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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, MLS, US Open Cup, and CONCACAF Champions League links for Wednesday August 13th, 2014

Today's Freedom Kicks for the TL;DR crowd: EJ EJ EJ EJ EJ EJ EJ and some other stuff.

But who knew the mask had a loose screw?
But who knew the mask had a loose screw?
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

I get into a ramble below, so I'll keep it brief up here. Here are some links:

D.C. United’s Eddie Johnson apologizes for Twitter exchange with fans | Washington Post
Steve Goff reports on the aftermath of EJ's most recent outburst towards fans. Among the choice quotes here include Ben Olsen saying that he briefly signed up for Twitter sometime recently, but quickly soured on it.

Commentary: Twitter scrap just another puzzling piece of DC United's Eddie Johnson |
Nick Firchau has spent some time trying to figure out the EJ enigma, but is starting to think it's impossible. I can't say I disagree.

Eddie Johnson can't get out of his own way | SB Nation
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders, so he knows full well that this isn't EJ's first controversy.

Eddie Johnson issues mea culpa to DC United, fans following Twitter rant: "There's no excuse for it" |
Pablo Maurer was also on EJ duty yesterday, getting some quotes from the man himself after training.

D.C. United to honor 2004 championship team |
Here's some better news. It's appropriate to honor the 2004 MLS Cup-winning team when the Metros come to town. I hope the theme of the ceremony is "This is something you cannot have," or "Your club legend had to come play for us to win this trophy."

My own personal anecdote from the celebration that followed that MLS Cup win: After Dave Johnson, Kevin Payne, Ryan Nelsen, and others had all spoken, the event just sort of ended. The players walked down the steps on the back of the stage, and as there was no barrier between them and the fans there was a lot of picture-taking and mingling. I tried to get a picture with Jaime Moreno, but he was completely mobbed by parents with kids. I didn't have enough time with Dema Kovalenko to get a picture, but I did tell him his handball was my favorite handball ever. I did get a picture with Nelsen, who was weeks away from signing with Blackburn Rovers.

Things finally seemed to be petering out as fans wandered over to shoot on RFK's south goal - someone had put some balls out there for the kids to play with - when I turned to look towards the north end of the stadium. It took me a second to figure out that the small crowd and the flash of silver was a group of fans gathering around a more-than-slightly confused Nana Kuffour.

For fans who weren't around at the time, Kuffour was a young - and very short - Ghanaian player United signed that summer. He played only played 270 minutes between 2004 and 2005 in league play, and his most memorable moment was scoring United's only goal in 2004's 2-1 Open Cup loss at Richmond (a game that, in my mind at least, remains infamous). His entry in Goff's "where are they now?" piece back in March was arguably the most interesting part of the story, in that he was the only player Goff couldn't track down.

Anyway, somehow Kuffour ended up with the trophy in his hands as the players wandered around signing autographs and taking pictures, and so a small crowd of fans gravitated towards him. I joined in, presumably with the same thought everyone else had: "Gotta touch that trophy."

The end of this story is kind of an anticlimax. I touched the trophy for all of about three seconds, all was right in the world, and then I went home.

Training Notes: August 12, 2014 |
Alright, back to normal service: During today's rain-soaked practice, United worked on quick combinations, possession drills, and finished with various small-sided scrimmages. The bigger news? Chris Pontius joined in those possession drills as a neutral player.

Ignacio Piatti eager to play in Montreal but also in New York and Miami | Mount Royal Soccer
Hey, at least EJ didn't start talking about the places he'd rather play immediately after signing for United. Montreal is just having one of those seasons where everything goes wrong.

New England Revolution send Saer Sene to New York Red Bulls in deal for for Andre Akpan |
Not sure this trade will make a difference for anyone. Sene was good last year but now can't make the bench for the Revs. Akpan has only played because the Red Bulls can't afford better depth. NYRB got the player with a higher ceiling, no doubt, but who knows where his head's at?

Philadelphia Union defeat FC Dallas in penalty kicks; advance to U.S. Open Cup Final | The Brotherly Game
Despite spending most of the game completely unable to come to grips with Fabian Castillo, the Philadelphia Union are going to host the Open Cup final after surviving penalty kicks in Texas.

Sounders v Chicago Fire - Lots of Questions | Sounder at Heart
Let this be your preview of the other semifinal, which will stream tonight via US Soccer's Youtube channel.

CONCACAF boots team from Champions League after tournament has started | SB Nation
Belize will once again not have a CCL representative for the same reason they've always run into. This time, though, instead of announcing this news well before the tournament draw, CONCACAF has made the move after CCL play has already started. I love you CCL, but sometimes I just...

Anyway, the people that should be really upset are Club Leon of Mexico and AD Isidro Metapan of El Salvador. They're the other teams in Group 7, and now they've gone from having games against what was likely the weakest team in the entire competition (soccer in Belize is semi-pro at best) to having CS Herediano of Costa Rica as competition. That's the same Herediano that made the knockout stages over Real Salt Lake in the 2012-2013 version of the competition.

Searching for Tomorrow: The Story of Madlib and DOOM's Madvillainy | Pitchfork
A must-read for anyone that knows and loves "Madvillainy," the inimitable collaboration between DOOM and Madlib. We've spent a lot of time on an enigmatic person, so why not close with a link about an enigmatic album made by enigmatic people? This piece makes clear that "Madvillainy" is a product of the same kind of alchemy that let Christian Gomez and Jaime Moreno instantly understand each other in 2004...which is the same year this album came out.

There's also a quick anecdote in there about Kanye West falling out of a busted chair, if that's more your speed.

OK, I'm done. This is your open thread, so you can talk about 2004, or 2014, or pretty much anything else that's on your mind.