It's a quiet morning in the Nation's Capital, so enjoy it while you can. And, as always, dig into this morning's Freedom Kicks.
MLS Homegrown Players 0, Portland Timbers U-23 0 | Chipotle Homegrown Game Match Recap | MLSsoccer.com
We'll start in Portland, where the league's best homegrown players (who weren't pulled for having played on Sunday) managed a scoreless draw against the Timbers U-23s (who are just college kids on summer vacation and not technically a part of the Timbers Academy). So, basically, nothing to see here.
Thorns bolster claim to Soccer City, USA, break NWSL attendance record | SBNation.com
This, however, is a thing. Portland loves them some soccer. MLS, NWSL, reserve league - doesn't matter. They'll show up.
Before we turn away from the Rose City, let's check in with D.C. United's contingent to the MLS All-Star Game:
Bill Hamid's posing game is strong. Sean Franklin goes Full LA with the tank and wide-eyed pointing at where they are. Bobby Boswell looks happy to have been included in the photo, though that's a nice t-shirt he's got on.
LA Galaxy's new shape is a magic goal machine | LAG Confidential
Here's Josie Becker on what's working for the Gals. Interestingly, the shape and style the LA Galaxy have been using of late actually maps pretty well to what D.C. United have been doing over their recent run of good form (Sunday night notwithstanding). Eddie Johnson is Gyassi Zardes, and Luis Silva is playing the Robbie Keane role. Chris Rolfe and Landon Donovan provide width on the left, while the right-sided fullbacks provide the width over there as Stefan Ishizaki/Nick DeLeon cut inside.
tl;dr: It's a 4-4-2 league, y'all!
MLS Power Rankings - Week 21| ESPN FC
In which the Eastern Conference claims the top two spots after the Sounders drop two in a row.
Amid corruption, rights and heat concerns, will a Qatar World Cup really happen? | SI.com
Let Grant Wahl help you rekindle your outrage over Qatar 2022 as he visits the site where the championship match will be, in a city that doesn't yet exist. Man, fuck FIFA.
This MLB hate map confirms everyone detests the Yankees | SBNation.com
And speaking of Things People Hate, I share this only as an excuse to ask: Where do you think the geographic breakdown of MLS hate would be? I'm guessing - due to recency bias and their general volume - that the Sounders and Galaxy would be way up, especially in areas without local MLS teams. In the DMV, though, I'd have to guess the Metros would be high on the list, and I think they'd likely return the favor up in Jersey.
Jose Luis Sanchez Sola has a moment with Bobby Burling | The Goat Parade
And finally... Chelís sighting!! He's golfing and posting pictures on Twitter and being awesome/adorable in conversation with his former charge. Never change, Chelís!
That's it from me. Share your thoughts and other soccer happenings down in the comments.