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Clint Dempsey in training, MLS trades, NWSL news, & more: Freedom Kicks for 1/27/2017

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D.C. United preseason is just getting started, while Minnesota is splashing the (allocation) cash

Yesterday saw roughly 1,000 MLS trades and signings, with the expansion clubs doing most of the work. Meanwhile, D.C. United headed down to Florida for the first leg of their preseason (and posted a bunch of video from media day). As such, just keeping up with the news has left me with no customary odd ball opening. Let’s get to it:

Hermann Trophy star Harkes on familiar turf with D.C. United | Washington Times
Thomas Floyd takes a look at Ian Harkes, who remains the big story with D.C. United right now.

Catching up with Eric Klenofsky: "I just want to be the best Eric Klenofsky I can be" | Once a Metro
Our friends at OaM (don’t hold the team they cover against them) had previously interviewed D.C. United draft pick Eric Klenofsky, and this time around they discussed his trial with Everton and the experience of being picked during the SuperDraft.

Elsewhere, former United homegrown Michael Seaton has done enough in Israel’s 2nd division to earn a move up to the top flight with Hapoel Tel Aviv:

Will Kuntz named LAFC VP of soccer operations and assistant general manager | Angels on Parade
LAFC continues to build up their front office, with a new hire working with former United midfielder John Thorrington on the on-field side of things.

Before we move away from DCU-related news, the team won an award yesterday:

Clint Dempsey passes fitness test with flying colors | Sounder at Heart
Things are trending well for Clint Dempsey in his attempt to return from the heart problem that ended his season and threatened his career.

Orlando City trades Kevin Molino to Minnesota in record MLS deal | Orlando Sentinel
I think Kevin Molino is a really good player that is pretty badly underrated in a lot of MLS circles. However, I also think Minnesota is overpaying by a crazy amount for a guy that Jason Kreis had turned into a sub by the end of last season. I think the Lions just ate the Loons for lunch...which I guess makes sense given the nature of lions and loons.

And as Orlando themselves made clear in the official announcement, they even retained a percentage of future transfer fees! If you get a call from MNUFC for a player, might as well start negotiations at $3 million dollars and see what happens.

Here are the reactions from Orlando and Minnesota:

Orlando City Reportedly Trading Kevin Molino To Minnesota in MLS Record Deal | The Mane Land
BREAKING: Minnesota United Trades for MF Kevin Molino, GK from Orlando City | E Pluribus Loonum

(a billion Atlanta United moves) | Dirty South Soccer
Look, ATL did too much yesterday, so instead of picking one move out I’m just going to send you to Dirty South Soccer and let you pick what to read. Plenty of options.

Evidence of implicit racial bias in MLS officiating prompts questions about American soccer culture | SB Nation
This is based off of a pretty flawed article, but it doesn’t take the same course as that original piece. Instead, it looks into a lot of other angles that need to be discussed at length. For example, PRO (Professional Referees Organization) responds to the study here by declaring that they’re “100% confident” that there’s no implicit racial bias in the work their refs do in American soccer. The chances of that being actually true are so small as to be non-existent, and it would be more helpful for PRO, MLS, fans, and everyone in between to concede that implicit bias does exist and then try to figure out how to overcome that. Pretending it’s not real won’t solve the problem.

Meanwhile in the NWSL, the North Carolina Courage unveiled their first-ever home jersey:

Pretty boring, in my opinion, but I suppose a team that was moved on short notice probably doesn’t have the time to spend a day fiddling with patterns. At least it’s a nice shade of blue.

Episode 89: Courage, courage for our friends | 2 Drunk Fans
Speaking of the Courage, they’re starting business in North Carolina, a state with some extremely regressive laws when it comes to the trans community. This week on the 2DF podcast, fans of women’s soccer from that community talked about the complicated situation that is a team in an LGBTQ+ friendly league moving to a state with these laws on the books.

Projecting the Impact of Orlando Pride’s New Players | The Mane Land
Orlando has undergone quite a few changes. Alex Morgan and Canada national team players Josee Belanger and Kaylyn Kyle are gone, and Ali Krieger ( :( ) and Australia WNT starter Alanna Kennedy have reinforced a leaky defense.

Seattle Reign sign Australian forward Larissa Crummer | Ride of the Valkyries
Speaking of Aussies in the NWSL, Seattle just added a potentially dangerous #9 to a lineup that is already very strong. If Crummer stays healthy, she’s going to be a good addition.

Finally, since it’s Friday, here’s a happy song. Remember to have fun out there if you can.