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D.C. United vs. NYCFC, Washington Spirit news, Loudoun United debuts: Freedom Kicks for 3/8/2019

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Francisca Ordega says her goodbyes as 2019 starts to get really busy around these parts

Nikita Taparia

I’m coming to you after successfully fighting off the urge to sleep after eating a huge round of fajitas, drinking a couple margaritas, and being comped some guacamole for reasons that I could never figure out. I’m not saying this to brag, but rather to indicate that I am writing against a ticking time bomb that is just passing out for the night.

Let’s start with the first official loan from D.C. United down to Loudoun:

That, plus yesterday’s addition of Noah Pilato, brings Loudoun up to 16 players ahead of their first competitive match tomorrow. Don’t be surprised if there are more signings today or tomorrow, and then again into next week.

Loudoun United preview: Q&A with Ryan Keefer of Black and Red United | For Club and Country
Nashville SC-focused site For Club and Country checked in with one of our own to preview that first competitive match, which looks like a tough one.

D.C. United’s new technical director might be leaving for England | Washington Post
Dane Murphy, who we figured out was going to join United as a technical director less than 4 months ago, may be on the verge of being hired by Barnsley. There’s some other news in here, including some call-ups and a potential injury situation to monitor heading into Sunday.

Bill Hamid, Full Of Swagger, Proving His Standing In MLS Keeper Hierarchy | FloFC
“Bill’s Bill.” And it’s a good thing that he is.

Cherry blossoms: Peak bloom forecast for April 3, National Park Service says | Washington Post
Apparently United is going to have some kind of cherry blossom theme night in the next few weeks. It would have been a really cool night to tie in with those cherry blossom jerseys...but in any case I’m glad to hear about theme nights that relate to the District.

NYCFC got a “stadium host” before they got a striker | Hudson River Blue
Sounds like things aren’t going all that well in the Bronx.

For the first time in its history, NYCFC’s calling card must be a cohesive defense | The Athletic
This isn’t the worst idea in theory, given that NYCFC plays half of their games on a field that is roughly as spacious as my two-door car’s interior. Yankee Stadium begets pinball more than soccer, and being the team that can handle that without conceding often has worked before (see: San Jose Earthquakes teams playing at Spartan Stadium back in the day). But it’s easy to just say you want to defend well.

With the Washington Spirit, there’s been a significant change:

I checked in with the Spirit on who would succeed Hummer, and was told that his duties would be spread to new CEO Larry Best and new head coach/technical director Richie Burke.

Moving on, here’s some bad news followed by some good news:

For a few weeks now, rumors have linked Francisca Ordega to a move to the Chinese Women’s Super League, and this is her saying goodbye to everyone at the club. If she’s not going to China, it looks like she’s signing somewhere else. The Spirit have reasonable depth at the positions Ordega plays (by my count, 3 other strikers and as many as 9 other players who could play on the wing), but there just aren’t many players anywhere with the knack for creating chaos that she brings to the table, and the NWSL’s goal celebration quality is surely going to drop significantly without Franny around.

Here’s the good news:

Andi Sullivan, fresh off of USWNT duty, got engaged to Sacramento Republic midfielder Drew Skundrich. Congrats to them both!

The LA Galaxy-Gio dos Santos mess is over, but debate about MLS spending rules is just beginning | ESPN FC
With the Collective Bargaining Agreement between MLS and its players expiring at the end of the season, prepare for a full year of focus on the #1 favorite topic of literally all soccer fans: league rules that have nothing to do with kicking a ball around.

Fourth sub, broadcasting upgrades among US Open Cup changes for 2019 | MLSsoccer.com
The U.S. Open Cup used to allow four substitutions in games, changed it forever ago, and people still ask me if they allow four subs every single year. Well, now they do, but only if the game goes to extra time.

Arguably bigger news: US Soccer wants to broadcast every single game of the tournament, which would be a huge boost for a tournament that has needed it for quite a while. While I’ll miss desperate hunts for some random person’s Periscope of a given game, it will be nice to actually make out who is playing.