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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, MLS and world soccer links for September 9, 2014

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Today's open thread question: Who is the next Colombia?


Good morning, ladies and germs. I hope you all had a nice Monday to start the week off. Mine was wonderfully productive but seemed like it would never end, so I'm happy to see Tuesday arrive, gray skies and all. Let's get to the links.

Match Analysis: D.C. United v Vancouver Whitecaps | D.C. United
Chad Ashton breaks down the win scoreless draw in this video, so if your coffee hasn't kicked in yet, here's a nice way to not read for a couple minutes.

Unmarked Ep. 7: Alecko Eskandarian Mic'd up | D.C. United
Another video for you, this one more fun and less substantive. Relive Esky's return to RFK Stadium for the 2004 MLS Cup 10th anniversary celebration.

United Soccer Club set to kick-off Fall 2014 Season | D.C. United
Win championships. Serve the community. Doing it right.

MLS Power Rankings: LA Galaxy surge to top as champ Sporting KC slips |
As much as it pains me to say it, the LA Galaxy are basically required to be at the top of any power rankings this week. Liviu Bird does the obligatory, but he also gives United some love (despite dropping them from 1st to 3rd) for doing what so many Eastern Conference teams have failed to do over the years, getting a result out of a trip to Vancouver.

Team of the Week (Wk 26): Players on streaking New England Revolution, Philadelphia Union show their might |
He may not be nominated for Save of the Week this week, but Bill Hamid still gets the nod in the league website's weekly Best XI. The noise for Goalkeeper of the Year seems to be winnowing to Hamid and Nick Rimando, who many are quick to point out has somehow never won the award. The way Hamid is playing, though, if Rimando wins this particular race, it'll be for a lifetime of stellar work, not just his performance in 2014. Which is fine, so much as we're all up front about it.

He's Arrived: Gyasi Zardes breaks Diego Fagundez's single season Homegrown Player goalscoring record |
In other HGP news, Gyasi Zardes is having a very good year.

Jermain Defoe and Toronto FC. So what now? | Waking The Red
Another forward who seemed to be having his own very good year just a couple months ago suddenly finds himself with one foot back in England, while his club's season spins out of control. Toronto FC gonna Toronto FC, I guess.

Friendlies allow Uruguay's next generation a chance to shine | ESPN FC
And finally, a look at Uruguay, who sent a youth-heavy squad to East Asia this month for friendlies, bringing back a couple of clean-sheet victories over Korea and Japan. This story is nominally about how la Celeste has rebuilt an aging squad, but I want to talk about... Colombia. Uruguay was the hot ticket after the 2010 World Cup, with every Uruguayan player seemingly being transferred to bigger clubs or else getting a big bonus check. This year's darlings are the Colombians, who are getting big transfers at an increasingly silly clip even after you account for the usual post-World Cup premium. Everybody wanted Uruguayans, and now everybody wants Colombians. My question to launch today's open thread: Who's next? What country will be the must-have accessory this time next year or this time in 2018?

Share your answers, and whatever else has caught your eye this Tuesday morning, down in the comments.