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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, USMNT, World Cup qualifying, and other links for Wednesday November 18, 2015

A little Black-and-Red and a lot of red, white, and blue.

It's after 1am, so instead of an intro you get me explaining why there is no intro. To the links!

Alvaro Saborio agrees to new contract with D.C. United | Black and Red United
We reported this a while ago, but now all the ink has dried on the contracts for many forknights, so it's officially official.

Know your owners: DC United | Reporting KC
A lot of this is ground we've covered in the past (in fact, it links back to one of our posts), but I always find it interesting when fans of other MLS clubs write about United from a standpoint of general curiosity.

Team America: Why the United States national team failed as a club |
Pablo Maurer put a ton of research into this excellent piece on one of RFK Stadium's former occupants. Before Team America was a movie, it was a team in the original NASL playing on East Capital Street. Keep an eye out for Thomas Rongen, who pops up playing for the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.

USMNT vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 2018 World Cup qualifying: Final score 0-0, Americans play to boring draw | Stars and Stripes FC
Boring is right. You know what else bothered me? The lack of urgency here. The United States played this one as if it were a January friendly rather than a World Cup qualifier. That's on both the players and the coaching staff. This team needed to sense that T&T basically ran out of gas after 60 minutes, but instead of the USMNT stomping the pedal we saw no change in mindset. Attacking subs sound nice, but without an accompanying boost in intensity you get games like this one.

Armchair Analyst: A road point, but not much progress for US against Trinidad & Tobago |
Some very good notes here from Matt Doyle, including the fact that having a defensive midfielder drop between the center backs in possession while your fullbacks stay home is maybe not the best idea. Or maybe "idea" isn't the right word here, since it would imply a plan that was thought up, examined, and explained. That doesn't sound like the USMNT right now.

Germany vs. Netherlands soccer match canceled, stadium evacuated |
After the horrible tragedy in Paris, yesterday's cancellations - Belgium vs. Spain was also called off as Belgian authorities conducted a manhunt for one of the suspects in the Parisian attacks - may sadly become a more common occurrence for a while.

England–France soccer match in London begins with moving tribute to Paris victims |
Thankfully one match that went off without a hitch was England's friendly against France. Fans at Wembley (which was decked out in French colors) joined players from both sides in singing La Marseillaise.

Recap: How Hong Kong delighted its home fans with a 0-0 draw against China in a frantic World Cup qualifier | South China Morning Post
In looking around the other WCQs going on around the world last week, I noticed that Hong Kong was, at the time, in position to possibly advance ahead of China. I immediately made a note to check up on yesterday's match, and sure enough Hong Kong - a team made virtually entirely from players in their domestic league - pulled off a shock draw.

It's the second 0-0 result between the sides, in fact, and with Asia only allowing the 4 best group runners-up from this stage advance it was bad news for both in terms of playing in Russia. However, the local fans didn't let that stop them from wildly celebrating a result that they'll be talking about for years.

Source: MLS discussing elimination of expansion draft | FC Yahoo
OK, take a second to forgive the name of Yahoo's soccer section, and let's move on to the content of this article. Basically, the expansion draft may be replaced by simply giving new clubs more allocation money and a few more international spots. I don't entirely buy the reasoning Kristian Dyer uses towards the end - "scrap heap" implies that expansion drafts are all unwanted players, when in many cases the player selected was very much in his team's plans - but I do think MLS is better off if more resources are added to the system rather than simply stretching the existing pool to cover one more team.

The "Memento" remake and the death of cinematic respect | One Perfect Shot
A screed on how dumb jerks should not remake outstanding movies. It's not just about the fact that unoriginal ideas clutter our screens, but in this case that filmmakers should have a level of respect for well-executed ideas of the past. No one is making a better (or even worthwhile) alternate version of Memento, and even try is arrogant as well as a waste of time and resources.

At the center of innovation, business, star players, family rivalry: TruSox | Sports Illustrated
Somehow, Grant Wahl's piece on socks, branding, and the player-coach of an ill-conceived USL club ended up being a very fascinating read. And I'm someone whose personal #brand is to hate how often people discuss brands.

Alright, that's all I have. The comment section is yours.