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D.C. United transfer news, NWSL expansion, and more: Freedom Kicks for 12/20/2019

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Brian Lozano, Luciano Acosta, Lucas Rodriguez, a new kit...yesterday was wild

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Santos Laguna v Cruz Azul - Torneo Apertura 2019 Liga MX Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

One thing that you should definitely not do is set your alarm for PM instead of AM. Once you’ve done that, you won’t have time to, say, write blog posts until much later in the morning.

Luciano Acosta se viste de Rojinegro | AtlasFC.com.mx
Luciano Acosta’s next move is official: when his D.C. United contract ends, he’ll begin playing for Atlas in Liga MX. Sigh.

D.C. United announces 2020 MLS schedule | Black and Red United
There was an overwhelming theme to the reactions to United’s schedule: Saturday games are good! And I’ll throw in that avoiding Portland, RSL, and a likely rejuvenated Sporting KC is probably also favorable from a competitive perspective...though at LAFC and at Seattle are not exactly positives in this new “you don’t play every team in MLS despite being in MLS” world.

This is a fairly surprising turn after Rodriguez came back from Argentina to play in the Bermuda friendly, but it looks like a team that already had to make a couple of important attacking additions now has to make one more.

Speaking of...

Lozano is a current regular for Uruguay known for his free kicks, and is generally a goalscoring winger in terms of style. He’d also be pricey enough that it would be fair to expect him to be The Big Signing, which would probably leave United looking for a playmaker at a low DP (or possibly TAM) price point. We’ll see.

As someone who was paranoid about another kit heavily featuring gray, the prospect of this kit template in black and red is a relief. I wish it were more unique to United (the originals should all get something specific to them), and we won’t know if we dodged the gray bullet until we see it physically existing in the world, but I can handle this.

D.C. United will get soft entry into 2020 MLS schedule | Washington Post
More on the schedule, including a point that United’s first three games are against two teams that missed the playoffs and an expansion team. That said, don’t sleep on Colorado, who were actually pretty good under Robin Fraser.

Also of note: the Washington Spirit would like to open their NWSL season at Audi Field the weekend of April 18, while United is at Nashville. I’ve heard similar things, and it makes a lot of sense to get the season going in front of a big crowd.

This probably became inevitable weeks ago, as the strongly-rumored move from Sacramento couldn’t quite solidify enough to sign on and start a team in 2020. A 9-team NWSL will be awkward again, but adding a team with less than a month before the draft would have been a true mess.

Livestream: OL Groupe acquires Reign FC | Sounder at Heart
Another major piece of news in NWSL went official: Olympique Lyon has purchased a nearly 90% stake in Reign FC.

Chicago Red Stars acquire Makenzy Doniak via trade with Utah Royals FC | Hot Time in Old Town
The Spirit had a busy Wednesday and Thursday, and it appears that the news about there not being an expansion draft is going to spark other teams around the league into confirming moves that have been in the works. Here’s the first, and we should expect quite a few to follow.

Crew to sign Argentinean playmaker Lucas Zelarayan | Massive Report
A playmaker, eh? Hmm. Sounds like, you know, something United could use.

How Nashville SC and Inter Miami are illustrating the different ways to build an MLS roster from scratch | The Athletic
It’s fair to compare Nashville’s approach to teams like Cincinnati, but it also points to a rough year for them.

I’m also pretty sure that while Miami may be aiming towards an Atlanta/LAFC sort of roll-out, they’ve so far been pretty sloppy. This is a team that doesn’t have a coach yet, for example, and they’ve routinely made gigantic promises (downtown stadium) and then under-delivered (they’re really Inter Fort Lauderdale).

A statement from President Brad Estes | LouCity.com
Louisville City’s rebrand did not work, and the team has opted to reconsider. It’s a smart move in and of itself, and one that the Chicago Fire should consider. However, I’d point out that a team that started play in 2015, and that has had success, should not be rebranding at all.

Sources: Charlotte makes first hire, Cincinnati to add three DPs, Atlanta re-evaluating Gressel stance | The Athletic
Lots of news in here, including a note that Atlanta United wants to move Hector Villalba...

(gets hopes up extremely high)

...out of MLS. Nuts.

Alright that’s it for me. Enjoy your frigid weekend!