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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, MLS, NWSL, and USWNT links for Wednesday October 21, 2015

There might be some bad news coming our way with regards to the number of world champions playing soccer nearby.

I went to my old stomping grounds in College Park last night to watch the Maryland Terrapins take on the Delaware Blue Hens. I thought it would be fun, and the forecast said it would be around 60 with little to no wind or precipitation. I followed a long-standing custom of buying a beef patty from the 7-11 (they are better than you'd expect) on Knox Rd. before heading in. A nice evening seemed like a sure thing.

Instead, Maryland had an insipid performance, running out of ideas time and again when they came up against Delaware's well-drilled banks of four. The visitors struggled at any constructive soccer - at one point one of their players pretty much mimicked this blunder from Andrew Wenger earlier this season - but scored on a corner kick. Maryland looked like they weren't ever going to create a real chance, but scored their own set piece goal in the 87th minute. Order restored, right? Nope. Delaware capitalized on a terrible clearance 30 seconds later to score an excellent 25 yard game-winner. It was the only piece of skill they showed all night. Soccer, man.

Anyway, now that I'm bummed out all over again, let's look at some links:

D.C. United eyeing No. 2 seed in Eastern Conference playoffs | Washington Post
Steve Goff talked to Ben Olsen about the nature of the playoffs, the lack of clear-cut favorites, and brain cells.

Three Named to Pac-12 All-Century Team |
Steve Birnbaum got an honor yesterday, being named to the Pac-12's "All-Century" team. Why name such a team when it's only 15 years into the century in question? I don't know. They do things differently out west. Did you know that they tend to drive at or below the speed limit out there? It's crazy.

Crew: Challenge ahead without Kamara, Higuain | The Columbus Dispatch
Gregg Berhalter isn't tipping his hand on who will replace the suspended Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain on Sunday against D.C. United. My money is on Aaron Schoenfeld and Hector Jimenez at this point, but the margins are very narrow.

Fire notebook - Magee done?, roster changes, Adailton status, and more | Fire Confidential
It looks like Mike Magee is ready to leave Chicago, and since he qualifies for MLS's version of free agency, I have to think that Dave Kasper will be giving him serious consideration if that ends up being the case given United's track record of signing MLS veterans who have had success but are coming off of a bad year. I'm not sure it will work out, for a couple reasons: First, Magee's salary  - even assuming a cut - will be hard to incorporate, while it's also clear that if United is going to add another withdrawn forward/outside-in wide midfielder, he has to be markedly better than the guys that are already here.

On the other hand, a healthy Magee is an extraordinarily clever player capable of one- and two-touch soccer and very adept at confusing defenses with his movement. He would bring some qualities that Conor Doyle and Jairo Arrieta can't match (though to be fair, Doyle can do things that Magee can't and Arrieta is more of a true striker than Magee is). It's one to ponder, anyway.

What's Worse Than a Bad Rapids Team? | Burgundy Wave
For the subset of United fans who are miserable even while the team heads to the playoffs for the third year out of four, here's something from Colorado about what could be even worse than being a Rapids fan.

One last bit of MLS news:

Smart move from the league, allowing fans to follow the drama as FC Dallas and those jerks from NYRB vie for the Supporters Shield.

USMNT depth chart: Goalkeepers | Stars and Stripes FC
Ryan Rosenblatt and Rob Usry are not DCU fans, but they are big Bill Hamid fans. Here, they say what we've been saying a lot: Hamid should be the #3 goalkeeper for the USMNT, and Jurgen Klinsmann hasn't given him a fair shot.

USWNT continues Victory Tour vs. Brazil on Wednesday in Seattle |
All the odds and ends you need to know ahead of tonight's Victory Tour match against Brazil. The squad includes 4 Washington Spirit players: Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris (more on her in a second) from the World Cup-winning selection, plus 2015 NWSL MVP Crystal Dunn and Christine Nairn, recalled after 6 (!) years in the wilderness.

Orlando City Officially Awarded NWSL Expansion Team, Names Club Orlando Pride | The Mane Land
This was a poorly kept secret. It's also bad news with regards to Harris:

It's been a tough offseason for the Spirit. Mark Parsons was snatched away by the Portland Thorns, and now this. It's not entirely surprising that Harris would want to play close to home, but still.

Orlando joins NWSL as expansion club | The Bent Musket
Among other things mentioned here, ex-USWNT head coach Tom Sermanni will be in charge of the Pride, which pretty much guarantees that they'll be competitive right away. Also, Boston Breakers fans were handed the news that their arduous 2015 season won't even result in getting the #1 pick in the NWSL draft.

USA vs. Croatia, 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup: Final score 2-2, Americans blow two-goal lead to split the points | Stars and Stripes FC
The US u-17s appeared on the brink of giving American fans anything to be happy about when it comes to males playing soccer, only to blow a 2-0 lead. It could have been worse, too, as Croatia hit the woodwork twice in stoppage time. Nonetheless, Richie Williams will get his team into the knockout round if they can beat Chile. Who are the host. Gulp.

3 things we learned from Arsenal's 2-0 win over Bayern Munich | SB Nation
There were a bunch of Champions League games yesterday, but this one seems like the biggest deal.

There were CCL matches last night too, but this was written before they were done. Check RSL Soapbox for more on Real Salt Lake's crucial match against Guatemala's CSD Municipal.

Alright, this is over 1000 words so I'll shut up.