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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, MLS, and Champions League links for Wednesday April 13, 2016

Some DCU and MLS news, plus we check in on Perry Kitchen

Are you coming to our meet-up Saturday? Please come and meet us. We're nice! Well, some members of the staff are nice. Anyway, links!

Child abuse victim beats the odds and overcomes his past and now tries to inspire others |
United's Charlie Horton is standing up for child abuse victims after having to overcome violent abuse himself.

From the Pigeon Loft: The only permanent job in football is "supporter" | Away From The Numbers
The reactions to United's ban of a District Ultra continue to come in from all over MLS. Here's a good one from a Whitecaps-focused site.

Independent Supporters Council Calls for Hypocritical, Unfair and Arbitrary Sanctions in MLS to End |
A pretty clear statement from the ISC, which represents a large number of MLS supporters groups.

Hearts’ Perry Kitchen hungry for second spot | Edinburgh Evening News
Before Hearts took the field to face Inverness Caledonian Thistle, former United midfielder Perry Kitchen did this interview. Hearts went on to get a 0-0 draw, which sealed a spot in next year's Europa League for them.

TFC notebook: Suspension looming for Justin Morrow? |
Toronto FC could be missing starting left back Justin Morrow due to the Disciplinary Committee taking a look at a tackle of his from the weekend. That's good news for United, as Morrow is a great left back.

Audi MLS Player Index Week 6: Who finished in the top 20? |
Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio, Luciano Acosta, and Steve Birnbaum got recognized by MLS's sponsored quasi-data thing.

No League For Skilled Men | Dirty South Soccer
The fallout from Nigel de Jong's dangerous tackle on Darlington Nagbe continues. Here's hoping Nagbe isn't carrying complications from his injury for the rest of his career.

Straight Outta Denmark: Union get set piece inspiration from FC Midtjylland |
You might have noticed the arguably offside wall of Philadelphia Union players on Tranquillo Barnetta's 90th minute gamewinner for the Union over the weekend. This piece talks about where they got the idea and how they're approaching set pieces in general.

It's also worth noting that, in my book, finding a gray area like this is just like an attacker grabbing or shoving a defender and taking the risk that it will go uncalled. They're not all going to be worth it, but you make an educated guess and see where it takes you. A forward who isn't working in those gray areas is probably not scoring goals, and a team that doesn't take risks on set pieces - be it offside players or fouls to get open - is probably not scoring set piece goals.

Are the OC Blues going to come under LAFC umbrella one day? | The Goat Parade
Here's one way for an expansion team to set themselves up with a USL affiliate.

Wolfsburg's ugly badge could be seen in the Champions League semi-finals... but does it make our list of the 10 worst in football? | Daily Mail
Ignore this awful headline and revel in the fact that the New York Red Bulls are being mocked.

Bleachers full of women: Are American clubs treating women as fans or products? | Howler
One thing that D.C. United has always done a good job of is avoiding anything like the examples found here. Unfortunately, plenty of US clubs at multiple levels can't say the same thing for themselves.

3 things we learned from Real Madrid's 3-0 win over Wolfsburg | SB Nation
(Hank Hill voice) That Cristiano Ronaldo can sure kick a ball around, I tell you what.

What we learned from Manchester City beating PSG 1-0 to advance to the Champions League semifinal | SB Nation
A Premier League club advancing over Zlatan's club is a negative in my book. However, I do enjoy the idea of Manuel Pellegrini, on his way out the door, winning the Champions League with a team that probably isn't even one of the eight best in this tournament.

Graham Zusi at loss for words over USWNT wage complaint | Sports Illustrated
Most athletes would really rather not have to go on the record answering questions that potentially could impact their own wages and their relationship with teammates. Watch in awe as Graham Zusi is stuck having to do both.

Could Mexico steal the 2026 World Cup from the United States? | The Early Lead
"Steal" seems harsh, given that the 2026 World Cup has not been allocated to anyone yet.

Three things we learned from the USA vs Colombia friendlies | Stars and Stripes FC
The USWNT beat Colombia by a combined 10-0 in last week's games, but there are still some things to take note of. Tobin Heath, right back? Goalscoring midfielder Allie Long playing as a regista? Give Jill Ellis some credit: She is experimenting in games where it makes sense to experiment, and with a plan in mind. Jurgen Klinsmann could take some notes on that front.

NWSL assignments: Week 1 |
Margaret Domka, who worked numerous 2015 Women's World Cup games, will be the head referee for the Washington Spirit's opener Saturday night.