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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, MLS, CONCACAF Champions League, and USWNT links for Wednesday August 19th, 2014

Waterhouse, worms, Estrada, Kemp, hockey, Swedes, CCL results, plus a frustrating thing and a sad thing! You know, a typically odd mix of links for your perusal.

Why? More like why not!
Why? More like why not!
Nigel Roddis

You'll have plenty of opportunities to read what I think about things throughout today, so I'll shut up and make with the links:

D.C. United returns to CONCACAF Champions League for 1st in 5 years | Soccer Insider
We start with Steve Goff's overview of D.C. United's match tonight against Waterhouse. Goff mentions some likely starters - no big surprises, but this still moves the needle past speculation - and has a quick quote from Ben Olsen on the improving odds of Chris Pontius actually appearing in a competitive match in 2014.

Chris Rolfe of D.C. United is as at home on small-farm fields as on soccer fields | The Washington Post
Goff was busy yesterday and came up with this in-depth profile of Chris Rolfe. Out of context, I will note that it involves Rolfe owning 2,500 worms.

Training Notes: August 19, 2014 |
Sarah Hutcheson has the word from the training fields. United worked on some possession patterns and agility before playing a 15 minute 11v11 scrimmage, with David Estrada scoring the only goal. Hopefully he has some of that left over for tonight.

Taylor Kemp rises to the occasion |
Away from practice, Molly Bruh takes a look at Taylor Kemp's outing against Colorado, which was undoubtedly his best performance as a professional.

MLS Team Goals Allowed (15 minute intervals)
MLS Team Goals Scored (15 minute intervals)
Ben Jata - you should follow him on Twitter if you play MLS Fantasy and/or are a stats nerd...actually, just follow the guy - compiled these tables on when teams across MLS are scoring and conceding. Take note of how United is doing between the 61st and 75th minutes: 9 goals for, 0 against.

Where Oh Where Will the Winter Classic Be? Baltimore? |
This is not the first piece that I've seen speculating that the NHL's Winter Classic could theoretically be held at RFK, but it is the first that quotes someone from Events DC saying that no one from the NHL has contacted them about such a plan. As a lifelong Caps fan and lifelong Maryland resident, I still think the idea of having the Winter Classic here is bonkers. It will be 60 and humid the day the game is supposed to be played. Take that to the bank.

Note: If you do take that sentence to the bank (I guess you'd print this page out?) and they give you something, let me know so I can get my free whatever it is.

That Time When the Caps Brought Hockey to Japan | Japers' Rink
Staying with the Washington Capitals, here is a story of their bizarre trip to Japan to play the Kansas City Scouts - their competition at the time for worst NHL team - for the hugely prestigious Coca-Cola Bottlers Cup. This is the only out-and-out championship in team history. In MLS terms, this is not too far removed from the Metros and their La Manga Cup.

Sammanfattning, omgång 23 |
My longtime friends can tell you that I tend to be in favor of Swedish things. The Hives, Robyn, Nick Backstrom, Zlatan...given their population size, the Swedes have done an awful lot of cool things in the last 10 years. And so, for those reasons and because I'm slightly sleep-deprived as I write this, here's a Swedish recap of this weekend's MLS matches. They spent  more time on United's win over the Rapids than anyone else.

Portland Timbers Run Over Alpha United in 4-1 CCL Win | Stumptown Footy
Portland went on the road and played on a bad - though not awful by CCL standards - surface, yet still took home a quality scoreline in their win over Alpha United. Group 5 was always going to come down to the Timbers and CD Olimpia, but for now at least Portland has a healthy edge in goal difference (+3 to Olimpia's +1, with both teams having played in Guyana thus far).

Red Drawn: Sporting KC 1-1 Real Esteli | The Blue Testament
Meanwhile, our main competition for an Eastern Conference title - not to mention our opponent this coming Saturday - could only manage a 1-1 draw with Nicaragua's Real Esteli. On one hand, Esteli has never won a CCL game despite being in every one since the 2011-2012 edition, and KC started at least six players I was expecting to see on the weekend (Kempin, Collin, Besler, Sinovic, Zusi, and Claros). This was an even game throughout, and if anything KC was doing more defending in the second half than attacking. Basically what I'm saying is that KC might have been softened up just a bit in this one.

Opinion: Why on earth is USWNT playing friendlies during NWSL playoffs? | Soccerwire
A scathing piece on US Soccer's decision to play a friendly during the NWSL playoffs and the overall management of the women's program from top to bottom. Having just watched the u-20s bow out of the World Cup thanks to a display bereft of technical quality or invention against North Korea, it's way past time for those in charge to be alarmed at how much ground the rest of the world has gained while we assume that we'll just keep developing wonderful players because that's how things were before.

And we close on a sad note: Don Pardo, the Voice Of ‘SNL,’ Is Dead at 96.

This is your open thread for the day, so feel free to post some SNL memories, Swedish things you like, or some other stuff that might cheer us all up given that I went and closed this out with two straight bummers.