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Zack Steffen to Man City, Portland Timbers stadium construction, and more: Freedom Kicks for 11/27/2018

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Plenty of MLS news, plus Francisca Ordega aims for a spot in the World Cup

Morning folks! I’m filling in for Leanne, who will be in my spot on Friday. I don’t have much of note to say this morning, so let’s just get to the news:

Carlos Vela, Josef Martínez, Raul Ruidiaz y Darwin Quintero compiten por el premio Latino del Año 2018 | Univision
Screw these other guys, who are all bums. Go vote for D.C. United’s Luciano Acosta for MLS Latino del Año.

Sources: Zack Steffen heading to Manchester City in transfer worth up to $10 million | The Athletic
Paul Tenorio had the big scoop yesterday, revealing that Zack Steffen is heading to England to join Manchester City once the winter transfer window opens. The USMNT’s current #1 joining the Premier League’s top team? Very cool...except, of course, the fact that he’s there to either be their back-up or play somewhere else on loan for years on end. Mostly I just wish he had made this move sooner, like the day before D.C. United’s playoff game against Columbus Crew SC.

Zack Steffen moving from Crew SC to Manchester City | Massive Report
Our friends at Massive Report are reporting that if Steffen can’t get an English work permit, he’ll be loaned out to OGC Nice in Ligue 1.

2018 AWCON: Falcons, Lionesses in titanic S’final clash | New Telegraph
Washington Spirit forward Francisca Ordega and Nigeria take on Cameroon later this morning, with the winning side sealing their spot in next year’s World Cup. The loser gets a second (and final) chance in the Women’s Cup of Nations third-place game on Friday.

MLS grants Orlando City roster decision extension | Pro Soccer USA
Oh Orlando. It’s one thing to go slow with your announcement (like D.C. United usually does, and is doing right now), and another to have to get dispensation from MLS about filing your moves in a timely manner.

Breaking: Niki Budalic fired as Orlando City general manager of soccer operations | The Athletic
Then again, it’s kind of a mess down there, as per usual. Under Budalic’s leadership, the Lions and Pride (both the MLS and NWSL clubs reported to one GM for some reason) combined for a 16W-10D-32L record in 2018.

Portland Timbers expect to play first 12 games on the road in 2019 due to construction at Providence Park | The Oregonian
Timbers owner Merritt Paulson disputed the number in a since-deleted tweet yesterday, but whether it’s 10 or 13 or whatever, Portland is still going to be looking at a very United-in-2018 schedule. I figure that sets them up for a very United-in-2018 finish next year, provided Giovanni Savarese can keep the locker room together during that extended spell on the road.

NWSL Confidential: The existential crisis known as the offseason | The Athletic
The difficulties of life as an NWSL player are numerous, and it doesn’t end when the season stops.

Secrets of the Magus | The New Yorker
I had never read this 1993 profile of Ricky Jay until yesterday, but it was fascinating, funny, and predictably odd. Come for the card tricks, stay for the David Copperfield disses.

That’s it for me. Good luck with your Tuesday!