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D.C. United at Montreal Impact, Washington Spirit game postponed, and more: Freedom Kicks for 8/30/2019

Good news: Mal Pugh was back in action last night

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Good morning! I’m writing this from a beachside town in New Jersey that is the Jersey shore, but is not the Jersey Shore. I’ve had a drink, I’ve felt the sand between my toes, and I’ve stared at the stars for 20 minutes or so...and now it’s time to post with honor.

Let’s start with the fact that my working vacation just got 50% less busy:

The Washington Spirit were going to have to play Orlando in consecutive weeks (NWSL scheduling, with 9 teams in the league, is never not kinda weird), but Hurricane Dorian’s approach meant the game was sensibly pushed back. They were going to be without USWNT stars Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh as well as key rookie starters Sam Staab and Jordan DiBiasi, who are playing for the US under-23s at the Nordic Cup (DiBiasi scored in a 2-0 win over Norway on Wednesday).

Of course, with the first week in October also a FIFA international window, the situation might be exactly the same when the game actually does get played.

Moving on to the game that appears in no danger of postponement: D.C. United and the Montreal Impact meet tomorrow, and it’s a huge game for both teams. United is just 2 points clear of the red line at this point, while Montreal is only above it due to MLS’s silly “games won” tiebreaker (and given that Toronto FC has 2 games in hand on IMFC, it feels like a very flimsy position for them indeed).

Loudoun United and D.C. United play as one |
Some interesting things here from Ryan Martin, who explains a big part of how he sees his job as the head coach out at Segra Field. We’ve heard similar things from Martin in the past, so this is a consistent idea that the organization is sticking to.

MLS competition gains a new frontier: Ever-expanding front office structures | The Athletic
Dave Kasper leads this piece from Paul Tenorio off, and for good reason: he’s pretty much the only GM in MLS to stick around from the days where a team’s technical staff could be one or two people.

We’ll have much more from Kasper later today!

Strength of Schedule Rankings update: Who has the toughest home stretch? |
This is decent news for United, whose remaining schedule is only 13th in terms of the collective opponents’ points per game.

On the other hand, if you had a moment to go into the future and check, and then came back and told me they only picked up 3 points from their last 5 games, I have to admit I wouldn’t be particularly shocked.

And what’s sad about the East is that 42 points just might end up being enough to get into the playoffs anyway.

USA sets friendly attendance record during 4-0 win over Portugal | Stars and Stripes FC
The USWNT scored 2 goals in each half, no one picked up any obvious injuries, and the victory tour is going as smoothly as it can. Of the Spirit players, Pugh made her comeback from an injury suffered during her last stint of USWNT duty, playing 29 minutes. Lavelle did not play, though she’s been making appearances at other USWNT events, so it seems like she won’t be out much longer.

Remaining victory tour matches serving as audition for U.S. players amidst coach search | The Athletic
Unlike the last victory tour, performance matters this time, because the USWNT coaching job is going to be open soon. No matter who gets hired, you can be sure they’re going to watch these games a few times.

Fans feeling ‘pushed away and rejected’ by Houston Dynamo’s plans for change | The Athletic
When you look for examples of someone squandering a good situation, you can always fall back on Gabriel Brener’s ownership of the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash.

Argentina, Los Hombres y Las Mujeres | Howler
Argentina’s women’s national team is still fighting like hell just to be heard by their federation and Argentine society at large.

That’s it for me. I’ve got a big day tomorrow consisting of needing to go get some beef to marinate bulgogi, and...uh...that’s about it on the to-do list. Vacation!