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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, CONCACAF Champions League, and US Open Cup links for Wednesday September 17th, 2014

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Four words: Fabian Espindola Rock Opera

Vocal exercises.
Vocal exercises.
Gary Rohman-USA TODAY Sports

I've figured out what we need to do:

Espindola scores twice, D.C. United defeats Waterhouse in Champions League | Soccer Insider
Steve Goff's recap of last night's game. It links to that Espindola goal too, in case you want to watch it over and over and over.

D.C. United churn out gutsy 2-1 win over Waterhouse FC in CCL group stage | Soccerwire.com
Here's Chris Teale's take. I'm glad I wasn't the only person doing a recap that thought "Dive!" when Kenroy Howell got Taylor Kemp sent off.

Grading D.C. United’s 2014 acquisitions | Soccer Insider
Going back to Goff, he's handing out grades for all the players United brought in this offseason. It's nice that this isn't a bunch of Ds and Fs like it would have been last year.

Sounders win 4th Open Cup behind Barrett, Dempsey, Martins | Sounder At Heart
Some of you aren't going to like this one bit. For the fourth time in six years, the Seattle Sounders are the US Open Cup champions. Sigi Schmid didn't even have to use Obafemi Martins in the first hour of the match. Really, the difference between these two teams is kind of summed up when you look at the subs they made up top:

Seattle - Chad Barrett was replaced by Martins
Philadelphia - Conor Casey was replaced by Pedro Ribeiro

You cannot get any closer than that to a trophy: Philadelphia Union 1-3 Seattle Sounders, a.e.t. | The Brotherly Game
And here's the Union side, which I'm sure some of you will savor.

Worth noting: Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz took over as president of the Tampa Bay Mutiny late in 1996 (after they'd won what would retroactively be called the first-ever Supporters Shield). Since then, he's spent over 15 seasons as president and/or CEO of the Mutiny, the Metrostars, and now the Union. Trophy count: Zero.

Portland Timbers Surge Past CD Olimpia for 4-2 Win | Stumptown Footy
Elsewhere in CCL play, Portland snagged 3 necessary points against their only realistic competition for a spot in the quarterfinals. Wait, that sounds familiar...

Portland still has to play Olimpia again in Honduras, but if they don't lose that game they'll be precisely where United is: Needing just one point from two games against a team they're way, way better than.

Orlando City makes roster cuts, begins preparations for MLS | Orlando Sentinel
Orlando City is gearing up for their entry into MLS and have released more players than expected (including former United midfielder Austin da Luz). The bigger note, though, is the speculation that MLS rosters could be reduced down to 25 players.

In essence, I think something's been lost here. MLS rosters do hold 30 players at the most right now, but only 20 are "on-budget." A 25 player "on-budget" roster makes a lot more sense than forcing teams to pare their rosters down given how often MLS teams end up with only 16 or 17 players available for their gameday squad as is. What it would not do is cut total roster size down, which seems smart. The salary cap will also go up (probably by a lot) during this offseason's Collective Bargaining Agreement battle, so the added roster spots make sense from that angle too.

Report: Marco Di Vaio to leave the Montreal Impact at the end of the season | Mount Royal Soccer
Sofiane Benzaza says he's been told that Marco Di Vaio is headed back to Italy when the season ends. In other words, Montreal's awful roster will lose one of their only good players.

Disappearing Act: What the CONCACAF Champions League Means to the Sustained Growth Of Soccer In America | Complex
Wait, Complex covers soccer? When did this happen?

Anyway, this isn't a perfect article (poor RSL and their forgotten 2nd place finish), but it's still nice to see the CCL get talked about in places other than hardcore soccer nerd hangouts.

The MLS Grinder: Breathing room | Top Drawer Soccer
Will Parchman takes a look at systematic fouling, which is more common in MLS than in other leagues.

Breaking Madden: Tony Romo's week in Quarterback Hell | SBNation.com
This is almost a week old, but I only just saw it so there. Jon Bois is once again doing awful things to the pixels inside Madden 15.

How Bill Hader Became A Serious Actor | Buzzfeed
Wait, Buzzfeed? The hell? Look, I know, but Bill Hader is awesome.

Alright, get to work writing this rock opera. I don't have any musical talent or ability as a playwright. Basically think of me as a producer who isn't bringing any money to the table.