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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, MLS and CONCACAF Champions League soccer links for August 19

So much time, so little content. Wait, no - scratch that; reverse it.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Too much content to waste space on an intro. Let's jump right into this morning's links.

Match Analysis: D.C. United vs Colorado Rapids | D.C. United
Good place to start this Tuesday morning: assistant coach Chad Ashton breaks down the win over the 'Pids.

CONCACAF Champions League: Breaking down MLS teams' group stage chances |
United will kick off their continental campaign tomorrow night. Here's a video preview from the league website, focusing on all five MLS teams involved in this year's group stage: D.C. United, Sporting Kansas City, the Portland Timbers, the Montreal Impact and, sigh, the New York Red Bulls. Necessarily superficial, but it's a good starting point if you want to dig a bit further.

Team of the Week (Wk 23): Young attacking stars shine in blowout-filled weekend |
Taylor Kemp and Luis Silva get some well-deserved love from the league website for their showing against the Rapids.

Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen says "odds are" GM Garth Lagerwey will stay on in 2015 |
Via commenter DCU_Exile comes this story about your favorite potential future DCU President/GM/whatever-he-wants-to-be and mine. Right now RSL's owner thinks Lagerwey will be sticking around SLC, but if somebody else (paging Jason Levien!) were to offer him the title of "club president," he'd expect Garth to jump at the opportunity. Not sure how he's not offering Lagerwey that kind of title, but Dell Loy Hansen's shortcoming could be somebody else's (us! us!) gain.

State of the MLS Run In: 10 Weeks to Go | Sounder At Heart
Conclusions: The Sporks have the inside track for the top spot in the East, but their MLS Cup odds are such that D.C. United (who are essentially locks for a top 3 finish in the Eastern Conference)are a good bet to make next year's ConcaChamps group stage, even if the Black-and-Red miss out on the automatic spots.

MLS Graphical Standings | via r/mls
Fun way to visualize the standings as the season goes along. As of right now, United control their own destiny in the East, and Seattle are in the driver's seat for the Supporters' Shield. That said, the Sporks, RSL, the Galaxy and maybe FCD are all hanging pretty tight, as well - but it's a pretty big gap to the rest of the pack. Meanwhile in Montreal...

New Columbus Crew president Andy Loughnane arrives with rebrand, new facility the priorities |
Pardon the obvious joke here, but they're finally starting to think massive in Ohio.

Hugs all around in Columbus, a new Rookie of the Year challenger & other Week 23 thoughts |
Anderw Weibe is pinch hitting for Matt Doyle this week, and he does a good job breaking down the week's MLS action.

U.S. icons bid farewell to one another: Landon Donovan's last game at Crew Stadium |
There's no question Landon Donovan is the most important US men's soccer player still playing. Similarly, there's no question that Columbus Crew Stadium has become the most important ground for the USMNT. The one played his final game in the other, and Brian Straus was there to capture it.

U.S. men's national team member Aron Jóhannsson has groin surgery |
USMNT forward Aron Johannsson has had surgery on his right groin and is expected to miss six weeks. This overlaps conveniently with his continued recovery from a separate surgery on his ankle.

Top women's stars mobilizing for legal battle vs. FIFA over World Cup turf |
Kurtis Larson might not agree with them, but several top women's soccer players from the USA and Germany, among others, have threatened to sue FIFA over their plans to hold next summer's World Cup on turf. None of the venues currently planned for the event in Canada have a natural surface. (BMO Field in Toronto has grass but will not be used due to a preexisting conflict.) It'll be interesting to see where this goes.

20 historical empires that explain the English Premier League | The Washington Post
From last Friday, here's the best super-nerdy preview-by-analogue you're going to see this year, covering that league over in England. You know the one, where David Beckham used to play.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has left oblique muscle tear |
Bad news for fans of audacity, as the PSG and Sweden superstar forward will be out for... a while. No timetable has been set for his return.

Neymar is fit again, and looking awesome |
I think this Neymar kid may have a future in soccer.

And finally... does this video of Toronto FC's Bright Dike remind anybody else of a particular episode of the old Nickelodeon show Doug? Or just me?

That's my contribution to your time-wasting today. Let us know in the comments what's got your attention.