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Wayne Rooney fit for D.C. United, Washington Spirit start 2019 NWSL season, and more: Freedom Kicks for 4/12/2019

Wazza made the flight out to face the Colorado Rapids

Are you ready for a busy day? Well, Saturday is for you! Loudoun United starts the day off on the road against the Ottawa Fury at 2:00pm, followed by the Washington Spirit’s 2019 NWSL season opener at home against Sky Blue FC (that’s where I’ll be) at 7. D.C. United vs. Colorado Rapids is the final game, kicking off at 9. It’s a lot!

First up, United’s game against the Rapids. After Tuesday’s game ended, we figured out that Griffin Yow could travel if Leonardo Jara is out. Well, Steve Goff has gotten confirmation that Yow did travel:

So, it feels like we shouldn’t be surprised if Jara does end up needing the “couple of days, maybe a week” that Ben Olsen said he might. Paul Arriola and either Jalen Robinson or Akeem Ward are your likely starting fullbacks tomorrow.

As for Loudoun United, the injury crisis with D.C. will probably see them facing Ottawa with fewer than 18 players in uniform, unless they dole out some academy contracts.

Wayne Rooney travels with D.C. United for MLS match at Colorado | Washington Post
Wayne Rooney is also going to be on the flight, which feels like a pretty big deal.

Looking for a place to watch the game? Head over to the Barra Brava’s watch party at Finn McCool’s and enter their raffle, the proceeds of which will go towards caring for one of our own:

Russell Canouse: D.C. United midfielder and real estate agent | Washington Post
Russell Canouse is using his spare time to learn how to do everything, so it feels safe to assume he will be a local business magnate before too long. Real estate, wine, coaching, and of course his day job.

Why you have to be part of the new D.C. United experience at Audi Field | Russian Machine Never Breaks
If folks can come to Buzzard Point for the first time, see a 4-0 loss, and still want to come back, something must be going right.

JoLo for Congress?: Joanna Lohman on what lies beyond retirement | All For XI
Find out more about Joanna Lohman’s next step, which unsurprisingly means a lot of different steps and some thoughtful words.

Washington Spirit 2019 NWSL preview | Black and Red United
If you want to know what’s going on with the Spirit heading into tomorrow’s opener, I covered a bunch of different angles.

More of the same expected in Washington in rebuild year | Fansided
It is Spirit season preview season, so make sure you read Jordan Small’s as well.

2019 NWSL Previews | SB Nation
Just drop your plans for the day and read previews.

NWSL season kicks off with a whole new Spirit | WTOP
From media day, some notes on how the Spirit are dividing the season into three parts due to the World Cup.

With World Cup on their minds, Washington Spirit players prep for season opener | Montgomery County Media
Here’s some video and audio from media day. Life foiled my plans to attend, so live vicariously like I did.

Rookies to Watch in the 2019 NWSL season | Top Drawer Soccer
There are a lot of rookies on the Spirit, and two of them made Travis Clark’s list.

The NWSL offseason has seen a lot of news held up, but with the season so close, we’re starting to get some overdue releases. Let’s talk about kits:

Two-tone orange for the Houston Dash, and as the owner of a pair of two-tone orange Nike shoes, I’m into it. There’s not a lot going on design-wise, but orange is bright, no need to go nuts beyond that.

Reign FC (don’t call them Seattle) went with white for their away, but added a nice design element with this center stripe. Apparently up close, the stripe is made of a tiny black diamond pattern. Not bad, though I wish they weren’t doing white shorts and socks (they’re not pictured here, but that’s what’s happening).

An imperfect ten: Sporting KC picked apart by Monterrey 5-2 | The Blue Testament

That’s 10 o’s, please appreciate my craft.

LA Galaxy acquire Giancarlo Gonzalez | LAG Confidential
I didn’t think Giancarlo Gonzalez was an elite MLS defender when he was a $3+ million transfer to Palermo, and I don’t think he’s going to be one now. However, being a step below elite is still a huge improvement for the LA Galaxy’s center backs, and given that they’re doing alright without him...this is bad news.

Why Special Olympics matters, in the athletes’ own words | SB Nation
In the aftermath of an attempt to cut a huge portion of the event’s funding, hear from several competitors on just what the Special Olympics mean to them.

I’ll finish up today with, for no particular reason, a Guti assist highlight reel: