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D.C. United rumors, CONCACAF Champions League, and more: Freedom Kicks for 2/23/2018

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Naturally most of our focus today is on a Rush album

We have a lot to cover as far as D.C. United and MLS go, so let’s just get right into it. First up, the turmoil between United and their supporters groups shows no signs of abating:

The allegations that United didn’t engage with the Barra Brava are worrisome. In my view, maintaining regular communication with supporters groups is a pretty critical function for any team. Here’s hoping the club addresses the issue ASAP. None of United’s supporters groups should feel ignored or cut out of discussions, especially now that they’re all sharing the same space in the stadium.

Per Steve Goff, United has flown west for tomorrow’s game without four players, but only two are injured:

Let this serve as de facto confirmation of an opening day start for Oniel Fisher, and probably Junior Moreno as well. With Luciano Acosta suspended for the first game of the season, the only real question in the gameday 18 is probably between Jalen Robinson and Chris Odoi-Atsem.

Meanwhile, in late-preseason transfer rumors, United is being linked with Vancouver Whitecaps center back Tim Parker:

Tim Parker requested trade from Vancouver over contract dispute | MLSsoccer.com
This will add more context to what’s going on with Parker. Does he deserve the kind of raise he’s looking for? In my book, no, not quite, but he’s not that far out of order asking for a Steve Birnbaum/Matt Hedges kind of contract. Really, the main stumbling block for United would be meeting Vancouver’s alleged price tag. There is no way Parker is worth making the kind of deal that took Justin Meram to Orlando City. He’s never had a Best 11-caliber season like Meram did last year, and I’d argue he’s never had a season as good as Meram’s second-best season.

Jake Nerwinski Officially Has a Backup: Williams v.2.0 | Eighty Six Forever
Sticking with United and VWFC, Sean Franklin, after a preseason trial, has signed with the Whitecaps.

Here’s a brief press scrum with Washington Spirit attacker Mallory Pugh at USWNT camp. The SheBelieves Cup is less than a week away:

How the 2018 NWSL schedule got made | Black and Red United
I always thought sports league schedules were cooked up by one or two harried league employees, fueled by coffee, too many doughnuts, and late-night food deliveries, setting up in a small-ish conference room with a corkboard and a large number of spreadsheets. It turns out someone figured out a different way to do it.

NYCFC’s Patrick Vieira wants to sign RSL’s Albert Rusnak - source | ESPNFC
The most important line in this story (“...a source close to RSL told ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle there has been no approach for Rusnak...”) undercuts what looks for all the world like an agent-manufactured rumor. NYCFC isn’t signing a DP attacking midfielder when they already have a DP attacking midfielder in Maxi Moralez who did pretty well in 2017.

Union negotiating deal with Borek Dockal; Anthony Fontana is starting midfield playmaker as preseason ends | Philly.com
The Philadelphia Union are closing in on a Czech international whose last transfer involved Henan Jianye paying over €7 million to bring him to China. On the other hand, Chinese clubs overpay frequently, and the Union are the Union.

Leaks emerge for LAFC’s 2018 jerseys | Angels on Parade
Well...these are certainly shirts. They would definitely cover a human being’s torso and upper arms.

Targeted Allocation Money is great for MLS, but maybe not for domestic players | FourFourTwo USA
Some interesting thoughts here about how MLS’s attempts to accelerate the improvement of the league’s level of play has so far meant fewer chances for American and Canadian players (especially young players).

Let’s move on to the CONCACAF Champions League:

Sounders fall behind in El Salvador | Sounder at Heart
Some confusing lineup/sub choices and an injury to Jordan Morris have left Seattle Sounders fans with a lot more than a 2-1 road loss to be upset about. However, Nicolas Lodeiro did do something spectacular to give them a critical away goal.

CD Olimpia 1, New York Red Bulls 1 | CCL Round of 16 Recap | MLSsoccer.com
It was fairly disappointing to see Olimpia waste their “home” leg (it was actually played in Costa Rica due to significant crowd trouble at their last CONCACAF game) by playing poorly for the first 55 minutes. However, a look back at New York Red Bulls history indicates that Olimpia could easily get a draw or better in Harrison.

“Chapo” Sanchez and Macias help fire Chivas to win over valiant Cibao | FMF State of Mind
Cibao FC is the first team from the Dominican Republic to make it to the CONCACAF Champions League, and on paper looked like cannon fodder for Chivas Guadalajara. Instead, the Mexican giants made hard work out of this one, not scoring until the 40th minute and only adding their second goal deep into stoppage time.

USWNT head coach Jill Ellis has received the highest level of coaching license that U.S. Soccer makes available. Notably, she calls for more chances for women to get opportunities like hers:

Multa de 30.000 euros por un tifo contra el racismo | La Vanguardia
Spain, a nation whose authorities have routinely doled out fines under €10,000 for racist abuse, has fined Rayo Vallecano €30,000 for an anti-racism banner. You’re reading this correctly.

The 8 best songs to play on a jukebox to troll people | SB Nation
Friends of mine lived down the block from a Baltimore dive bar that had an internet-connected jukebox that allowed you to order songs that weren’t in its database. At some point, one of them ordered the entire Rush album 2112 and played it all the way through on a crowded night. It went over better than you’d expect, though that’s not at all the same as saying it was welcomed wholeheartedly.

That’s it for me. What is your obnoxious and/or overly long musical choice to play when you’ve decided a whole room of people deserves an obnoxious and/or overly long song played at them?