I trust everybody survived the traffic onslaught that is the annual ritual we call Back to School yesterday? Good, because it's only going to get worse. So brew some coffee and fry up some bacon - Freedom Kicks is here to make your morning just a little bit more bearable.
MLS Power Rankings: D.C. United vaults to the top after Sporting KC rout | SI.com
Despite their launch to first place in the East, the Black-and-Red have been a bit overshadowed by stories emanating from Seattle and Dallas and KC, hell, and even by the likes of the Metros and Revs. Liviu Bird sees through the noise, though, putting United atop this week's power rankings over at SI. (Note to power rankings folks: you rate DC, you get linked. I'm not above power ranking payola here.)
SBI MLS Team of the Week: D.C. United | Soccer By Ives
Ives Galarcep similarly shoots some love towards los Capitalinos, highlighting them as his Team of the Week.
Team of the Week: Stars making their cases for MVP as season hits stretch run | MLSsoccer.com
Meanwhile, the league website's weekly Best XI includes three United players and Ben Olsen. league MVP candidate Fabian Espindola, team MVP Perry Kitchen and rookie-of-the-year darkhorse* Steve Birnbaum all get some love, while the greedy among us will point out that Chris Rolfe and Luis Silva are overlooked. * I say darkhorse for Birnbaum because he seems to be overshadowed by Harry Shipp and Tesho Akindele, who are each on pace for one very, very good half a season each.
Jermaine Jones joins New England Revolution. Here’s how. | The Washington Post
You heard yesterday that USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones has joined the Revs as a designated player, skipping the allocation order and moving to New England rather than the midwest by virtue of a "blind draw" (Personally, I prefer Blind Melon). Steve Goff has probably been the loudest and longest serving critic of MLS' byzantine and opaque player acquisition policies; naturally, he is bemused by the whole thing.
Fire lose Jones to New England via MLS’ three ring circus of player acquistion | Chicago Fire Confidential
Understandably, partisans in and around Bridgeview aren't thrilled with the result or the process.
Jermaine Jones deal shows need for MLS transparency | ESPN FC
More on sausage-making, Calvinball, etc.
AJC Soccer Insider: Atlanta’s MLS team could shatter records | www.myajc.com
Meanwhile, things are looking up for Atlanta2017, which could beat the MLS expansion team season ticket record, set by the Sounders when they entered the league.
Atlanta's future MLS team has fans. Now what? | SBNation.com
In light of the season ticket deposit numbers, Jeremiah Oshan eats a little bit of crow for throwing shade when MLS awarded an expansion team to Atlanta, but he encourages them to do more to emulate Seattle's run-up to entering the league.
Inter Milan kid scores unbelievable juggling goal | SBNation.com
Sharing only because this U-18 player could totally come to United on loan from the ol' Italian sister club. Or something. (Also because it's pretty sick.)
A Twitter user promised free drinks for all if Michael Sam sacked Johnny Manziel and did 'money' sign. Sam responded. | ESPN
We end on this non-soccer item, as it turns out that buckets of ice water aren't the only way that social media is leading to charitable donations. Which leads to this question to start today's open thread: with D.C. United and MLS in the midst of wild races at the top of the table and around the red lines, what wild bets are you making (or *not* making) on Twitter?