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D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire, LAFC’s big move, NWSL, and more: Freedom Kicks for 7/26/2019

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We regret to inform you that today’s post includes the Leagues Cup

For your friends at B&RU, a weekend with only two games, spread across the weekend rather than stacked up all on one day, feels like having time off. D.C. United plays the Chicago Fire tomorrow, and then Loudoun United hosts Louisville City on Sunday night at Audi Field. The Washington Spirit, after a busy week with two games and a media day, just have to watch the scoreboard and see if they’re still in a playoff spot come Monday.

Let’s get to the links and stuff:

Here’s Ben Olsen, mostly focused on figuring out how to press the Fire without being caught out:

It Feels Like We’ve Been Here Before | Hot Time in Old Town
Are the Fire repeating history? If it’s really 2012, I assume Gordon Wild ends up being Raphael Augusto. Who ends up being Andre Hainault in the playoffs for United? Who will we be mad at 7 years later?

Washington Spirit and the NWSL Look to Capitalize on World Cup Momentum | Washington City Paper
Good stuff here from Seth Vertelney, who spoke with Spirit majority Steve Baldwin among others about the club’s ambitions at what is definitely an inflection point for the NWSL.

In opening games, Leagues Cup proves to be an ill-conceived experiment for the MLS sides involved | The Athletic
Strong co-sign from me on this piece. There’s no real incentive for MLS fans, or MLS clubs, or MLS players, to give a damn about the Leagues Cup. It’d be nice to see MLS HQ apply themselves at improving the actual league before we start fanciful schemes like a joint Mexico/US league.

Reports: LAFC to sign Uruguayan attacker Brian Rodriguez | Angels on Parade
We used to do this drill on my high school team where two players would line up on either side of a coach. The coach would kick the ball in the general direction of a cone about 40 yards away, and the players would have to race to the ball. Whoever won the ball was the attacker, and the other player’s job was to try to prevent them from knocking the cone over with the ball.

I am notoriously slow. No speed, no acceleration. So several times, I somehow ended up matched up with our fastest player, Tony, and while the cone-defending part of the drill usually went well for me, the race to the ball always went like this: Tony would be beating me, but I’d be just close enough to maybe have hope...and then Tony would actually start running, and I’d be doomed.

LAFC is Tony. The rest of the league is me.

How the Chicago Red Stars made the World Cup bump a reality | The Equalizer
Everyone that hosted an NWSL match recently has had a healthy boost in their attendance, but for the league’s future success, none of those bumps was more important than the Chicago Red Stars getting over 17,000 people out to Bridgeview. Folks from the team sat down with Claire Watkins to explain the thought, strategy, and straight-up hustle that made it happen.

Ibrahimovic on scrutiny after opponent’s injury: “I feel like I am hunted” | MLSsoccer.com
Sure. OK big guy, we believe you.

And on that note, try to stay cool out there this weekend.