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New MLS jerseys, Claudio Ranieri, & more: Freedom Kicks for 2/24/2017

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D.C. United preseason, USWNT friendlies, and women making history are what we’re thinking about today

Last night, I had a dream that D.C. United traded Julian Buescher to Orlando City for $750,000 in TAM. Specifically, in the dream I was doing a last look at an article for this very site before publishing, and that’s where I learned of the trade. This is not the first “editing a blog post” dream I’ve had, and it probably won’t be the last. Anyway, links:

Let’s start off with D.C. United assistant coach Chad Ashton, who was wearing a mic on Wednesday:

My favorite part of this is the halftime discussion with Rob Vincent about the specifics of how to communicate as a #6. The little things add up.

Who will win the 2017 MLS Golden Boot? Not who you'd expect | MLSsoccer.com
Andrew Wiebe took a stab at predicting the Golden Boot winner for the upcoming season. He didn’t pick Patrick Mullins, but he did at least make sure to acknowledge him as a possibility.

USA will play Norway away in June | Stars and Stripes FC
The USWNT is playing two away games in June, which will be their first friendlies outside the US in two years. US Soccer seems to be scheduling games for every international window, which might be why the NWSL schedule has not yet been released.

Speaking of the NWSL, while the Washington Spirit lost a lot of big-name players, they did at least add to arguably the best set of dogs in the league:

Julian Gressel making a push for the starting lineup | Dirty South Soccer
I’m not surprised. Still out here on Gressel Is A 9 Hill, though.

Celine Dion finally reacts to infamous butt tattoo | Sounder at Heart
Not sure there’s anything I can add to this.

Sounders’ new kit is ode to history | Sounder at Heart
Seattle also got themselves a new shirt, and I must say it looks pretty good. There’s also a bit in here about how Sounders fans can get the championship star on any jersey, rather than just on the (very expensive) authentic version. As it should be for every jersey Adidas makes, but apparently this took quite a bit of effort just for Sounders fans to get an exemption.

Columbus Crew SC 2017 jerseys and sponsor reportedly leaked | Massive Report
Good news: the Crew’s horrid, worst-in-MLS-history “For Columbus” kit is gone, and they’re bringing back yellow with black at home.

Claudio Ranieri fired by Leicester City | SB Nation
It’s sad, but this is probably a reasonable call in and of itself. It has looked for a while now that Ranieri’s message is no longer getting through to his players, and something has to change to break their downward spiral.

Here’s the thing, though. You fire your coach when two things happen: you know the current boss can’t do it, and you’ve picked out a replacement that will do better. The first thing has clearly happened, but will Leicester find someone who fits this squad tactically and psychologically? I have my doubts.

In any case, Ranieri is a very good coach who was smart enough to alter a ton of his preferences for a group that needed to be a super-simple, counter-attacking side to succeed. It may not have been a long-term recipe to turn a relegation struggler into a year-in, year-out contender, but it gave soccer a pretty amazing year.

Wayne Rooney says he won’t leave Manchester United for China this season. Can he solidify his legacy before he exits? | SB Nation
I think MLS clubs should pursue Wayne Rooney. I just think the MLS club I support should not be one of them.

Also, I think Rooney should have just gone now. At 31 and clearly physically declining, the window to get paid is small.

Chan Yuen-ting learns tough lessons vs. Scolari in AFC Champions League | ESPNFC
Chan Yuen-ting is the first woman to coach a team in the Asian Champions League. She’s also just 28 years old. Her club Eastern SC had a rough go of it against Guangzhou Evergrande - they suffered two red cards early, and one player who wasn’t ejected was playing despite suffering from food poisoning - but it’s still pretty cool to see a female head coaches making some headway.

Changing How the World Thinks About Set Pieces | StatsBomb
This made the rounds earlier in the week, but I think it’s worth a read. I’m also glad to see the example being used, because it includes a wrinkle that is one of the (many) reasons short corners are a thing. I know there will be objections in the comments, but teams that make good use of set pieces mix them in for a reason.

Rayo OKC turf being tested at MCU park | Soc Takes
Maximum NASL.

It’s Friday. It’s almost preposterously warm for February. My advice? Find a way to get yourself outside during the workday. Don’t take no for an answer, fam.