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D.C. United plays first preseason game, USWNT starts Olympic qualifying, and more: Freedom Kicks for 1/27/2020

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2020 is really starting to kick into gear

MLS: FC Cincinnati at D.C. United Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t have much to tell you this morning, but I know this: we’ve got D.C. United’s first preseason game of the season later this morning, and we’ve got the USWNT starting Olympic qualifying tonight. That’s better than my first lede, which was going to be how I slept all twisted up heading into Monday, right?

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first:

We’re stubborn and will try to cover this game anyway, but we may well just be summarizing from tweets and hoping for the best. Preseason!!!

This also counts as bad news, though we all knew it was coming:

As a reminder, don’t yell at the grounds crew! They’ve got a tough enough job ahead of them, and they don’t schedule events.

Things aren’t all bad though. Here’s Julian Gressel (he plays here, it’s good!) in his own words:

‘Excited’ Julian Gressel ready to start a new chapter with D.C. United | Black and Red United
We have a lot more from Gressel, who was really thoughtful in talking over his trade from Atlanta, his versatility, and the ongoing (and future) MLS CBA negotiations.

Out of adversity, Andi Sullivan finds new opportunity with USWNT | Equalizer Soccer
The USWNT begins Olympic qualifying tonight, and Andi Sullivan is hoping to use the chance to further establish herself as a regular on the team.

Yes, you can watch Olympic qualifying on TV | Stars and Stripes FC
Barely more than 24 hours before those games begin, Concacaf managed to sort out a broadcast partner for qualifying. Part of the issue seems to be the move to bundle this in with men’s Olympic qualifying rights...and the next two Gold Cups...and the Concacaf Champions League.

But anyway, they got it done. If you get FS1, you’ll be able to stream the USWNT’s games. It’s still not a great deal as far as these games go. Just as an example, you won’t be able to watch Washington Spirit forward Cheyna Matthews and Jamaica play Canada (in what may be a historic match, as Christine Sinclair approaches breaking the all-time international goals record) on TV. That game is among four that will only be available on Fox Soccer Plus, which is to say you’d have to pay to see it even if you’re already a Fox Sports subscriber.

‘Voice of the Crew’ Dwight Burgess steps down from Black & Gold broadcast booth | Massive Report
This is the Columbus Crew equivalent of what it would be like if Dave Johnson stopped calling United’s games. Hopefully that’s a bridge we don’t have to cross for a long time.

Over in the NWSL, we got some pretty major news in terms of transparency:

My colleagues with the NWSL Media Association made the argument with the league that this should be the case, and it’s really nice to be able to say that the league and team owners were willing to hear them and change course.

Didier Drogba, two more MLS legends to play in Australian bushfire relief match | MLSsoccer.com
Alecko Eskandarian and Dwayne De Rosario are the MLS legends heading down to Australia for a good cause, along with international superstar/guy who certainly played in MLS for a little while there Didier Drogba.

That’s it for me...for now. I have a DCU gameday preview to write. We’re back at it!