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El Trafico is bonkers again, MLS playoffs, NWSL Championship, and more: Freedom Kicks for 10/25/2019

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Bill Hamid & a bunch of NWSL players were all robbed of deserved accolades

SOCCER: OCT 14 NWSL Championship - North Carolina Courage v Portland Thorns

I need to be up in about 6 hours, and came back to find that I’d stopped working during the silly second half of El Trafico. So, let’s run through this as fast as possible:

Minnesota United FC’s Vito Mannone voted Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year | MLSsoccer.com
Nope! MLS voters were wrong as hell.

WTOP’s Dave Johnson on multiple sclerosis diagnosis: Acceptance, fear, determination
Dave Johnson is the soundtrack of D.C. United fandom, the hardest-working man in D.C. sports, and a great guy to boot. Here’s more from the man himself on his MS diagnosis. We’re all pulling for him to stay strong in the face of this news.

Sources: Kevin Durant twice tried to buy a stake in D.C. United | The Athletic
It’s been a strange decade following the local MLS team, y’all.

Our picks for the NWSL awards, both real and made up | SB Nation
The Washington Spirit’s Andi Sullivan made SB Nation’s NWSL Best XI, and Sam Staab finished tied for Rookie of the Year. I don’t always agree with my peers around the network, but I think you make a good argument for every one of these picks.

That’s in start contrast with...

Rose Lavelle, Aubrey Bledsoe represent Washington Spirit on 2019 NWSL Best XI | Black and Red United
...the actual Best XI! It doesn’t make much sense! And we’re not talking about complaints over minor differences, either. Rose Lavelle is great, but she played 6 games this season...and made the Best XI. Kelley O’Hara is on the Second XI, and she played 4 games.

Sam Kerr, all grown up | Equalizer Soccer
If you want to know how Sam Kerr ended up getting to the top of the women’s soccer world, this is the piece for you. Essential reading ahead of Sunday’s NWSL championship.

Debinha, once the Courage’s secret weapon, isn’t a secret anymore | Equalizer Soccer
Lining up across from Kerr is Debinha, who for me was the 2nd best player in the league this season.

What the Future Holds for NWSL–and U.S. Soccer’s Involvement in the League | Sports Illustrated
Some good stuff in here on the financials of running an NWSL club, and on where the league is headed in the coming years.

MLS Cup Playoff Recap: Atlanta United - 2, Philadelphia - 0 | Dirty South Soccer
Philadelphia Union offense comes up empty in Atlanta, drops Eastern Conference semifinal 2-0 | Brotherly Game
I thought the Philadelphia Union were going to take down Atlanta United, but Frank de Boer’s switch to a 433 worked, the Union’s diamond midfield took a play off early, and Josef Martinez produced a spectacular late finish to send the Many Stripes to the Eastern Conference final.

LAFC win first-ever playoff game, to host Seattle Sounders in Western Conference final | Angels on Parade
LA Galaxy finally fall to LAFC | LAG Confidential
Some folks went way too far in hyping this game up beyond all reason (a quarterfinal can’t possibly be the biggest game in MLS history, let’s be serious), and everyone expected a crazy game. The second part came true, as LAFC went up 2-0, found themselves back even at 2-2, scored two goals in barely over a minute, conceded again, and then scored again.

Bob Bradley tells ESPN reporter to “get lost” in on-camera interview | Angels on Parade
I get that coaches want to boost their players, and that they may not like a given question, but Bob Bradley’s reaction to Sebi Salazar’s question about Carlos Vela was pretty out of line in my book. There’s a way to disagree with a question’s premise without saying “Get lost!” and storming off.

Alright those are the links I have, and now I’m going to get an inadequate amount of sleep before getting up to hustle for a bus down to North Carolina for the NWSL Championship between the North Carolina Courage and Chicago Red Stars. I’m staying next to a Waffle House and a Bojangles, so I’m going to have to work very hard to burn off the calories that are going to dominate my weekend.