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Friday Freedom Kicks: Germans, MLS, and NASL (but mostly Germans)

It's Friday, and we've got your soccer links to get your day started. We also have Germans. Lots of Germans.

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It's March, which means a certain Madness is preventing us from watching Major League Soccer tonight on Spanish-language TV. But, without soccer to watch on a Friday night, we all should have a little more time to join with our German friends (and certain B&RU writers) in celebrating Manuel Neuer's birthday. The World Cup-winning keeper, a 2014 finalist for the Ballon d'Or, is generally considered the best in the world (Bill Hamid is gunning for you, Manuel!). He turns 29 today. So, go watch the German-language versions of Pixar's Monsters University (he was a voice actor in it) or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (he won €500K for charity on it once), or just wait for the Bundesliga to finally get on a TV network you actually have later this year.

On with the links!

DC United vs. LA Galaxy | MLS Match Preview |
We'll have more to say throughout the day on D.C. United's big game tomorrow against LA. In the meantime, here's the league website's prematch breakdown of United vs. Galaxy.

Things to Know: D.C. United vs LA Galaxy at RFK Stadium | D.C. United
Some nice factoids from the club's website. Use these in Lot 8 to impress your friends.

Perry Kitchen not suspended for apparent stamp at Red Bull Arena | ProSoccerTalk
The D.C. United midfielder appears to be getting off lightly, and the Red Bull captain isn't pleased.

LA Galaxy forward Edson Buddle ready to fill in for Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes vs. DC United |
More about D.C. United's opponent on Saturday. Did you know Edson Buddle is one of only eight players to have 100 MLS goals?  I didn't know that.

LA Galaxy restore Angel City Brigade supporters' gameday privileges for rest of 2015 season |
This applies to Saturday's game at RFK as well.

Another Big Stop for Thornton: D.C. United | D.C. United
Nice profile of Ben Olsen's newest lieutenant. Zach Thornton has led an interesting life, and now he finds himself as the position coach for D.C.'s brightest star--Bill Hamid.

Bradley Wright-Phillips wins MLS Player of the Week | US Soccer Players
New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips is the MLS Player of the Week for week 3 with a goal and an assist.  I hate when players win this award against United.

NASL Should Embrace Minnesota United's MLS Move
I'm fascinated by the NASL.  Not by the its soccer on the field, but by its stated desire to compete directly with the MLS.  Despite what they say, their business strategy just seems to make no sense given the publicly available data.  This article is from last week, but it goes along with other links published in Freedom Kicks this week about the NASL.  Here's the article's summary:  "Before the [NASL] can hope to compete with MLS, it must first recognize that there is still a battle to be fought in the lower divisions [against the USL]." This is the most cogent discussion of NASL I've seen in a while, but it likely hasn't gone over well with the NASL's "we are in direct competition with MLS" crowd.  But seriously, if the NASL and USL were stocks, which would you invest in right now?

NASL Los Angeles expansion isn't coming soon, according to reports - Twice a Cosmo
Without a team in the Pacific time zone by the start of the 2016 season, NASL could lose its division 2 status.

NASL: NASL Issues Statement On Minnesota United FC Announcement
With Minnesota United FC's upcoming move to MLS, the NASL issued a statement.  It seems they are living in a different reality than the rest of the soccer world.

ASN Infographics: What do you think of Jurgen Klinsmann
Go make your mark on this infographic!

US Soccer appoints Euro 1996-winning coach Berti Vogts as USMNT technical advisor |
The German takeover of US soccer nears its inevitable completion!

Soccer’s rich list: Jose Mourinho best paid coach, here’s the top 20 | ProSoccerTalk
How long until an MLS coach gets on this list?

Soccer’s rich list: Who are the top 20 highest earning players? | ProSoccerTalk
Will MLS get a player on this list or a coach on the other list first?

Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez to sign 3-year deal with Al Sadd say reports - ESPN FC
Barcelona midfielder Xavi is on the verge of signing a three-year contract with Qatari club Al Sadd, according to reports in Spain. SHOW ME THE MONEY! ALL THE MONEY!

UEFA fines Malmo $110,000 for "poor pitch"; racism still only $11,000 | ProSoccerTalk
This is not OK.

Share what's on your mind in the comments below, and please drop any links to interesting articles you see throughout the day.