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USMNT vs. Cuba, D.C. United & Washington Spirit news, Mystics are WNBA champs, & more: Freedom Kicks for 10/11/2019

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Our region’s long wait of 16 whole months for another championship is over

D.C. United is off this weekend as they prepare for the playoffs, so the soccer around these parts is limited to the USMNT’s guest appearance at Audi Field. The Washington Spirit are on the road against Portland Thorns FC, while Loudoun United is heading down south to play the Charleston Battery.

Let’s talk about what’s going on:

The D.C. United Podcast Ep. 14 | Reliving MLS Cup 99’ w/ John Maessner | DCUnited.com
This happened twenty years ago! Anyway, some good stories in here from winger John Maessner, who won 3 MLS Cups with the Black-and-Red back in the day.

U.S. U-17 World Cup roster named | Stars and Stripes FC
Griffin Yow joins former DCU academy star Bryang Kayo are on Raphael Wicky’s USYNT squad. The tournament starts on October 26 and runs to mid-November, so if United makes a (somewhat unlikely) run to the Eastern Conference final or MLS Cup, Yow won’t be available.

Speaking of the fine folks at S&SFC, they’ve been busy ahead of the USMNT’s game against Cuba (tonight, 7:06pm, Audi Field, I’ll be there talking about Paul Arriola):

It’s time to move forward with the USMNT: One of B&RU’s own has a wild story from the stands in Couva, which was two years and one day ago, before calling on fans to get back to really supporting the USMNT. Given my fractured relationship with that particular team, it gave me something to think about.

USA vs. Cuba, CONCACAF Nations League group stage: Scouting Cuba: I admire anyone trying to scout Concacaf’s lower-end teams. Long-time readers might remember me trying to do this kind of thing back in the day. Pardon my extreme nostalgia for being up at 3am on a weeknight, trying to use my horribly limited Spanish to parse an article.

USA vs. Cuba, CONCACAF Nations League group stage: What to watch for: If Gregg Berhalter doesn’t start Arriola, I’m going to stage a one-man press box riot. That, or just sit in my chair quietly while complaining on Twitter.

Here’s the major news from yesterday’s training session at George Mason:

Josh Sargent will start for USMNT against Cuba in Concacaf Nations League | Pro Soccer USA
More details and quotes on Berhalter rolling with Josh Sargent, which should have been an easy choice the moment Jozy Altidore picked up his injury last Sunday.

Need a pre-game activity before the game tonight? The Washington Mystics have you covered:

That’s right, the Mystics won an extraordinarily back-and-forth game 5 to take their first-ever WNBA title last night. I am wired and exhausted, simultaneously, in the aftermath. This ends an unusually short DC sports championships gap of 16 months. Are we about to become a city where our teams win so much that everyone gets annoyed with us? Is this the kind of perfect storm United needs to somehow win it all this year?

Fan reaction: Crew SC Downtown Stadium Groundbreaking | Massive Report
The Columbus Crew are moving to downtown Columbus, not Austin, which is a pretty great outcome considering where this story was last October.

NWSL Fans Across The Country Are Working To Make Sure The Red Stars’ Playoff Game Is Packed | Hot Time in Old Town
NWSL fans across the country took some bad news (a dumb tweet ignoring the existence of the Chicago Red Stars) and turned it into a drive to make sure their home semifinal is packed.

Lisa Cole on women in coaching: there’s different standards for men and women | All for XI
It’s hard to argue the point Lisa Cole is making here about how women coaches have to meet far higher standards to get gigs, and they’ve been let go faster and for less significant issues.

Lyon planning to purchase NWSL franchise | NBCsports.com
Red flag #1: This seems stuck in the past when it comes to the Washington Spirit’s health as an organization, which has greatly improved this year according to players, staff, and my own in-person observations.

Red flag #2: It’s also just like the undead “Barcelona to NWSL???” rumors we keep seeing, where there’s absolutely nothing behind them on this side of the Atlantic. Just a team owner with a history of wild talk claiming, with no evidence, that the big move is imminent.

Portland Thorns aiming to clinch third seed on final day of regular season | The Oregonian
It sounds like the Portland Thorns might hold a couple of internationals out of their starting lineup when facing the Spirit this weekend, while Lindsey Horan (concussion) is probably closer to doubtful than questionable.

Iran women attend football match for first time in 40 years | ESPN
Women are sequestered in one section of the stadium, so it’s not even close to ideal, but it’s some progress.

Why Nike didn’t have enough USWNT World Cup jerseys to meet demand — and what it cost the players and fans | Yahoo
There’s a lot to learn about the inner workings of how the jersey you want to buy is made, and how your money gets distributed once you make your purchase. It’s no secret that Nike biffed it on USWNT jerseys this year, and you may have already missed your last chance to get a 2019 World Cup four-star jersey as a result.

Alright, that’s it. Enjoy the pleasant sensation of going out on a Friday night without being drenched in sweat due to our humidity!