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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, Washington Spirit, US Open Cup, and Voyageurs Cup links for Wednesday August 12, 2015

There is a lot of soccer happening today.

Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

I didn't read anything online yesterday that was not related to soccer, so no movie links or pretentious music talk for you guys today. I will note that I took the dog to the vet for his shots, and they had a complicated gumball machine there. Is that weird, or is it just me? I think of gumball machines as belonging in pizza joints and mom-and-pop businesses. It weirded me out, and I like to think the dog was weirded out too.


The Last Word on D.C. United's win over the Montreal Impact: Is the other shoe going to drop? | Black and Red United
This went up just before 9pm last night, so here I am shamelessly linking it again for more pageviews sharing it with the morning crowd because I'm generous.

D.C. United, N.Y. City FC show it’s not what you spend, it’s how you spend | Washington Post
Steve Goff goes into detail on the different team-building methods employed by United and NYCFC.

D.C. United players look ahead to matchup with NYFC | CSN Washington
Before you start, that's not our typo. Anyway, here's Chris Rolfe and Taylor Kemp talking about the same topic as Goff wrote about. Somehow I think this is going to keep coming up.

Black and Red Basics | D.C. United at New York City FC |
Lindsay Simpson talks up David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, and (to a lesser degree) Frank Lampard. That's fair in my book given Lampard's lack of international success with European minnows England.

Now that I'm done insulting the Three Lions, let's talk US Open Cup. The semifinals are both tonight, and not staggered so you can watch both, because US Soccer is nothing if not good at scheduling.

Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire Open Cup Semi-Finals Preview | The Brotherly Game
TBG has been doing some great work in the gallows humor department (not to mention regular humor), and here they manage to a) preview tonight's Union-Fire USOC game and b) refer to it as "David vs. David" rather than David vs. Goliath.

Fire vs. Union: Who's worse? | The Brotherly Game
This may actually be the most pertinent piece on the subject. These two teams are garbage, but which one is more garbage-y?

Graham Zusi gametime decision against Real Salt Lake | The Blue Testament
In the other, higher-quality semifinal, Sporting KC seems unlikely to have Graham Zusi on the field from the start (if at all).

Also, I should note that despite this being the obvious candidate for the better soccer game of the two, and the one where there's talk of a rivalry due to mutual disdain, I am compelled to watch Philly and Chicago in their life-or-death struggle instead. There's more on the line for those two teams; the loser's 2015 season essentially ends right now, in mid-August.

RSL needs quick, effective turnabout against SKC | RSL Soapbox
Real Salt Lake rotated in a bunch of reserves against Vancouver so that they could be at full strength in tonight's Cup match. They did that even though they were playing a conference game on the road, and even though they sit 3 points out of the playoffs. Ballsy. I kind of dig it though.

Home again, Washington Spirit looks to rebound from road defeat | Soccer Insider
The Washington Spirit have a big home game tonight against the Western NY Flash. They're currently in playoff position and have played one less game than every team trailing them in the NWSL standings, but after tonight's match at the Soccerplex they'll play 3 of their final 4 on the road.

The game kicks off at 7pm, and if you can't make the trip up to the Plex you can watch the game on Youtube.

Spirit look to rebound against the Flash |
Here's a quick look back on the last time the two clubs played, with the Flash winning 3-2.

Ashlyn Harris got the best present ever from a fan (and Alex Morgan agrees) | ESPN W
Sharks for feet!

Whitecaps face Impact in first leg of ACC final | Eighty Six Forever
It's also a Cup day up in Canada, where the first leg of the Voyageurs Cup will take place at Stade Saputo. The Whitecaps are the favorites here due to their place in the MLS standings as well as their depth, but Vancouver has been the runner-up 5 times since 2008 without taking the trophy even once. VWFC's spot in this year's CCL was due to an agreement to give the berth to the top Canadian MLS team from 2014 to accommodate a schedule shift for the tournament.

Canadian Championship looms | Mount Royal Soccer
Justin Mapp could see his first competitive action of any kind since his gruesome elbow injury at RFK all the way back in the season opener.

Also: Sounders wine? Sounders wine. The sense of entitlement is easily detected in the nose, while the finish is the essence of an early playoff exit.

Costa Rican national team manager gets butt kicked by fan | SB Nation