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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, USMNT, MLS, and CONCACAF Champions League links for Wednesday January 21, 2015

A look at Miguel Aguilar's past, a lot of Alajuelense news, and some MLS and USMNT news.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Wooooooo links!

Opinion: Soccer star Miguel Aguilar tells his inspiring story at Encina High, his alma mater | Sacramento Bee
This is a great piece from Marcos Breton on D.C. United's first round pick Miguel Aguilar, who has come a very long way to get to this point in his life and yet was speaking to kids at his high school the day after being picked in the draft. It sounds like United has added a really good person to the squad.

Breaking down D.C. United’s roster heading into training camp | Soccer Insider
Most of Steve Goff's piece here is listing the active roster. There is news, however: United has already invited two goalkeepers to camp to fight for a spot on the roster, while Andrew Driver and David Estrada are probably not going to be suiting up for the Black-and-Red this season. With Aguilar and Jairo Arrieta in the fold, that's not a particularly big deal (though it does appear that Houston slaughtered us on that trade).

The Northeast's professional soccer malaise |
This got people talking a bit yesterday on soccer twitter (or at least, people north of here). It's a pretty big reach to lump United in with the more troubled teams up 95, though. Basically, the only negative offered for the Black-and-Red is that we're not in the new stadium yet. There's a lot of lumping in that I don't really agree with, and I also don't really buy the idea that Cascadia is full of winners. One reliably winning club out of three is not an amazing ratio for that region.

Also, as with all articles, prepare for ads that auto-start with loud audio.

Alonso debe esperar al menos una semana más |
Looking ahead for the CCL quarterfinals, Alajuelense's best striker Armando Alonso is trying to fight off some tendonitis in his achilles. He's only expected to rest for another week before returning to training, so it's unlikely he'll miss the first leg. It's more of a situation to keep an eye on, since Alonso scored 3 of LDA's 4 group stage goals. Here's a translation.

Óscar Ramírez: ‘Que sigan hablando; yo voy a jugar de la misma forma’ |
Meanwhile, Alajuelense head coach Oscar Ramirez is tired of being called a defensive coach and seems to generally dislike the Costa Rican press. At one point, he swears in this interview. Hopefully this level of pressure is really hitting home a month from now. Here's what he was getting at in English.

Kevin Sancho que su titularidad puede ser itinerante |
You'll have to scroll down a bit here due to the way the page is laid out, but what we have is a short story on the suspended Kevin Sancho, who recognizes that he could lose his spot at Alajuelense due to his CCL suspension. Here's hoping he only misses 2 games this spring. Here's Google Translate's English-ish version.

Speaking of Costa Ricans and United, Arrieta is on his way to the District:

2015 MLS Draft: Third & Fourth Round | Top Drawer Soccer
The back half of the MLS SuperDraft took place yesterday, but since United didn't have a pick we didn't discuss it 'round these parts. Anyway, it was typically chaotic: Closed conference call, tweets coming out in more or less random order from the teams, and the league's draft tracker malfunctioning like always. On one hand, we're talking about a group that might see 5-6 players stick beyond the summer. On the other hand, if MLS wants to treat the draft like an event, the drop-off from the attention lavished on the first two rounds shouldn't be so stark.

There were a few picks from local schools. Georgetown GK Tomas Gomez went 60th overall to the Crew, Old Dominion striker Sidney Rivera is headed to Orlando, and Maryland winger Alex Shinsky was picked by Chicago.

Sporting KC and Bieler agree to terminate contract | The Blue Testament
Bieler will probably end up being classed as a flop, but the problem was that he's not a Sporting KC sort of forward. A team playing with two forwards and not necessarily needing constant physicality would like him quite a bit. We'll never get to find out how he'd do in that context in MLS, though, because he's headed to Quilmes in the Argentine league.

Kyle Bekker to be Traded to Dallas | Waking The Red
Oscar Pareja is smart, and Bekker's ability to hit long-range passes will work well in Dallas with their attacking speed. He'll probably serve as Michel's back-up this year, but considering the Brazilian's tendency to pick up injuries and red cards, Bekker will see plenty of time. TFC misused him when Ryan Nelsen was in charge, and in any case it's hard to see him getting time with Michael Bradley in place.

American Exports: Jose Torres to miss up to three months after undergoing surgery on herniated disk |
Bad news for "Gringo" Torres, who will miss most of the current season as a result of this injury.

Jozy Altidore happy to be back at home for U.S. men's team camp | ESPNFC
Some pretty interesting USMNT news, including the prospect of using a back three in the upcoming friendlies and Graham Zusi's problematic foot injury that has kept him from running.