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D.C. United beats New England, Josef Martinez ties MLS record, and more: Freedom Kicks for 8/20/2018

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United didn’t need Wayne Rooney to carry them to a critical win last night

Ryan is on assignment checking out points south of here, but since I will never log off, I’m here to deliver your Monday Freedom Kicks. Let’s start, as tradition dictates, with a barrage of recaps. D.C. United won without needing Wayne Rooney to be brilliant, while the Washington Spirit...well, United won.

We start with Steven Streff’s recap and reactions, which find everyone talking about keeping their nose to the grindstone. The Bent Musket thinks the New England Revolution’s playoff chances are getting slim, Emily Olsen spoke with goalscorer Zoltan Stieber after the game for Pro Soccer USA, MLSsoccer’s recap said Paul Arriola was man of the match (I would have gone with Russell Canouse or Junior Moreno, for whatever that’s worth), Ian Quillen found Rooney noting the increased respect teams are giving D.C. these days, and Steve Goff’s gamer for the Washington Post points out that United is actually fun to watch now.

As for the Spirit, I wrote about the horrors of their loss to the Houston Dash. Dynamo Theory was rather more pleased with how things went, Equalizer Soccer noted that the Spirit joined the 2015 Boston Breakers as one of only two NWSL teams to fail to win away from home for an entire season (though winless Sky Blue could still get there this year), Pro Soccer USA found the Dash acknowledging that they have no choice but to keep winning, and the Houston Chronicle focused on Rachel Daly, who generally punishes the Spirit every single time she faces them.

Down in Richmond, the Kickers broke a seven-game winless streak by beating Penn FC 3-2. Here’s the USL match page, and here’s the Richmond Times-Dispatch going in depth.

Inside Wayne and Coleen Rooney’s US house hunt - $15million Washington mansion features wine cellar, gym and luxury swimming pool pictured after DC United signing | The Mirror
Place seems OK I guess.

Rooney leads the way, behind Seattle’s surge & more from Week 25 | MLSsoccer.com
Bobby Warshaw takes a look around MLS, starting with United’s win. I don’t agree with all of what he’s saying (the “Atlanta version” of Yamil Asad wasn’t actually better than United’s version, even before Rooney), but the point that just a marginal, 2% improvement for a player can be huge in soccer. I do like that he brings up Oniel Fisher, who has been as much as anyone improved dramatically of late by just doing everything marginally better/faster/what-have-you.

Recap: Josef’s record-tying goal helps Atlanta United to win over Columbus | Dirty South Soccer
Josef Martinez tied a record that was set in 1996 with his 27th goal. It’s August. August! He could take a month off for vacation and still demolish MLS’s all-time single-season goals record.

Good way to end a week: LAFC 2, Colorado Rapids 0 | Angels on Parade
A little while after United got the job done against the Revs, LAFC got the job done against the Rapids.

#LAFCvCOL Game Recap: LAFC 2, Rapids 0 | Burgundy Wave
Our friends in Colorado were left just having to tip their hat towards the better team.

NC Courage cruise to a 3-0 victory over the Orlando Pride | Dirty South Soccer
American top-flight soccer’s most dominant team started their win over Orlando on Saturday, but had to play the final ~70 minutes on Sunday due to lightning. It didn’t matter, as they did what they do to everyone by storming past the Pride

Mark Wahlberg’s interest in Crew SC may in fact be genuine | Massive Report
I saw a tweet about this and assumed it was an overreaction, but it sounds like the man behind this might actually be in talks to join the group that wants to purchase Columbus Crew SC.

Sergio Agüero hits hat-trick in Manchester City’s rout of Huddersfield | The Guardian
Last year, American David Wagner got his side a goalless draw last year against the almost comically overpowered Citizens, but this year it didn’t quite go so well.

Marcelo Oliveira lamenta empate com o América-MG: “Precisamos voltar a vencer” | Globo Esporte
My team in Brazil, America Mineiro, is in 10th place in Brazil’s top flight at the halfway point of the season. Or, to put it in terms that are more applicable to their situation, they’re just three points above the relegation zone. Really everyone outside the top 8 is in danger.

That’s all I’ve got for you. Try to have fun out there, Monday or not.