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Pour one out at Audi Field for Johan Cruyff: Wednesday Freedom Kicks

The GOAT would have celebrated his birthday yesterday, and he’d have been as entertained by MLS-adjacent drug smuggling as I am

Oh, hello there. I’m back in the Freedom Kicks game for #onemorningonly (I’m still working on the hashtag, ok?), and I want to talk about renovations. Namely the reno my family is going through at the moment as we prepare for child #2. We’re esssentially turning some dead space on our second floor into a nursery, and doing a couple other side projects. Counterintuitively, I want to talk about it precisely because it’s so damn boring — it’s going swimmingly, and I just want to rave about how it’s turning out just as well as I’d hoped, and ahead of schedule to boot!

Another major construction project that seems to be going well at the moment: D.C. United’s future home on Buzzard Point, Audi Field.

Now that I’ve jinxed my personal home and our future sporting home both to hell in the name of a morning link dump hook, let’s get to the soccer.

D.C. United 2017 salaries: Some big raises for the Black-and-Red - Black And Red United
The first MLS Players' Union salary infodump is at hand! Things we learned: D.C. United has some real bargains, but also opened up the wallet on a couple of centerpieces in particular. Okay, so we knew both of those things before yesterday, but now we *know* them, get me?

Sebastien Le Toux joins the long list of D.C. United injuries - The Washington Post
Goff weighs in with some injury news. As we discuss on a Filibuster episode coming to you soon, this is the latest in a rash of unavoidable/unpredictable injuries afflicting the Black-and-Red out of control of the coaching staff or anyone not holding a voodoo doll. (And if you're the one with the voodoo doll, what did Seba Le Toux ever do to you? And why his elbow? You're sick, you know that?)

Johan Cruyff is soccer’s greatest mythical figure -
The singular figure who made Total Football actually work would have turned 70 yesterday. Zito Madu sums up the man's contradictions and contributions in this, which I urge you in no uncertain terms to read.

The Netherlands' most famous stadium to be renamed in honor of Johan Cruyff | FOX Sports
And speaking of, it's only right that the biggest Dutch stadium should be named for the brightest Dutch player and soccer mind of all time. I'm comfortable leaving the country qualifier off of that description of Cruyff, actually. He's still to my mind the most important person -- player, coach, front office, any and all of them -- in the development of the modern game.

Surrey man pleads guilty in U.S. after 10-year extradition battle | Vancouver Sun
The Vancouver Whitecaps’ owner’s brother is the "Surrey man" reference in this headline, and this is just the weirdest MLS-adjacent story I've read today. Which leads me to the following question: Is Surrey Man just Canada's version of Florida Man? I'm going to keep investigating this hypothesis, so send any tips my way in the comments or on Twitter dot com.

Landon Donovan hope Swansea City can become 'America's club' - ESPN FC (Autoplay video warning)
Landon Donovan talks about the Jacks' ambitions in the U.S. market and abroad, as well as the insight into players' psyches he can provide to chairman Huw Jenkins and manager Paul Clement. That sure is a sentence.

Curt Onalfo is on the hot seat - LAG Confidential
Meanwhile [guffaw] at Donovan’s former club [giggle], I definitely [snort] did not [chortle] see this [scoff] coming [haaaaahahahaha].

And, finally, this weekend’s greatest #jerseyfail, explained:

Welcome to your daily open thread. Do enjoy.