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Deadline Day in England, USWNT Olympic qualifying, and more: Freedom Kicks for 1/31/2020

Plus positive news for D.C. United and the Washington Spirit

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MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps at D.C. United Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, I opted to drive to College Park to go to D.P. Dough, which has nothing to do with Designated Players, and everything to do with late-night calzones that take me back to a long-gone era. I spent half an hour waiting in a jam packed carry-out place, then ate my calzone in my car because there was nowhere else to eat it.

It was a silly thing to do, but sometimes in life you need to get silly. At least, that’s what I’m going to tell myself.

Robert ‘Big Rob’ Gillespie Battles Cancer With Support from Fellow D.C. United Fans | Washington City Paper
Here’s something I’m more clear on: sticking together and helping each other out is vital. If you can, please find a way to help keep Big Rob’s fight going.

Venmo: @Robert-Gillespie-23
CashApp: $MarcoDad

After 16 months, four surgeries and days of doubt, D.C. United defender is back in the mix | Washington Post
It was great to see Oniel Fisher back in action last fall against Bermuda, and even better to see him come into preseason with no setbacks. Hopefully, once we actually get to watch preseason matches rather than simply hear they happened, we’ll get to see him rounding into the form he had back in 2018.

Washington Spirit announce 2020 preseason schedule | Black and Red United
The Washington Spirit are heading to Florida for a chunk of their preseason, which is another positive sign for the club in terms of ambition. We’ve also got details on tickets for their three preseason games.

Cheyna Matthews and family chasing football glory |
I can barely get myself out the door in the morning, so I can’t help but be impressed by Cheyna Matthews getting through the last year or so.

Humble, private and ruthless: goal-scoring record holder Christine Sinclair is who Canada needs her to be | The Athletic
Christine Sinclair, now the world’s most accomplished international goalscorer, would rather this story be about any of her Canada teammates.

Christine Sinclair finally let herself celebrate | SB Nation
If you didn’t see the (extremely rare) goal celebration from Sinclair after scoring her 185th international goal, check it out here.

USWNT’s Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris hit the Super Bowl as trailblazing role models ready for the future | Yahoo Sports
Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris probably aren’t going to the Super Bowl, what with it being right in the middle of Olympic qualifying, but you’ll see them on TV anyway. Some good stuff in here about how they got through the stretch where Krieger wasn’t getting called in for the USWNT.

Match preview: USA vs Panama, Olympic qualifying | Stars and Stripes FC
Coming off of a merely adequate Olympic qualifying opener that still ended 4-0 in their favor, the USWNT will be looking for more sharpness in the attacking third, and will likely be rotating quite a bit due to the grind of the schedule Concacaf has set for this particular tournament.

Ep 16: U.S. Women’s Soccer Landscape with Lori Lindsey | The Soccerwire Podcast
Lori Lindsey’s journey through the game — from youth soccer, to playing in all 3 pro women’s soccer leagues we’ve had in the US, to broadcasting — is an interesting one.

Sources: New York Red Bulls agree to sell Kemar Lawrence to Anderlecht | The Athletic
Gotta say, the moves from the New York Red Bulls (and Atlanta United, for that matter) sound like good ones...for D.C. United and everyone else in the East. Kemar Lawrence wasn’t always “on” for them, but when he was absent, they were a significantly weaker team, and there’s no obvious replacement that can be expected to play at his level.

Joint Statement from Nashville SC and Major League Soccer |
Oof. Nashville’s mayor has different ideas about what should happen with their proposed stadium site, and the whole project is at an impasse now.

Portland Timbers continue whirlwind offseason with Jaroslaw Niezgoda signing: “It’s been ridiculous” |
The Portland Timbers have been pretty busy this offseason, with Jaroslaw Niezgoda the latest move. However, adding a DP to the front line doesn’t seem to mean Jeremy Ebobisse is going anywhere.

Tottenham Hotspur negotiating Gareth Bale transfer. Can it really happen? | Cartilage Free Captain
Speaking of moves, it’s Deadline Day, so your favorite English team is probably doing something crazy that will stress you out all day.

Alright, that’s it for me. Enjoy your weekend! If you don’t care about the Super Bowl, it’s probably a great time to go to a movie.