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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United and USMNT links for Wednesday March 30, 2016

Hard not to talk about our (still) troubled men's national team program after yesterday's doubleheader.

Soccer has been unpleasant lately. Let's start with something good:

Black & Red United is having a meetup April 16th | Black & Red United
We'll be doing our first meetup of 2016 in Lot 8 ahead of D.C. United's game against Toronto FC. Come out and hang out (possibly commiserate?) with your B&RU friends from the internet!

Douglas Development the latest to make a big Buzzard Point play | Washington Business Journal
But I thought it had been conclusively proven forever and ever and ever that stadiums never spark development at all.

Somewhere, Field of Schemes is ignoring this news as hard as they can.

What's next for RFK? | WTOP
Staying with the idea of talking about buildings and sites and zoning, Events DC will be presenting some plans for what will happen with the RFK Stadium site once United moves to Buzzard Point. Even if this is not your favorite topic, there's a great picture of the moment Mexico scored on Italy during the 1994 World Cup (the moment that I learned just how much RFK can shake without collapsing).

USA vs. Guatemala, World Cup 2018 qualifying: Final score 4-0, The U.S. rebound with a convincing win | Stars and Stripes FC
In the soccer equivalent of a healthy adult arriving at work on time, the US beat a very poor Guatemala. Here's the most concise take on how that should make you feel:

Well, that and Steve Birnbaum avoiding the kind of bone-headed mistakes that saw Michael Orozco dropped. Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler are probably first choice when both are healthy, but Birnbaum has used 2016 to put himself into the conversation alongside guys like Omar Gonzalez.

Also, if that conversation still includes Michael Orozco, I will throw a temper tantrum.

Anyway, let's look at what Birnbaum did in this game:

Birnbaum chalkboard, USMNT vs GUA

Lots of squares (which are all passes), and lots of green ones. Birnbaum misplaced just 5 passes all night, and had little actual defending to do. However, given the problems USMNT center backs have had, avoiding mistakes and blandly doing one's job is very good by comparison to his peers.

USA vs. Colombia, Olympics 2016 qualifying: Final score 1-2, Colombian's class dashes American Olympic hopes | Stars and Stripes FC
This game was ugly and honestly I hope you didn't stay up to watch it. The US sat in a deep bunker (which made sense, even if it was not pleasant to watch), didn't keep the ball like they needed to, and honestly the close scoreline ended up being very flattering. After scoring in the 5th minute of the first leg, the US went 175 minutes without putting a shot on frame. Luis Gil got a red card he probably didn't deserve, but then Tim Parker and Kellyn Acosta both should have been sent off before that, so I'm not very interested in the "blame the ref" angle some folks took. This team was not good enough to beat Colombia, bottom line, and their failure really goes back to the loss against Honduras in CONCACAF's qualification tournament.

Armchair Analyst: US U-23s officially eliminated from Rio 2016 Olympics |
Matt Doyle points out the folly of playing what kept turning into a diamond on a team without a true #10. He also takes a strong stance in favor of two players with local connections for the gig: Collin Martin and Jake Rozhansky, who this winter made the incredibly smart decision to leave UVA for Maryland.

USSF reconsidering playing in Charlotte due to North Carolina anti-LGBT laws| Stars and Stripes FC
I hope the USSF doesn't just let this news leak serves as a de facto statement here. I'd like to see them spell out exactly why they're reconsidering the game in Charlotte, and why they'd look elsewhere for future games.

US Soccer announces 2016 National Soccer Hall of Fame nominees |
A Hall of Fame that rejected numerous chances to induct Marco Etcheverry is invalid in my book. Anyway, here are their new nominees and the full list of potential options for voters to choose. They were well short of giving Jaime Moreno enough votes last year. Sharpen your pitchforks.

Mexican Soccer Federation asks fans to boot anti-gay chants | NBC Sports
The FMF made a video including current players trying to put an end to something that should have been stamped out years ago. Very late to the party, FMF, but this is at least a step in a positive direction.

What it’s like to be a weather observer on the tallest mountain in the Northeast | Capital Weather Gang
This is a pretty cool story about the weather observatory at Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. I've been reading a lot about Antarctica this year, and much of this piece reminds me of stuff that goes on there.