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US to win 2026 World Cup?, NWSL kicks off 5th season, and more: Freedom Kicks for 4/14/2017

Not much D.C. United news yesterday, but the Washington Spirit have you covered

The fifth NWSL season starts tomorrow, and the Washington Spirit are at home. There’s even plenty of time between the end of their game and kickoff of D.C. United’s trip to face the Metros for you to go up to the Plex and still make it home. This is peer pressure, I’m peer pressuring you. Forecast of 70 and sunny at kickoff, friends.

And here’s plenty of reading material to prepare yourself:

NWSL Preview 2017 | SB Nation
In-depth previews of all 10 teams, from the folks that know them best.

2017 Washington Spirit Field Guide | Black and Red United
And here’s where you can find everything we’ve written in the build up to the season opener.

Washington Spirit was almost NWSL champ last year. So why was it gutted? | Washington Post
Steve Goff talks to head coach/GM Jim Gabarra about just what went on this offseason.

NWSL missed the mark with go90 | Equalizer Soccer
The league announced their streaming partner for 2017 (at last), and not everyone is happy about it.

Bruce Arena: USA positioned to be a 'big player,' can win by 2026 World Cup | Sports Illustrated
Can the United States win the 2026 World Cup? Yeah, sure, why not. I’m more interested in the Michael Bradley/Jermaine Jones discussion, and the 61 man depth chart.

USL Television Network Debuts in 17 Markets | USL Soccer
Putting aside the slightly grandiose opening to this, a pretty cool development for the USL. After all, we’re talking about a situation where 17 USL cities are broadcasting on local TV. We’ve come a long way.

2017 US Open Cup First Round pairings unveiled with potential Round 2 matchups |
Staying at the lower levels of American soccer, the first two rounds of the US Open Cup have been set. Locally, Maryland amateur side Christos FC will play at Fredericksburg FC, while Williamsburg’s Legacy 76 will be at the Carolina Dynamo. The Fredericksburg-Christos winner will face none other than the Richmond Kickers in the 2nd round.

Mike Judge, the Bard of Suck | New York Times
This was a good read on the man behind Beavis & Butt-Head, Office Space, and Idiocracy. I did see a lot of complaints about the lack of discussion of King of the Hill, but that show was about characters and stories Judge felt warmth towards. This is about his works that skewer American culture, and King of the Hill wasn’t really a brutal takedown of Texas in the way that, say, Office Space was of the white collar world.

Anyway, it’s a good article, that’s what I’m trying to say.

Capitals vs. Maple Leafs Recap: Wilson Wins Game One for Washington in OT | Japers’ Rink
This was terrifying. And if the Caps are going to finally, finally lift the Stanley Cup in my lifetime, it will have to happen at least 15 more times. This is healthy.

That’s all I’ve got. It’s going to be nice out today, so my advice is to try to get outside for lunch. Let me know what you’re eating in the comments.