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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, USWNT, MLS, and UEFA Champions League links for Wednesday March 11, 2015

Aguilar has roommates, Kitchen will soon have no hair, the Algarve Cup final is today, and other links!

Masashi Hara/Getty Images

I usually like to start off with silliness, but today is not all fun and games. It was four years ago today (at 2:46pm local time, or 1:46am EST) that the Tohoku earthquake and ensuing tsunami hit Japan, causing the second-worst nuclear disaster in history.

Terps Announce Spring Schedule Tuesday |
United will send a team a few miles north to play a closed-door match against the Maryland Terrapins this Friday at 10am. Ludwig Field is not exactly a closed facility, though, so this might be tempting for the enterprising sort of go-getter who doesn't need to be at work in the middle of the day.

D.C. United, St. Baldrick’s, Boundary Stone Team Up in Support of Childhood Cancer Research |
Perry Kitchen will get his head shaved while Ben Olsen, Andrew Dykstra, and Conor Doyle serve as barber/bartenders. That's not a sentence I expected to ever type. Great cause nonetheless. United will be matching donations made to support the fight against childhood cancer.

Q&A: Miguel Aguilar on Debut with D.C. United |
Miguel Aguilar talks about how the crowd reaction to this felt and how he, Travis Worra, and Luke Mishu are roommates. It'll be like the Real World Fort Washington, except the players actually get paid a livable wage this time.

Montreal Impact winger to undergo surgery for dislocation and fracture in left elbow, will miss four months |
Justin Mapp's gruesome elbow injury was not just a dislocation, but a fracture as well. It's a brutal blow for him and for the Impact, who really need his trickery from the wing to break defenses down. Andres Romero - who missed out on Saturday with a quad injury - is the most likely long-term replacement, but until he's fit it'll either be Dilly Duka switching flanks to make room for Blake Smith or Jack McInerney taking up a starting role up front to allow Dominic Oduro to play as a right winger.

How the English explain MLS | Sounder At Heart
Good find by S@H here (or at least, I found it via their finding it, so I'm sending you to them): A quick video by The Guardian explaining how "the MLS" works to fans in the UK. MLS is on TV there now, though most games are only going to be seen by insomniacs. Nevertheless, it's interesting to see how MLS looks outside the MLS nerd bubble that many of us stay in 24/7.

USWNT’s performances in the Algarve Cup are worrying, not reassuring |
Mark Shawhan offers up a clear, concise explanation of why the USWNT's tactical set-up is not working right now and will not work in the summer. It also contains a note that Iceland - a country with about half as many people in it than the city of Baltimore - held one of the world's most talented attacks to five shots in a 90-minute game. I have a very bad feeling that France is going to give us another harsh lesson today, and what's worse is that Jill Ellis is not going to learn from it. Round of 16 exit this summer, here we come!!!

CONCACAF Watch: CCL schedule tweak would benefit region |
Jon Arnold knows CONCACAF, and this is a great point: The CCL should adjust its timing to mirror what's done in Asia, where their Champions League is contained within a calendar year. It's not just because MLS teams would be better off, either. CONCACAF crowns its champion earlier than any other federation, which means there's more of a chance of said champion being in lesser form by the time the Club World Cup rolls around. If CONCACAF wants to put their best foot forward, sending a club who won the CCL a month before the CWC starts is a much smarter policy.

Apologies as always for Goal's irrational policy of autoplay videos, which remain an openly hostile way to treat users.

Will USL players follow MLS union’s path? | Soccer Insider
Steve Goff with a piece here on an attempt for USL players to unionize. It's only just getting started, though, so it's not like they're about to enter a bare-knuckle CBA brawl quite yet.

Lionel Messi on Argentina roster for friendly vs. El Salvador at FedEx Field | Soccer Insider
Look, I know getting to see Messi in person is something soccer fans should do once if the chance comes up. I get it. However, this game is the same day as United's match against the Galaxy at RFK Stadium, so I know where I'm going to be. If you're going to do the opposite and attend this friendly game instead, I'd recommend leaving right now since Fedex Field is located at the end of a time warp that is full of traffic.

Porto vs. Basel 2015: Final score 4-0, Swiss roll over in Porto demolition |
Porto and their terrible Warrior jerseys are through to the Champions League quarterfinals.

3 things we learned from Schalke 04's 4-3 win over Real Madrid |
Schalke is the first visitor to score 4 goals at the Bernabeu in over a decade, and they won on the night, but they're still out of the UCL.