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Charlotte joins MLS, Ben Olsen to return, and more: Freedom Kicks for December 18, 2019

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And finally, El Clásico takes center stage.

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MLS: Press Conference with commissioner Don Garber Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Wednesday everyone. Today has some excellent soccer. Liverpool takes on Monterrey in the FIFA Club World Cup to see who meets Flamengo in the final, but the big one occurs at the Camp Nou as Real Madrid and Barcelona finally take the field in the latest installment of El Clásico. Before that, the news from yesterday:

Major League Soccer awards expansion team to Charlotte - MLS

Charlotte earns the 30th, and last, MLS expansion franchise...for now. They begin play in 2021. Bring me all the Bojangles’.

Ben Olsen will return as D.C. United’s head coach - Washington Post

Ben Olsen will return as D.C. United head coach in what was an expected outcome. Now, the attention turns to roster moves.

Washington Spirit add forwards Jessie Scarpa, Jenna Hellstrom - Black & Red United

The Washington Spirit bolster their attack by signing Jessie Scarpa and Jenna Hellstrom.

New York City FC moving four 2020 home matches to Citi Field - ProSoccerUSA

To alleviate congestion at Yankee Stadium, home of the New York Yankees, New York City FC will play 4 home matches at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. Maybe, just maybe, they should focus on finding a spot for them to have a stadium of their own.

Safety is the goal for this clásico as police gather amid political unrest - The Guardian

El Clásico was postponed from October 26th to today due to security concerns among the political unrest in Catalonia. Well, the same concerns are prevalent for today’s contest. Let’s hope the match is played.

The story behind the most famous photo shoot in American soccer history - The Athletic

Pablo Maurer does a deep dive into the infamous photo shoot that members of the United States Men’s National Team did before the 2002 World Cup.

Schalke goalkeeper Nubel escapes with four-match ban for brutal kung-fu kick - ESPNFC

Schalke 04 goalkeeper Alexander Nubel will serve a 4-match suspension for deciding he was Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat and destroying Eintracht Frankfurt player Mijat Gacinovic with a vicious flying kick.

Who was the most influential player of the decade? - All For XI

Several writers, including our own Jason Anderson, discuss who was the most influential women’s player of the decade. For me, it’s either Alex Morgan or Marta, but you can’t go wrong with anyone on this list.

That’s it for today. Halamadrid.