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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United and MLS links for Wednesday September 10th, 2014

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A little bit of United news, a lot of MLS transfer news, and then we talk about bum wine.

Ned Dishman

Intros are played out. Here are the links:

Chris Pontius on the train up to New Jersey |
Chris Pontius traveled to play a soccer game for the first time in 2014. This makes me feel like partying.

DC United's Ben Olsen confirms Eddie Johnson "day-to-day" with concussion symptoms |
Pablo Maurer sums up the situation with Eddie Johnson, who was forced to miss D.C. United's 0-0 draw in Vancouver and will also sit out against the Metros tonight. There's never a good time for a player to get injured, but four days after Fabian Espindola went 90 minutes and Luis Silva played 85 on hard turf on the other side of the continent is undoubtedly bad timing. Don't be surprised if David Estrada plays a significant role up front as a result.

Moving on, here's an angle on the Atlantic Cup rivalry that I hadn't considered:

Those numbers are fun, but can be a little misleading due to the number of games played. Davy Arnaud has played almost as many games against the Metros as all four NYRB players listed have played United, for example. Nonetheless: We're great, they suck.

Home-Field Advantage, Finally |
Luis Robles and Mike Petke are excited about tonight's game. Mostly, this is here just to point out that the playing surface at Red Bull Arena is more spacious than RFK (which is one of MLS's more narrow fields).

USMNT's Fabian Johnson is being misused at Borussia Monchengladbach, says Berti Vogts |
Berti Vogts isn't happy how Fabian Johnson is being used by 'Gladbach, who are coached by Lucien Favre. That name should be familiar, as he was a strong candidate for the DCU coaching job before Ben Olsen, who this past offseason traveled to Germany to observe the veteran Swiss manager's training methods.

Also, he pronounces his name as it's spelled, unlike certain famous Wrangler jeans enthusiasts.

Crew signs European football stalwart Emanuel Pogatetz |
"European football stalwart" UGH! Complaints aside, Pogatetz is basically the replacement for Giancarlo Gonzalez, but a lot less technical and a lot more physical. His nickname is "Mad Dog." I am not making that up. It is not a tribute to his love of fortified wine, either.

Actually, let's stay on fortified wine. Has anyone ever had Cisco Red? I feel like this is something I need to do, even though everything I know about it says I should avoid it like the plague. Alcohol and chemical food coloring that addles your brain? What's not to like?

Quakes sign Uruguayan right back Pablo Pintos |
The flood of pre-deadline signings continued as the Quakes got themselves a right back after having Andreas Gorlitz go down with a torn ACL and Brandon Barklage struggle for form. Pintos comes to the Bay Area from Defensor Sporting, the same club that "blessed" United with Rodrigo Brasesco. Before we assume the worst, though, Pintos has a far stronger resume (including stops at San Lorenzo and Getafe).

Chicago Fire announce the signing of French forward Florent Sinama-Pongolle |
Normally this would be a filler link, because Sinama-Pongolle's career in Europe is the story of every highly-touted youth national teamer who never takes the next step. Outside of a good two-season stretch at Recreativo de Huelva, Sinama-Pongolle's resume is full of notable clubs for whom he scored roughly one goal for every ten appearances. However...

Reigning MLS MVP Mike Magee to miss season after hip surgery |
...Chicago is going to need someone to deliver on the attacking end after the announcement that Mike Magee is going to be out for 6-8 months. That means the best case scenario for Chicago is that he'll be finishing rehab during the preseason and able to join real training as the 2015 season begins. Worse case? He's out until May. Therefore, new additions like Sinama-Pongolle and Robert Earnshaw (and by this I really just mean Earnshaw) have to succeed for Chicago to avoid being buried a la Montreal by the time summer rolls around.

Clemson soccer player sues coach, teammates, school officials over hazing incident |
There's just nothing good about this story about hazing in the Clemson women's soccer program.

Then again, hazing is stupid and counterproductive, so of course it caused something terrible to happen. People may join in the hazing under the impression that each new class of player going through some ordeal creates a sense of togetherness, but you know what else does that? Pre-season fitness work. Winning and losing as a group. Actual leadership from coaches and captains who had the good sense to realize that humiliating (or potentially physically injuring) the people they're supposed to be working towards a common goal with makes that job harder rather than easier.

OK, I'm done. Have at it in the comments.