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Kekuta Manneh trade, D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union, Washington Spirit, & more: Freedom Kicks for 3/31/2017

DCU vs. Doop and Jack Burton vs. Lo Pan

Guess what? I said too much in a Freedom Kicks post, so this intro is going to be really short.

Ian Harkes previews the Philadephia Union |
Since we talked about bad DCU news yesterday, let’s start off with the palate cleanser that is an actual soccer game. We’ll have more D.C. United material today, including Opposition 11 and a video on tactics (OK, so the latter might not go up until tomorrow, we’ll see how much time the world grants me).

Washington Spirit to host Duke University on Saturday in friendly |
This game is free! Get a ticket! Why watch one soccer game tomorrow when you can comfortably fit in two (this one will end at 4, so there’s plenty of time to do battle on the Beltway and get to RFK to tailgate)? It’s what all the cool kids (i.e. me) are doing.

The Scouting Special Report: Washington Spirit | Backline Soccer
Our friends at Backline Soccer discussed how they think the Spirit will do this year and took questions about a wide range of Spirit topics last night.

The Slaves of St Petersburg | Josimar
A Norwegian magazine did an extensive investigation into the construction of Zenit Stadium, which will host games in the upcoming Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup. Workers being lied to and not paid, unsafe conditions, North Korean laborers working as virtual slaves, and government officials dismissing everything. Don’t be surprised when stories like this keep coming up as Russia 2018 approaches.

Columbus Crew SC trade Tony Tchani to Vancouver Whitecaps for Kekuta Manneh | Massive Report
Vancouver Whitecaps trade Kekuta Manneh to Columbus Crew SC | Eighty Six Forever
Nothing like a bombshell Friday trade. There are a lot of details to sort here: Vancouver gets Tony Tchani, $225,000 in TAM, $75,000 in GAM. Columbus gets Kekuta Manneh. If the Crew manage to sign Manneh to a deal (he’s out of contract at the end of this season), they owe Vancouver their next 1st round draft pick. The Whitecaps also have clauses to get more GAM if the Crew trade Manneh within MLS before 12/31/2018, and will get a share of the transfer fee if the Crew sell him abroad.

Vancouver is basically betting substantially that Manneh goes abroad as a free agent next winter. They’re also betting big on Tchani, who was awful in 2016 and has a career defined by injury and erratic form. That part of this is odd, because the Whitecaps already have Russell Teibert and Andrew Jacobson; Tchani does not reasonably strengthen their midfield to the extent that this trade would point to, but Carl Robinson must be 100% sure he can get the 2015 version of Tchani to stay at that level for multiple seasons. Good luck with that pipe dream, Robbo.

As for Columbus, Manneh’s arrival probably means a spot on the bench for one of their wide men, but which one? Manneh loves to cut in from the left, which would mean he pushes Justin Meram aside, but Meram has been better than Ethan Finlay for a while now. Manneh could easily play down the right and bring what Finlay does (save perhaps Finlay’s ability to get the occasional goal via header).

Also, D.C. United should be blowing up the Crew’s phones to get Finlay, who fits the current Black-and-Red style of play like a glove.

Toronto FC vs Sporting KC: Match Preview | The Blue Testament
Preview: Toronto FC hope home is sweet against Sporting KC | Waking the Red
MLS’s slate of games starts tonight with Sporks-TFC. With Benny Feilhaber ruled out due to injury and TFC’s numerous national team players likely on heavy legs, I suspect this game might be a “first goal wins” sort of affair.

Sounders injury update: Jordan Morris deemed fit, all other internationals available for selection | Sounder at Heart
Atlanta United at Seattle Sounders: What to Watch For | Dirty South Soccer
Even with the possibility that this game goes off without Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris, and Miguel Almiron, it’s the one to watch tonight. If Kenwyne Jones can’t play due to international duty, Atlanta may field Yamil Asad as a false 9. I think they should try Julian Gressel up front, because it is an idea that I am not letting go of, but in any case it should be a pretty intriguing match.

Reign FC Original: Haley Kopmeyer | Ride of the Valkyries
Being drafted by an NWSL team means life comes at you fast:

While she did declare for the draft, the teams that she figured would draft a goalkeeper were passing her by and, already having a full-time job, she had to weigh the risk of chasing the dream to play professional soccer. “I decided within a day or two (after being drafted)...I made my way up to Seattle and one day later, we ran the beep test and flew to Tokyo.”

Matt Beard is confident Boston will win more this year | The Bent Musket
Elsewhere in the NWSL, the Boston Breakers are...confident? 2017 is weird, y’all. Plenty of praise for former Spirit defender Megan Oyster in here, though, which is not all that surprising because she’s really good.

“Big Trouble in Little China: The Game” Looks Fan-Freaking-Tastic | io9
It’s been a while since I provided some Kurt Russell news. Please accept my apologies, and remember that it’s all in the reflexes.

Since I was charged with posting “weird” videos yesterday, I might as well steer into the turn. Here’s a teenager in a suit reviewing two different types of water.

You might think this is some obscure thing, but he’s got over 183,000 subscribers. The internet is...good? bad?

The internet is something. Happy Friday.