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Champions League final, D.C. United & Washington Spirit news, and more: Freedom Kicks for 5/31/2019

Tomorrow, everyone on earth is playing an important soccer game

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Caitlin Buckley

The marathon that is D.C. United’s most jam-packed portion of 2019 is just about over. The finish line is just down the road. In the interest of preserving what little mental processing power I have left, let’s just get started with the big rumor, which has Ashley Young leaving Manchester United for D.C. United:

We’ve dealt with this kind of rumor before, and as long as Wayne Rooney is in town, we’re going to hear them again. People (sometimes writers, often agents) will throw Veteran Player From Man U/Everton out there with DCU because it gets attention. Don’t believe the hype.

Referee administrator says Fire’s tying goal against D.C. United shouldn’t have counted | Washington Post
Sure do love to keep sharing this kind of news with y’all. Remember this and the even more egregious bad decision that took off Frederic Brillant’s goal at Minnesota if the path through the Eastern Conference playoffs goes somewhere other than Buzzard Point.

Of course, it’s also fair to also point out that neither of those games needed to be up for grabs in a manner where one bad call could cost United points. We wuz robbed, sure, but we’ve also been leaving points on the table.

Junior Moreno will shortly be heading south to join up with Venezuela’s squad for the 2019 Copa America:

Venezuela begins play in Group A on June 15, and a deep run could keep Moreno away into July.

Meanwhile, it looks like yesterday’s Open Cup draw pairing United and the Philadelphia Union now has a date: June 12, 7:00pm. Better hope it’s not sunny.

Cancer survivor Chris Odoi-Atsem saw D.C. United as the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ | Washington Post
Chris Odoi-Atsem’s return to action is the best story going in MLS right now.

Former Loudoun United coach Richie Williams officially joins New England Revolution | Pro Soccer USA
Quotes in here from Ben Olsen, who says there aren’t any hard feelings with Williams or with Dane Murphy, who left for England recently.

That said, at some point United is going to have to start paying coaches, technical directors, and the like enough money where they don’t bounce so quickly. Hiring in-demand people only for them to leave fairly quickly has been a theme going back to Pat Onstad and Josh Wolff.

CAA Commissioner Says FloSports, DC United Issue Not A Concern For CAA Deal |
Your daily FloSports update.

Showing their Spirit! Players on DC women’s soccer team to make World Cup appearances | Fox 5 DC
Is this perfect? No. But it’s a local TV station that has no stake in the Washington Spirit doing a real segment on them anyway, with genuine effort to know the sport and to talk to players beyond just the USWNT. Vote with your clicks, fam.

Utah Royals FC midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta suspended two games after kicking Orlando Pride’s Carson Pickett | Deseret News
The Spirit are going to face Utah Royals FC in a top-of-the-table clash Saturday night, and Utah will come to town without at least one starting midfielder.

Rose Lavelle always believed she would represent the United States on soccer’s biggest stage | Cincinnati Enquirer
Pretty cool story on Rose Lavelle, who a while back insisted in an interview with me that “there better!” be time to go back to Cincinnati and get some Skyline Chili before she heads to France. Hopefully she she found a moment.

Putting off the next chapter: Has the NWSL done enough to prevent early retirements? | The Athletic
Low salaries are a major factor, but they’re not the only issue when it comes to players getting into their late 20s (prime years for soccer players) and sticking it out in the NWSL.

French women’s team moves out of training camp to make way for men | Reuters
According to the FFF, a men’s friendly against Bolivia is worth uprooting their women’s team, who are about to launch a serious bid to win a World Cup at home.

Cool. Good stuff.

Nacho Piatti suffers new knee injury |
This is a huge blow for Montreal, who just got Ignacio Piatti back. The recovery timeline here is basically sometime in September, which could well be too long for them to keep up in the East without making a major (and possibly unplanned) move to bolster their attack.

Then again, in the East, no one seems to want to just run off with things, so they’ll probably be able to hang on if they can manage some more 0-0 road draws.

Tottenham vs. Liverpool: Preview, Team News, and Ways to Watch the Champions League Final | The Liverpool Offside
If I can get my act together before heading to Audi Field Saturday, maybe you might catch me watching this one from a bar somewhere in the area.