Good morning. Today's Friday Freedom Kicks are as follows:
After slow finish led to early exit last year, D.C. United hoping to keep pressure on - Washington Times: Pontius, who was Mr. Confidence in the NYCFC match, says confidence is now key.
D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire | MatchCenter: Here's the usual one-stop shop for preview stats for Sunday's game.
Orlando City confident Lewis Neal can fill suspended Kaká's shoes vs. New York City FC | MLSsoccer.com: This is the game you should watch tonight at 7 pm. Lewis Neal (LEWIS NEAL!) is being called upon to replace Kaka in this must-win match against their brother expansion team. Lose or draw, and OCSC is out of the playoffs. If there's one man who can pull this off, it's Lewis Neal (LEWIS NEAL!). Tonight, we're all purple lions from Epcot Center.
Sebastian Giovinco Is Way Too Good For MLS - Deadspin: Deadspin does its usual thing, bashing MLS. But something funny is going on here. What happens when too many MLS players are too good for MLS? What then?
MLS Playoff Scenarios: What does your team need to do to make the playoffs? - Goal.com: Here's your cheat sheet for this weekend's games and their implications. Sadly, it doesn't go into seeding, just clinching, surviving, and elimination scenarios.
Why Ronaldinho to MLS May Not Be Such a Bad Idea - Once A Metro: When we get to Buzzard Point, we, too, will get to have conversations like this one.
Assessing the USA and Jurgen Klinsmann - ESPN FC: In this roundtable of ESPN FC writers and analysts, the question is posed: Should Jurgen be fired? By and large, they say no.
Belgium will be crowned FIFA World No 1 next month | Football News | Sky Sports: Don't look now, but Belgium will soon be king of the world.
For some reason, FIFA corruption and leadership news is off the charts at the moment. So here's a sampling, without comment, providing a sense of just how hot the dumpster fire is getting:
Uefa’s reaction to Michel Platini’s Fifa ban reveals its flawed thinking | David Conn | Football | The Guardian
Romario says Michel Platini worked with FIFA mafia for many years | Zee News
Italy backs Platini for FIFA | Football Italia
Prince Ali formally submits candidature for FIFA presidency | Jordan Times
Swiss approve extradition of ex-FIFA official Rocha to U.S | Reuters
Hayatou pledges to restore trust in FIFA | Sport24
Fifa hands Safa’s Kika a 6-year ban - EWN
Fifa whistleblower calls for former Prime Minister Helen Clark to lead reform | Stuff.co.nz
Brazilian marketing mogul told judge in FIFA corruption case, 'I repent' - Yahoo Sports
And your Friday Freedom Kicks treat is Sneaky Ninja Strikes Again, in which someone added a sneaky ninja to a series of "epic fail" video clips.
Commentariat, get on up!