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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, CONCACAF Champions League, and MLS links for Wednesday January 6th, 2015

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Some D.C. United news - including tidbits on LD Alajuelense, United's CCL quarterfinal opponent - as well as a metric ton of MLS news. Plus: Panenka!

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday was eventful. Let's get right into it:

3 D.C. United players to U.S. national team camp | Soccer Insider
Per Steve Goff, three key D.C. United players - Bill Hamid, Steve Birnbaum, and Perry Kitchen - are going to receive USMNT call-ups for the traditional January camp sometime this week. Given Jurgen Klinsmann's wonderful relationship with MLS, look for the roster to come out within 30 seconds of MLS announcing the league's schedule later today.

Anyway, Goff also confirms the chatter that United will soon announce a signing, and that the club has been looking to Scandinavia this offseason. That makes sense, as the level of play is roughly the same by all accounts. It's also something of a compromise for United: A team can't realistically expect consistent success in MLS while only signing players from within the league and via their academy or draft picks, but United has also shown an inability to find skillful guys from their old hunting grounds in CONMEBOL. Perhaps looking in places where the style of play is more similar to MLS is a start? Let's hope so.

Óscar Ramírez aclara la política de fichajes de Alajuelense para la temporada | Nacion.com
This is in Spanish (here's a Google translation for those that need it). Alajuelense's head coach is talking about his preparations for the next season, and he's indicated that CONCACAF hasn't yet given "La Liga" any information about whether there will be suspensions handed out after their final group stage match against Cruz Azul descended into a brawl. He also admitted that right back Jose Salvatierra - who as I've said many times on Twitter is a player MLS teams should have long since brought to these shores - and winger Allen Guevara are unlikely to be able to play (they're injured), but that key defensive midfielder Juan Guzman will be training soon.

Source: Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke fired by team | Metro.us
This news broke around midnight last night, and it is unbelievable. I don't mean the reporting is bad; I mean the idea that the historically inept New York Red Bulls deciding to fire the only coach they've ever had who was actually suited to coaching in MLS is a decision that defies belief.

I actually feel bad for Mike Petke, who has proven to be a sharp head coach and a decent person despite his Metro roots. However, this just made the Eastern Conference that much easier. It's not like the East needed help either, with expansion teams replacing KC and Houston.

I am staggered. I will be staggered when I wake up tomorrow. This is beyond "That's So Metro," and into some new dimension of Metro that we don't have the science to explain.

Please join me in supporting #Chelis4RBNY on Twitter, Facebook, and wherever else hashtags make sense. And even where they don't. Go ahead, tell your boss "hashtag Chelis for arr bee enn why." We need this to happen.

Sources: NYCFC closing in on Mix Diskerud signing | Goal.com
The other club in or around New York is so thankful for the Metros for taking some hate off of them. They're also apparently close to signing Mix Diskerud, though Portland and Columbus would both like to point out that "close" with Diskerud means you have about a 25% chance of actually signing him.

Daniel Paladini charged with multiple counts of domestic violence | Massive Report
Before you click on this piece (and the next link as well), please note that it merits a trigger warning for survivors of domestic abuse.

MLS reacted very quickly when Dan Paladini was arrested after a domestic violence-related incident late last season, but it didn't get much coverage as Paladini was already out for the year with a broken leg. Yesterday, details of what he was being charged with came out, and it's stomach-turning stuff.

Daniel Paladini may not be a star, but his alleged crimes cannot be ignored | The Goat Parade
Alicia Rodriguez brings up some great points about where our priorities should be after something like this happens.

Studs Up: Roger Espinoza returning is great, but is it the answer? | The Blue Testament
Roger Espinoza has returned to Sporting Kansas City, and he's a player every team in MLS would welcome. However, as James Starritt correctly points out here, the Sporks didn't really need him right now as much as they need a different sort of midfielder.

OFFICIAL: Zac MacMath loaned to Colorado Rapids | The Brotherly Game
The dumb Union saga that saw them draft a promising young goalkeeper, then give money to a rival to trade up to draft another promising young goalkeeper who is actually older than the first promising young goalkeeper, then give even more money to a club to buy a goalkeeper who did well enough in this past World Cup (but probably isn't actually all that good)...is over. And actually, despite looking like bunglers the whole time, the Union actually did alright in that they got anything at all.

I feel bad for Zac MacMath, though, because Colorado's methodology for selecting starters appears to involve picking names out of a hat.

Chicago Fire Sign Brazilian Forward Guly do Prado | Chicago-Fire.com
We're not going to recognize Chicago next season beyond Sean Johnson, Jeff Larentowicz, and Mike Magee (whenever he returns from hip surgery). Frank Yallop is basically overhauling his team in a method familiar to any Football Manager fiend.

Carlos Salcedo move official: Chivas, MLS reach an agreement | RSL Soapbox
Going back to transfers that turned into sagas, it appears that Real Salt Lake will be getting something approaching the hefty asking price they wanted for Carlos Salcedo. It's still a loss for MLS, though, to see a quality youngster leave like this. On the other hand, I'm guessing the league didn't want to have the "are club-held options legal?" fight that may have been brewing over Salcedo's rights.

TTFA sabotages young Warriors’ hopes of MLS trial… again! | Wired868.com
CONCACAF is where reason and efficiency go to die, as if the earlier Alajuelense piece didn't already drive that point home.

Panenka's penalty secrets | UEFA.com
Been holding onto this one since last week: A four-minute video featuring Antonin Panenka explaining how he ended up taking penalties the way he did. Also features an awesomely bad attempt at re-creating announcer audio and a novel pronunciation of "patent."