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D.C. United vs. NYCFC, Joseph Mora update, Spirit vs. Royals FC, and more: Freedom Kicks for 4/19/2019

Decidedly mixed news for United heading into a busy weekend

We’re looking at a pretty interesting weekend for our teams. First, Loudoun United heads up to play New “York” Red Bulls 2 at 1pm tomorrow, followed by the Spirit heading west to face Utah Royals FC at 9pm. Then, D.C. United hosts NYCFC on Sunday at 4pm in a game they want to use to get back to winning ways at home. It should be a fun weekend, though there might be the threat of rain throughout.

Let’s get into the news:

Filibuster previews D.C. United versus NYCFC | Black and Red United
Let’s start with some good news: a whole new Filibuster! We broke down the formation change in Colorado, then looked ahead to Sunday’s game against NYCFC.

That said, the bad news appears to be just a bit more significant:

“Much more” is alarming to hear. Chris McCann was training on the side Wednesday, but I wouldn’t expect him back for what is a crowded upcoming week of games. Akeem Ward’s D.C. debut feels like a solid bet for the very near future.

Stewart Mairs is top candidate to become D.C. United’s technical director | Washington Post
Promoting from inside the organization makes a certain amount of sense, and it’s good to hear that United is not shying away from a more data-driven approach to identifying players. That said, one does hope that the analytics role gets filled in quickly.

DC United’s Chris Durkin learns valuable lesson as U-20 World Cup nears |
One thing of note here: Chris Durkin has been a midfielder throughout this season’s training sessions.

I thought this was an interesting visualization:

Last year, probably owing to the two very different teams United ended up being, their touches were deeper and very much to the right flank. This year, we’re seeing DCU get on the ball in the opposing side’s half more, and with more of an emphasis on the left side.

Friends, Roommates, and (Maybe) U.S. World Cup Teammates | Washington City Paper
We’re probably going to hear more and more about the Washington Spirit’s USWNT trio head of the final World Cup roster announcement.

MLS clubs to receive solidarity payments after league agrees to follow FIFA rule | ESPN FC
Wasn’t expecting this to break loose on a random Thursday.

What does adoption of training compensation, solidarity payments mean for MLS? | ESPN FC
If you need to know what this training compensation business is even about, here you go.

It was a busy night in broader MLS news:

Anyone who thought that expansion to 30 wouldn’t happen is a sucker. Anyone that thinks they won’t keep expanding beyond 30 is also a sucker.

“This team is capable of breaking records”: Monica Gonzalez has faith in the Dash | All for XI
This is, huge talk given that the Houston Dash have never made the playoffs, but Monica Gonzalez has seen a ton of things in her time in soccer, so who knows?

Big Bets and a Fast Buzzer: The Secret Sauce of James Holzhauer’s ‘Jeopardy!’ Success | The Ringer
As a lifelong Jeopardy! watcher, I knew being good on the buzzer was crucial. I didn’t know it could make this much of a difference.

But, as everyone keeps saying, it helps to get your question-answer right.