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The Premier League returns, D.C. United vs. Orlando City, and more: Freedom Kicks for 8/10/2018

Man United vs. Leicester is this afternoon, plus an apology for hurling coffee over a decade ago

It’s already muggy out, and Freedom Kicks is late, so let’s just get on with it. We’ve got a busy weekend here, with D.C. United facing Orlando City in a game they just flat-out have to win, a bunch of MLS news, and the return of the Premier League.

DC United’s Levien talks Rooney, Hamid, bag issues at Audi Field | WTOP
Jason Levien talked about a few D.C. United issues yesterday, including saying that clear bags would be available for free to folks entering the stadium Sunday. Also, per Levien, Bill Hamid’s flight back here was yesterday, so he’s not going to have a ton of time between getting through customs and kickoff.

Winners and losers from the MLS transfer deadline | Fansided
United is noted gets a brief mention here for Hamid’s signing and for acquiring Vytas. I wouldn’t go so far as to call United a transfer window winner (like most folks, I look at the defense and...sigh), but it’s not like Wayne Rooney, Hamid, and Vytas were unwanted or unnecessary moves.

PawedCast Episode 137: Revolution Rewind, Pride D.C. Preview, and More | The Mane Land
Our own Adam Taylor was on The Mane Land’s podcast, and I found out by going to TML and just looking for stories to share here. Despite his secrecy, listen in. I’m sure most of the interview is about goats, his favorite animal and favorite topic.

Speaking of Orlando City...

Yoshimar Yotun is suspended for Sunday, which is great news, but if Sacha Kljestan and Lamine Sane can’t go, that’s three missing starters from a bad team mired in a six-game losing streak.

Orlando City’s Tony Rocha fills multiple roles | Pro Soccer USA
More than any other player, former utility option Tony Rocha has benefited from James O’Connor taking over in Orlando. He seems likely to start at the base of their midfield on Sunday.

Fire Issue One-Game Suspension To Section 8 In Response To #Free101 Protests | Hot Time in Old Town
The saga of the Chicago Fire’s antipathy towards their fans is too long for us to get into in this blurb, but here’s the latest: Within one day of an Open Cup loss that has more or less ended their season, the team announced a one-game ban of all supporters’ groups and then issued a wave of season-long bans to individual supporters. Somehow, their GM Nelson Rodriguez, who should be focused on their myriad issues on the field, has been heavily involved in a lot of these choices.

I guess here’s a good spot to mention that there will be a new USL team in Chicago in 2020, owned by the guy that owns the Chicago Cubs, in a far more convenient location than Bridgeview.

Chicago Fire Waive Defender Kevin Ellis and Midfielder Tony Tchani |
Here’s another thing the Fire did that is puzzling. Ellis has 2 goals and 4 assists in 20 appearances (19 starts) despite being a right back/center back. This happened after the transfer deadline, meaning they can’t sign players to replace these two.

No win, no loss, just another delay for MLS at McKalla Place | Austin American-Statesman
Amid disputes over whether the measure would pass, and tweets about near-scuffles in the hallway, Austin is still not sure whether they’ll approve the stadium site cartoon villain Anthony Precourt has his devious heart set on.

Let’s keep it inconclusive, shall we? U.S. Soccer issued a statement on Adama Diomande’s allegations that a Portland Timbers player called him a racial slur.

Here’s a good moment to remind everyone that the USSF previously said that MLS would handle this investigation despite it being about an incident in the Open Cup, a competition MLS has no jurisdiction over.

So, fine, the USSF says they have no way to tell what happened after weeks of investigating/someone else investigating for them. Seems like it’s a pretty inconclusive ending. Let’s check on what Portland has to say about it:

Yeesh. I’m very unimpressed with the Timbers as an organization here. There’s a huge leap involved in going from “the investigation revealed nothing to corroborate these very serious charges” to “this never happened!!!!!!!!!!!!!” as they chose to do. If Portland feels this strongly, they might as well come out and call Diomande a liar. I don’t think you can have this one both ways as they’re trying to do.

Ernst Tanner introduced as new Philadelphia Union sporting director | The Brotherly Game
I’m fascinated that the Philadelphia Union’s replacement for Earnie Stewart, who had links with one of their rivals (United), is a guy whose last gig was with Red Bull Salzburg.

4 winners and 3 losers from the Premier League transfer window | SB Nation
The Premier League is back! Today! It’s weird that it’s today and not on Saturday! Manchester United faces Leicester City face off on NBCSN.

Preview: Manchester United vs. Leicester City | The Busby Babe
Today’s game is at 3pm if you want to watch it while pretending to work.

Dynamo GK Joe Willis repays faith to prevail in US Open Cup PK shootout |
Angry Joe Willis unleashed his wrath on LAFC in Wednesday’s shootout.

Finally, let’s close out with the most Dema Kovalenko story that could ever exist: