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Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta, D.C. United news, NWSL playoffs, and more: Freedom Kicks for 9/14/2018

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A good cause, United’s dynamic duo in effect, and a true debacle

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It’s Friday, and other than briefly believing someone screaming obscenities in a parking lot was directed at me (they weren’t...I think) last night, I have little of interest to tell you. Let’s get to the links instead.

First and most importantly, let’s try and help one of our own. Big Rob is an institution among D.C. United fans, and he’s battling a rare form of leukemia. You can donate to his GoFundme page, and La Barra Brava will have people collecting donations in person before Sunday’s game.

Former United player and current United announcer Devon McTavish has also designed a t-shirt based on his partner in the booth Dave Johnson’s “It’s in the net!” goal call, and all funds raised from buying one go towards Big Rob’s battle with cancer.

Every cent counts.

‘Señor Wayne’ and ‘La Joya’ Lucho’s special partnership has lifted D.C. United from a decade of irrelevance | The Athletic
Pablo Maurer’s debut with The Athletic is on Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta, D.C. United’s dynamic duo.

Luciano Acosta tapping into his potential since Wayne Rooney’s D.C. United arrival | Washington Post Express
Thomas Floyd has more on the connection that has reinvigorated United’s attack.

DC United over Montreal Impact in the playoffs? Yes, here’s why | MLSsoccer.com
I think this is a pretty straightforward case to make, though obviously Montreal’s trip to Buzzard Point at the end of the month is going to be immense. However, if you want blame someone for jinxing United, you can now blame Andrew Wiebe.

Top 5 regular season games left in the 2018 MLS season | MLSsoccer.com
Somehow, that aforementioned DCU-IMFC match is not on this list. Instead, it’s United’s October home game against Toronto FC. Personally I think the Montreal game is clearly bigger, but let’s not forget that Sebastian Giovinco has proven unstoppable when it comes to United.

Mattocks settles into supersub role for DC United after Rooney’s arrival | MLSsoccer.com
The league site was overflowing with United content yesterday. Here’s Ian Quillen on Wednesday’s game-winner Darren Mattocks, who basically drove straight from the airport to suit up.

Loudoun supervisors approve stadium for D.C. United affiliate Loudoun United | Loudoun Times-Mirror
United won twice on Wednesday, as they got approval to build Loudoun United’s stadium.

Five players who could be in line for their first USMNT call-up soon | American Soccer Now
Brian Sciaretta joins the growing chorus of folks calling for Russell Canouse to get a USMNT call-up. He’s absolutely right, Canouse has been spectacular of late.

Courage vs. Red Stars semifinal to be played Tuesday night at Providence Park | NWSLsoccer.com
If you haven’t been following the situation, the North Carolina Courage have had one of the great regular seasons in American soccer history, but Hurricane Florence’s arrival is going to have a direct impact on when their home NWSL semifinal was supposed to be played.

However, safety and travel concerns have to take precedent, and the chance that the storm won’t make too much of a mess of Cary is not big enough to roll the dice. This went from unfortunate to problematic when it took many days to sort any option out. The delay in making a move likely ruled out moving to another east coast venue while also leaving both teams in limbo, causing a distraction that probably won’t help the game as a spectacle. In the end, it also meant playing the game on Tuesday in Portland, which is clearly not ideal at all. Neither the Courage nor the Chicago Red Stars will have much in the way of traveling fans, and the winner will have three fewer days of rest for the championship on the 22nd.

It’s a mess, and it didn’t have to be.

Monitoring The Situation [UPDATED] | Hot Time in Old Town
Here’s a Chicago-centric timeline of this debacle.

NC Courage playoff preview: Hurricane Florence throws a wrench into the gears | Dirty South Soccer
This is a nuanced take on the whole thing from an NC perspective.

Knowing your enemy: The Seattle Reign from a Portland Perspective | Sounder at Heart
Knowing your enemy: The Portland Thorns from a Seattle Perspective | Stumptown Footy
The other semifinal between the Portland Thorns and Seattle Reign only happens to be the most intense rivalry in the league. Sounder at Heart and Stumptown Footy took an interesting angle here, exchanging pieces in which they give their take on the team they’re up against rather than describing what their home team is about.

There’s never been a more complete NWSL player than Lindsey Horan | SB Nation
Lindsey Horan has had an incredible season on both sides of the ball, and Portland probably misses the playoffs if she were playing at 75% of the level she’s offered this season. Here’s the case for her to win the league MVP (full disclosure: I voted for Horan, and I didn’t have to agonize much over it).

Real Salt Lake sign English center back Nedum Onuoha | MLSsoccer.com
Sam Stejskal says Real Salt Lake has landed former Man City and QPR defender Nedum Onuoha just before the roster deadline (which is today, so prepare yourself to check Twitter frequently). It’s that time of year where some odd moves pop up.

Alright, that’ll do it for me. Let’s close with a video of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion metaphorically and then literally destroying a weird Australian show from sometime in 1996.