

Have thoughts? Sure you do. Comment where comments go!