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D.C. United vs. NYCFC, USMNT coaching search, Thorns vs. Reign, & more: Freedom Kicks for 9/7/2018

Kevin Ellis to DCU? Maybe. Jamaica’s new kits are hot fire? Definitely.

I have been back from the beach for a little over 3 days as I type this, and I’m still having to adjust. Despite spending just 5 full days at a beach house with close friends, never having to drive or think about appropriate dress for a given venue, my mind is acting like I lived that way for 5 full months. I’m sure I’ll regain my Beltway driver muscle memory very soon, but until then I am still in “hey, man, chill out” mode.

Which is to say, I’m probably going to get sworn at this very morning for not going 20 over a given speed limit or running a stop sign or some such.

Report: D.C. United could sign Kevin Ellis | Black and Red United
Steve Goff has D.C. United mulling over a move for Kevin Ellis, a free agent defender. It would make a lot of sense for United, and Ellis is most likely a better option than scouring the USL and trying to negotiate a move just as those teams are approaching their playoffs.

Playoff preview? First things first, say DC United ahead of NYCFC clash |
Ben Olsen is just focused on winning a game this weekend rather than jockeying for a specific playoff spot. There’s a bit in here about how to adjust at right back that I just might dig into later today.

Olsen previews #NYCvDC |
“The team meeting this morning was as thin as I’ve ever seen a team meeting,” says Ben Olsen. If you’re traveling up to Yankee Stadium and can run for more than a mile or so, maybe pack your shinguards just in case.

DCU academy prospect Jean-Christophe Koffi is heading for the New York Red Bulls’ USL branch after United opted to trade him:

For what it’s worth, a) I’ve had a couple people who play close attention to college soccer tell me that they’d have offered him a homegrown deal if they were running United, and b) personally, having seen Koffi play in person a couple of times and about 10 times on stream/TV, I think his future is more MLS role player than stud prospect. We’ll see. I will note that things like this are why Loudoun United can’t get going fast enough. For a player like Koffi, waiting until March 2019 is waiting too long.

The case for pulling the goalie in soccer and the math behind Ben Olsen’s madness | American Soccer Analysis
Here’s an attempt to quantify what Olsen was doing when he sent David Ousted up on that late corner that brought us the Buzzard Beater. I don’t think they were crunching data down on the touchline, but I’m standing by my opinion that gaining some small attacking advantage in that specific situation — facing a draw that was essentially a devastating loss — was worth the risk. The one point being gambled was not worth as much as the (small!) chance of Ousted contributing something.

James Sands earns his first MLS start | Stars and Stripes FC
United is probably going to see James Sands in NYCFC’s lineup on Saturday, so here’s more about the young U.S. prospect.

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark to replace injured keeper Jeff Attinella Saturday | The Oregonian
Steve Clark won an open competition to replace Jeff least for this week. Giovanni Savarese went almost comically out of his way to keep the door open for further competition.

Clark also left a goodbye message to United and a bunch of his teammates:

Howard Webb, Jeff Agoos reflect on Video Review after one year |
Some interesting numbers in here, though you may end up scoffing at MLS’s own take on how rarely VAR has made an error. Either way, Sam Stjeskal gets Howard Webb and Jeff Agoos on the record, so we know a little more about what they want.

Chris Durkin wants you to know about this overtime game-winner in college woso:

Maryland women’s soccer draws with UCF, 1-1 | Testudo Times
Scoreless streak over, though goalkeeper Rachel Egyed had to break a career-high in saves to make sure they got a draw out of it.

What athletes eat: Soccer star Meggie Dougherty-Howard’s grilled balsamic chicken and veggie kabobs | ESPNW
Meggie Dougherty-Howard went to the far southern reaches of the Jersey shore and grilled frequently. I feel like my own recent life choices, including go ever so slightly further up said shore and grill virtually all of my meals, are being validated.

Roses and Thorns: Home stretch | Stumptown Footy
Katelyn Best assesses where Portland Thorns FC are on the cusp of the playoffs, and with a huge game against Seattle Reign FC tonight at 10pm. The game is on Lifetime, and it should be a great show.

Reign Report: Cascadia rivals battle for second best | Sounder at Heart
More on this game, which will essentially determine who gets to host a playoff semifinal that, barring one specific sequence of events, will be between these two teams next week.

JFF, Umbro Unveil New Kits | Jamaica Gleaner
Put the best kit maker (give or take Hummel) together with one of the great flags, and this is what you get.

When will USMNT hire a coach? Ahead of high-profile friendlies, the search is taking shape. | Washington Post
Remember the USMNT? Well, they still exist, and maybe one day they’ll hire a coach, and maybe it’ll be a good choice. Or maybe it’ll be Louis van Gaal or Tab Ramos.

Is my enthusiasm level for the men’s national team coming through?

Alright, that’s plenty of words. Have a good time out there in the world!