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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, MLS, and World Cup links for Wednesday July 16th, 2014

D.C. United has added to their TV schedule and perhaps to their roster, other teams around MLS are doing other things, and some World Cup post-mortem pieces. All that plus free cake await you in today's round of Freedom Kicks.

Chosen only because it made me laugh.
Chosen only because it made me laugh.
Matthias Nareyek

I get long-winded later, so I'll keep the intro short. Freedom Kicks!!!

D.C. United and Comcast SportsNet announce additional televised games |
If I'm not the king of complaining about the disappointing nature of United's local TV deals over the last five years, I'm at least a member of the royal family (hopefully an archduke or viscount, or some other silly title). However, that doesn't mean I can't take a second to praise the club and CSN when they improve things, as they've done by adding previously unavailable games to the schedule.

At one point, United had under 75% of their games available for those without an MLS Live account. Now, however, there are only three league matches without TV coverage: 8/23 at KC, 10/18 against Chicago, and 10/25 at Montreal. It's still not where it should be, but it's a hell of a lot better than one in four being online only.

Farm-to-Table: How each MLS side uses the Homegrown tag | Top Drawer Soccer
Will Parchman went through the entire league looking at minutes played by Homegrown players. In all likelihood, there's nothing else you'll read today that makes you feel better about United.

Former Bear Steve Birnbaum Returns to the Bay Area |
San Jose isn't quite Steve Birnbaum's old stomping grounds, but it's close enough that Cal went out to do a brief video interview with their former captain.

El mercado de la BN |
The Argentine press is now treating the "Agustin Farias to DCU" rumor as a solid fact.

Defender White earns Curtin's praise | Daily Local News
Meanwhile in Philly, the Union finally gave Ethan White a game, and he was probably the only defender that played well for them in this weekend's 3-3 draw with Colorado. This piece also has a fun list that shows just how silly John Hackworth's center back selection policy was.

MLS Power Rankings, Week 18: New England Revolution take huge fall as Chivas USA climb |
United is third, which is not really very controversial. The real reason I'm linking this, though, is the one-sentence summation given to the Columbus Crew: "One win in their last 15." That's a DC in 2013 level of sadness! And they aren't even the worst team in the East right now!

Dom Dwyer for USMNT? Sporting KC forward: "Something every player would love to do" |
Free advice, KC: Slow your roll.

Columbus Crew's Bernardo Anor spared on appeal, but Colorado Rapids' Shane O'Neill not so lucky |
Yesterday I took to Twitter and said I expected Bobby Boswell to end up getting a suspension from the DisCo for his knee to the back of Steven Lenhart. Mostly, I was speaking as a fan who has grown paranoid due to United's general bad luck whenever one of our players gets into a gray area discipline-wise. I'm grateful to find out that I was wrong about Boswell, and I'm also pleased to be right about Shane O'Neill, whose tackle on Danny Cruz was a potential leg-breaker and in the discussion for worst tackle in MLS this year. In my opinion, a one-game suspension means he's still getting off easy.

Montreal Impact defender Adrian Lopez out for season after another ACL tear |
In less than a year, Lopez has torn his ACL twice after having no history of knee problems. In bringing him in last year, Montreal appeared to have made a rare intelligent move. Lopez had recently been playing for Getafe in La Liga, and at 26 hadn't yet entered the peak age for a center back. Unfortunately for him, he tore his ACL on his debut - in CCL play; he has yet to take the field in MLS - and has now done so again just as he was in the final stages of his recovery.

Tactical trends of the 2014 World Cup |
Michael Cox is one of the best around at conveying tactical points in a concise manner. Here, he takes a quick look at some things that were popular in the World Cup. Aggressive keepers, wingbacks, false nines, and the possibility that crossing is becoming a bit more fashionable are all under discussion.

What will the next American World Cup look like? |
Ryan Rosenblatt looks into who would host and how the US has certain issues that other countries don't. He sees DC as a lock to host a game. The down side is that he mentions FedEx Field. It's not that he's wrong, but rather that it's just an awful venue for literally everything. Extremely minor problem compared to not being within 500 miles of a venue, I know, but complaining about FedEx Field is a regional tradition.

The 2014 World Cup made soccer mainstream |
I watched the final at a bar that my friends live a few blocks from. The night before, he stopped in to ask if they would show the final on their projection screen. The owner said he would, but that it would be at the upstairs bar only, and since he didn't expect more than a handful of people, he wasn't going to pay an extra bartender to work a shift up there. In the end, there were about 50 people up there, and the poor waiters had to run up and down the steps about a billion times. One was openly irritated with his boss for badly underestimating the crowd he'd get.

And this wasn't an isolated case. We had to walk past a few more bars going back to their place, and every single one had people in soccer gear and/or talking about the game standing out front to smoke. I knew of a slew of places hosting watch parties. And this is Baltimore, a city with no fully professional soccer team and a small number of soccer bars.

So here's the next step, friends: Bring whoever you can to Sunday's game against Chivas. You might know 20 people who suddenly were watching soccer all month after previously showing little or no interest. If you can get just one of them to become a regular at RFK, you've done your good deed for the year and have my permission to become a reprobate for the rest of 2014.

In between now and then, though, you can make comments on these links or other links or other real-life things that can't be clicked on.