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Lucas Rodriguez to D.C. United, Spirit reportedly hire Burke, and more: Freedom Kicks for 12/28/2018

Financial terms for DCU’s latest target, the Spirit get a new coach and a new owner, and everyone in MLS made trades

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Caitlin Buckley

I don’t have much to say for myself this morning, the Washington Spirit and D.C. United both produced potentially big news yesterday, and there were roughly 900 MLS moves going on at the same time, so let’s jump right into it.

Report: Richie Burke takes over as Washington Spirit head coach | Black and Red United
The big news in these parts is that the Spirit have apparently settled their coaching issue, going with longtime local coach Richie Burke. Spirit fans are pretty skeptical, though, as Burke has no experience coaching women above the youth level.

There’s also been a shift in ownership, which is hopefully going to come with the sort of investment the team badly needs. NWSL clubs can’t put that money towards salaries, but there are plenty of ways to make a big difference in ways that we might not see from the outside. This could be a huge moment for the club.

NWSL’s Washington Spirit hires Richie Burke as head coach | Washington Post
Steve Goff broke this story, so be sure to read his piece, which also has details on the ownership change.

What kind of changes are coming? Apparently, they’re possibly quite substantial:

Se puede definir hoy la salida de Lucas Rodríguez al DC United | El Dia
The Argentine press seems to think United could be ready to announce a move for Titi Rodriguez before the end of the year. More interestingly, the financial figures in here ($450,000 loan fee, purchase option of $2.5 million). That’s a lot of money! We aren’t MLS’s paupers any more!

OK, now the potential bad news:

This is a Velez Sarsfield-focused radio program saying that Yamil Asad will join Velez’s training session today, which is a step towards him staying. Of course, he trained with Velez last year at this time when his loan to Atlanta ended, so it doesn’t actually mean anything has changed. Don’t hit that panic button just yet.

‘It’s in the net!’ MLS original Dave Johnson, from soccer wilderness to Audi Field | The Athletic
Paul Tenorio’s interview with Dave Johnson is a must for any United fan. Just reading about teams like the Maryland Bays and Johnson’s days with HTS (the first soccer game I ever saw on TV was a 1990 World Cup tape-delayed game there) take me way back.

Official: Laurent Ciman Signs With Toronto FC | Waking the Red
Toronto FC is bringing Laurent Ciman back to MLS, and all it took for TFC was a 2nd round pick and swapping spots in the allocation order. Pretty good business, especially with how they like to play.

Orlando City Transfers Yoshimar Yotún to Liga MX Side Cruz Azul | The Mane Land
Speaking of good business...wait, Orlando made a smart move? Losing Yoshi Yotun certainly hurts them, but getting $4 million for him is an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Orlando City Receives $50,000 Targeted Allocation Money for Goalkeeper Joe Bendik | The Mane Land
It was a busy day for the Lions, who got some TAM from Columbus in exchange for Joe Bendik. If the Crew are thinking Bendik is a suitable replacement for Zack Steffen (who leaves this summer)...well, good luck to them.

Fire Sign Marcelo From Sporting CP | Hot Time in Old Town
This sounds like a good move from the Chicago Fire, which is another thing that feels weird to type. A center back from a Portuguese giant who isn’t too old? Yeah, that sounds nice.

Official: Powell traded to Cincinnati for $250k GAM | Stumptown Footy
I think this is a little bit of a deal for Cincy, but also, they’ve already brought in a right back with Ligue 1 experience (Mathieu Deplagne), so I’m not sure what they’re doing here.

Transfer Rumor: Orlando City targeting RSL’s Danilo Acosta | RSL Soapbox
More Orlando moves, though this one hasn’t gone through yet. Danilo Acosta has been in Mike Petke’s doghouse for months, but if James O’Connor can set him right, they got a player who just might get into the USMNT picture in time.

Sources: Former USMNT midfielder Brek Shea set to sign with Atlanta United |
I don’t know how Brek Shea will do with Atlanta United under Frank de Boer. Maybe he can figure out a role that makes sense for him, or maybe he’ll get fed up with his soccer IQ and erratic play.

Call me crazy, but I think Shea would have been pretty dangerous under Tata Martino. Then again, he’d have been battling Greg Garza for time as a wingback, or going up against Hector Villalba and Julian Gressel as a winger, so maybe not.

Union sign Harvard goalkeeper Matthew Freese to homegrown contract | The Brotherly Game
The Philadelphia Union may have their issues, but their academy doesn’t appear to be one of them.

How Sounder at Heart became a community for Seattle’s soccer fans | The Athletic
Having been at this for a similar timeframe, I identified with this story quite a bit.

That’s it for me. I’ll leave you with the song in my head as I wrote this thing: