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USMNT & USWNT news, more MLS signings, and sandwiches: Freedom Kicks for Friday, 1/5/2017

Oh, and don’t forget the future of lower division American soccer being determined today

Drive safe this morning. The local dusting of snow has surely turned area roads from their normal Thunderdome status to...uh, Thunderdome on fire! That’s worse, right? Anyway, be safe and kind rather than a screaming fury. I will try to do the same.

For those of you that get through the morning unscathed, here’s some reading material:

Half billion-dollar plans for RFK Stadium site include sports center, market, RFK memorial | Washington Post
Events DC has some conceptual plans for the RFK Stadium footprint once D.C. United moves to Buzzard Point. I was not really expecting to read “paintball” and “trampolines” in such plans, but here we are.

Also, quick note: Indoor lacrosse is mentioned here, which would probably be a lot less popular than an indoor soccer facility. The District has no dedicated place to play indoor soccer, as some of you DC residents have probably bemoaned while driving out beyond the beltway to play. So let’s hope whatever happens over there includes what would be a Metro-accessible place to play indoor at.

The D.C. United View on Collin Martin | E Pluribus Loonum
Our sister site in Minnesota let me say a few words about Collin Martin to introduce Loons fans to their new signing.

Rambarra returns: Christian Ramirez and Miguel Ibarra Sign with Minnesota United | E Pluribus Loonum
They’re also kind of fired up to see two of their best NASL-era players sign today. It wasn’t long ago that Ibarra got 3 USMNT caps, and Ramirez was getting call-ups as well. That might not really have been reasonable, but that’s not to say both aren’t starting-quality MLS players.

RSL interested in Luis Silva, Waibel tells ESPN 700 | RSL Soapbox
According to RSL GM Craig Waibel, former United attacker Luis Silva looks pretty likely to come back to MLS after not breaking through at Tigres (admittedly a huge task) in Liga MX.

Earthquakes Hire Former AS Roma Executive Jesse Fioranelli as General Manager |
It took the Quakes long enough to figure out who to sign as their GM. In the end they chose Fioranelli, a Maryland native who speaks 5 languages. Now, will any of that matter when Dom Kinnear trots out a team playing Dom Kinnear soccer in 2017? We’ll see.

Bruce Arena discusses Dempsey's absence, position changes at January camp |
Bruce Arena talked about his plans for some of his January call-ups. Quick reaction to his statements on where three versatile players would play:

Graham Zusi, right back - I’m interested in seeing him play right back. I don’t think it’s going to turn into anything when qualifying comes around, but who knows? It’s worth a glance in my book.
Kellyn Acosta, holding midfielder - Yes, finally! Klinsmann using him as a fullback was dumb. Acosta is a dynamic central midfielder whose energy helps on both sides of the ball. This is simple.
Gyasi Zardes, winger - I think Zardes is a lot better as a forward, and can only really play wide at a USMNT level in a 433 (and is still better as a central forward), but the gap between winger Zardes and forward Zardes isn’t huge.

Sarah Killion added to USWNT January camp | Stars and Stripes FC
The USWNT is also having a camp this month, and they added Sky Blue midfielder Sarah Killion to the squad today. Personally I think the Spirit’s Tori Huster would be a more worthy pick. Huster is a better ball-winner and is more positionally aware, and while Killion is a better passer, the gap is very small there.

However, Killion is still a very good player, and seeing Jill Ellis call in any natural defensive midfielder is a good sign. Previously, the idea has been to take an attacking midfielder (Lauren Holiday, Morgan Brian, Allie Long, etc) and just hope they adapt. It worked great with Brian, at least, but sometimes you just need a specialist.

New potential owner gives Cosmos hope for survival, but their fate is tied to NASL's | Sports Illustrated
Brian Straus covers the latest turn in the never-ending, daytime soap opera-worthy saga that is the New York Cosmos and the NASL. US Soccer votes later today on whether the NASL, the USL, both, or neither will get Division 2 status, and the fate of the Cosmos - who have a new investor interested - appears to hinge on the outcome.

Sunderland Ladies to return to part-time status, club announce | Sunderland Echo
The folks at the old partner club are selling this like they’re doing the players a favor:

A part-time model for players therefore ensures that students and those with careers such as teaching, can continue to be committed members of the first team squad, without having to make a choice between their career and football.

This is essentially the same as your boss coming in, announcing that you’re being cut back to part time, but only so you can pursue your other interests for 20 more hours a week. How generous!

Here’s an example of what truly taking your women’s team seriously can look like, Sunderland:

Speaking of woso, things got kind of crazy very late last night:

That’s the NWSL champion Western New York Flash, apparently heading to North Carolina less than a week before the draft.

Sources: NWSL champion WNY Flash to relocate to North Carolina | FourFourTwo USA
Here are more details on the surprising news. Flash players were apparently told just yesterday, and on top of that North Carolina’s LGBTQ-hostile HB2 law doesn’t exactly mesh well with the very LGBTQ-friendly NWSL. On the other hand, the Flash appeared to be the weakest NWSL club off the field, and the ownership of the NASL’s North Carolina FC are on better footing. The Triangle has roughly double the population of the Rochester metropolitan area.

There’s a massive restaurant industry bubble, and it’s about to burst | Thrillist
This is less than ideal news, and I wish I had a solution.

Since we’re talking about food, and this publishes in the morning, let’s talk about breakfast sandwiches, my favorite sandwich genre. I endorse a sausage, egg, and cheddar, and have gone to great lengths for that combo, but I’m also in favor of something like pancetta, egg, and arugula with a little pesto. So let’s start there in the comments. What is your preferred breakfast sandwich?