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“You’re what is wrong with America!” Friday Freedom Kicks for December 23, 2016

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Some D.C. United tidbits, the MLS Re-Entry Draft, and a story about hippos

I was going to talk about The Thing again, but yesterday was balmy by recent standards. So...uh...hey, what’s for lunch? I’ve only been awake for a few minutes, and I’m thinking of getting Peruvian chicken already. And now that we’ve stumbled through an introduction, let’s get to the links:

Jose Ortiz: the obligatory FM scouting report, with excessive discourse. | Black and Red United
Longtime reader Stunned Duck looked at Ortiz’s Football Manager stats, and digs into what we might make of them. Interesting both for D.C. United fans and for Football Manager nerds.

As one such nerd, I’d like to add that I have a narrow path to a Champions League place with AC Pisa, and I am spending multiple hours every day thinking about how to pull it off.

D.C. United Fan Interview #2 with Jason Anderson [Part 2 of 4] | Filmi Girl!
Another reader, filmigirl, recently interviewed me about my experiences as a D.C. United fan over the years. It was really fun to do, and I am grateful she thought of asking me to ramble at length. This second part (like I said, I rambled at length) in the series includes the story of how a random casual fan declared my friends and I to be “what is wrong with America!”

Now or never: 7 MLS players entering make-or-break 2017 seasons | FourFourTwo USA
Nick DeLeon is included in Scott French’s list. I don’t agree that he faces a make-or-break year, but the article as a whole is interesting nonetheless.

Sounders acquire Harry Shipp in trade with Impact | Sounder at Heart
Since I think pretty highly of Harry Shipp, I think this is a pretty excellent move for Seattle. Even if Clint Dempsey is just fine in 2017, their front four consists of him, Nicolas Lodeiro, Jordan Morris, and...? Now they have Shipp, who can play anywhere in the three attacking midfield positions, and is comfortable playing a flexible role that changes based on the movements of others. That’s perfect as a partner for Lodeiro. Even if Seattle adds another attacker - and, with an open DP spot, they will - Shipp is going to play a lot.

Mike Petke named Real Monarchs head coach | RSL Soapbox
Petke showed plenty as a coach with the Red Bulls, and he is probably a sharper soccer mind than a few current MLS coaches, so this seems like a great hire. RSL’s USL side will be in great hands, and if Jeff Cassar - whose job isn’t exactly secure after a poor 2016 - struggles, a strong replacement is just down the hall.

Let’s talk about the Re-Entry Draft, shall we?

Crew SC pick Josh Williams in Stage 2 of MLS Re-Entry Draft | Massive Report
Columbus badly needs center backs, and they added someone who they’re very familiar with in Josh Williams during yesterday’s Re-Entry Draft.

Dynamo select Leonardo in Second stage of MLS Re-entry Draft | Dynamo Theory
This one makes less sense. Houston has the right idea in adding center backs - they just signed Panamanian national team regular Adolfo Machado - but Leonardo is just like the guys they ended 2016 with, which is to say he’s not better than the replacement-level options that they should be improving upon.

Sporting KC Select Andrew Dykstra in Re-Entry Draft | The Blue Testament
Former United GK Andrew Dykstra was picked by KC, who have a week to offer him a deal.

Earthquakes take former Salt Lake forward in re-entry draft | The Mercury News
Push past the strange choice to describe a thin forward/winger who plays on the dribble as a “target forward,” and this might actually be the most intriguing pick of the Re-Entry Draft. There’s certainly room for someone to emerge as a partner for Chris Wondolowski.

The Limits of the MLS Homegrown System | USSoccerPlayers.com
Charles Boehm tackles the weird Homegrown claim Sporting KC has successfully placed on US under-17 Josh Sargent.

Laura Harvey, Jess Fishlock reflect on Seattle Reign FC’s tough fourth season | Ride of the Valkyries
The Seattle Reign are more open about what they do and why they do it than most pro soccer teams, and this is a perfect example. Harvey, the club’s head coach, and key veteran Fishlock sat down to frankly discuss a 2016 season that ended in disappointment, and the team packaged the whole thing as a video series.

American Hippopotamus | Atavist Magazine
If you have time to settle in and read something in the 15,000+ word range, I can’t recommend this tale enough. The inspiration for Boy Scouts, his arch-enemy, post-industrial revolution farming issues, the Second Boer War, aliases, and the political process are all bundled into this deeply researched look at the life and times of Frederick Russell Burnham.

Enjoy your Friday! Hopefully by the next time I’m in this space, I will have taken possession of the gladiator helmet that serves as my fantasy football league’s trophy.