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Crystal Dunn to Portland, Mesut Ozil to D.C. United rumors are back, and more: Freedom Kicks for 10/23/2020

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We’re bidding farewell to a true friend of American soccer

Soccer: NWSL Challenge Cup-NC Courage vs Portland Thorns Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the rare afternoon Freedom Kicks. Why afternoon? Well your old pal Jason had a disaster of a night of sleep, and then had a couple of things to take care of, and suddenly it’s 2:30 and I’m just starting. Feel free to use this as a quasi-Saturday Freedom Kicks as well.

But unfortunately we have to start with some news that is, quite simply, awful.

You’ve probably already heard about this today: Daryl Grove, one half of the Total Soccer Show, passed away yesterday. It’s entirely too soon, and I hope you take a moment to hear Taylor Rockwell’s words on Daryl (that’s what’s in the tweet above). I only had the pleasure of meeting Daryl two or three times, but what struck me every time was that someone with a bigger platform and more of an ability to explain the game than I ever have was always so interested — not just politely interested, but truly engaged — in our little site, or in Filibuster.

Please believe me when I say that this is not how things normally go, in American soccer or really in life in general. The tangible enthusiasm for a project that is unquestionably not as big a deal as Total Soccer Show was not unique for us, either. That’s just how Daryl and Taylor carry themselves.

American soccer is a fairly small scene, and the rumors and gossip are, if anything, more common than you might think. The fact that everyone in this notoriously combative and snarky part of the world has had not just positive, but memorably good experiences in their interactions with Daryl says it all.

The sport, and the community around it, are markedly worse off today. We’ll miss you, Daryl. And that includes your favorite club:

Not quite Ozil and Out: Mesut Ozil could leave Arsenal now with MLS, Qatar, Portugal and Brazil transfer windows still open | The Sun
Look I’m not in the business of linking to this particular news outlet, and there’s absolutely nothing concrete in here (no quotes, no sources, no agents, no anything), but D.C. United is going to be coming up an awful lot in the coming days when it comes to Mesut Ozil, who has been left out of Arsenal’s squads for the Premier League and the Europa League.

Armchair Analyst: Revisiting one big question (again) for each MLS team | MLSsoccer.com
The idea Matt Doyle lays out for United here was tried, once: the 1-1 draw against New England during MLS is Back.

Personally I don’t think something as big as a “roster teardown” is coming, but this may just be a difference in terms of the degree of changes expected. Obviously something’s gonna change. You don’t have the struggles United had this year and keep the roster completely intact.

Atlanta United’s Barco explains seven-game absence | Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Ezequiel Barco was kept out of the lineup for long enough, and for dubious enough reasons, that the expectation was that he might be sold soon. Instead, Atlanta United just did a poor job of explaining it for galaxy brain reasons that stopped having a chance of working weeks ago.

Anyway, he’s apparently probable for tomorrow.

D.C.’s Pro Rugby Team, Old Glory DC, Will Make Leesburg Its Home Next Year | Washington City Paper
Revenue streams!

Crystal Dunn? Crystal Dunn. | Rose City Review
It wasn’t necessarily a surprise trade, but the Portland Thorns acquired Crystal Dunn yesterday in a three-team deal. This is a good breakdown of how thing impacts the Thorns, and it’s more complicated than “well they got one of the best players on earth, so it’s good and that’s that.”

OL Reign bids farewell to goalkeeper Casey Murphy in blockbuster three-team trade | Sounder at Heart
That trade also sent OL Reign’s top goalkeeper Casey Murphy to the North Carolina Courage, along with the various exchanges of allocation money and draft picks. There are takes out here saying that they gave up too much to become the third team in the deal, but I think they overrate Murphy in comparison to the rest of the NWSL goalkeeping pool. This was great business from On Line Reign.

Stanford star Catarina Macario ready for new chapter with U.S. women’s national team | ESPN
Speaking of big woso news, Catarina Macario is getting closer and closer to being eligible for the USWNT. There are some interesting notes in here about the process, including what a citizenship ceremony looks like during the Covid-19 era.

The National Soccer Hall of Fame Knows It Has a Voting Problem; Here’s What It’s Doing to Fix It | Sports Illustrated
I’m glad the Hall of Fame, which has frankly been reduced to a sham in recent years because it can’t figure out how to induct obviously deserving players, is trying to make changes to the voting process. I’m not entirely optimistic that the changes will work, but at least we’re not just beating our head against a wall any more.

The banned javelin technique which endangered spectators and shattered records | Secret Base
Do not throw a javelin like this, no matter how sure you are that you’re gonna break a record.

Alright that’s it. Be good to each other.