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D.C. United and Washington Spirit prep for Saturday, Collin Martin speaks, and more: Freedom Kicks for 10/2/2020

Stand together, y’all

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MLS: D.C. United at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning! I’ve got a full breakfast in front of me, let’s get to Freedom Kicks while I work through it.

Clubs can stop players from going to South American World Cup qualifiers | ESPN
FIFA has carried over some international window exemptions for teams with CONMEBOL players who would be facing lengthy quarantines if they travel for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers. We’re leading with this because for D.C. United, this could be a very important decision. If Edison Flores and Yordy Reyna join up with Peru, and if Junior Moreno heads down to play for Venezuela, the Black-and-Red would have a maximum of 20 players available to deal with a stretch where they’d be playing five games in 18 days.

Instead, because the US quarantine is longer than the FIFA standard of five days, it appears United has the option to not release those players. This opens the door for a host of other issues (national federations don’t tend to enjoy being told they can’t call someone up for a World Cup qualifier), but it feels safe to expect United to take advantage.

A soccer goalkeeper, a retiree, and a save that created a lifelong bond | Washington Post
The story of how Chris Seitz ended up being a lifesaving bone marrow donor remains one of the best human interest stories in MLS history.

Seven years later, the 2013 U.S. Open Cup final stings even more | RSL Soapbox
Yesterday was the seventh anniversary of United’s impossible, unfathomable US Open Cup triumph over Real Salt Lake. I wrote about it earlier this year, but that was easy. My team won the thing, and who doesn’t like to relive past glories? Full credit to Matt Montgomery for this piece from the other side, because I’m sure it was less fun to go over from the Real Salt Lake perspective.

D.C. United vs Atlanta United: Match Preview | Dirty South Soccer
All due respect to our friends at DSS, but 1-1? Between these two teams? My sense is that tomorrow is either 0-0 or, because MLS is crazy, 6-5 with a defender scoring a hat trick.

Meanwhile, the Washington Spirit have expanded their schedule to give players a more extended evaluation period:

Richie Burke added that starters like Aubrey Bledsoe, Paige Nielsen, and Sam Staab are probably going to see limited minutes in those games at best, while it sounds like team captain Andi Sullivan may be able to make a return from the knee injury that ended her Challenge Cup early at the same time.

This would be a great spot to link you to the latest episode of Plex Weather, which features Sullivan as a guest, but technology conspired against us. Fortunately she and the Spirit were willing to reschedule for today, so hopefully I’ll have that out late tonight or first thing tomorrow morning.

Staying with the Spirit, they’re auctioning off all kinds of cool stuff to benefit the NAACP and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America:

As of yesterday evening they’d already raised over $1,000, but there’s still plenty of good stuff to bid on.

The San Diego Loyal walked out mid-game to protest an opponent’s homophobic slur | SB Nation
Obviously the big story in American soccer is what happened late Wednesday night in a game between the San Diego Loyal and Phoenix Rising. United homegrown product Collin Martin, the only openly gay man playing pro soccer in the US, released this statement yesterday:

Not that my opinion is the important one on a matter like this, but San Diego did the right thing by showing genuine solidarity with Martin in opting to abandon the game (which they were winning 3-1, and which they essentially had to win to secure a playoff berth).

United released their own statement in support of Martin yesterday afternoon:

Collin Martin, Landon Donovan and San Diego’s solidarity after a homophobic slur | The Athletic
This is a really thoughtful piece on the incident and San Diego’s action on behalf of one of their own, including an interview with Martin himself. Highly recommended.

San Diego pro soccer team walks off after opponent allegedly targets openly gay player with slur | Washington Post
Martin also spoke with the Post in the aftermath, detailing what he heard and saw during what is a bit of a convoluted series of events involving a rescinded red card.

MNUFC Trades Mason Toye |
Minnesota United traded one of the most promising young forwards in MLS, Mason Toye, to the Montreal Impact for a combined $600k in GAM and a 2nd round pick. Can’t help but think that this maybe should have been a different Eastern Conference club trying to make this move.

Staying out west, the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak within the Colorado Rapids organization means they’ll have to postpone another game:

This one was pretty much a fait accompli given the quarantine period (their first positives came back last Thursday), but the fact that they have additional new positives is pretty clearly bad news. Here’s hoping everyone with the Rapids recuperates, and that this is the last of the new positive tests.

As for the MLS consequences, it seems highly unlikely that an already jammed calendar has room for make-up dates. We may get into a situation where MLS adds points-per-game as a column in the standings, but as of now there’s no word on the league’s plan on how to handle one team not having time to play the full 23-game schedule.

Alright, let’s end with a purely self-indulgent comedy bit. It’s my first Freedom Kicks post of October 2020, so you know what time it is: