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MLS playoffs, Washington Spirit GK coach departs, and more: Freedom Kicks for 11/20/2020

Good and bad news from around MLS as the postseason gets underway

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MLS: New England Revolution at Montreal Impact Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

I need to go to sleep soon, so I’m gonna try to sprint through here. Famous last words given my tendency to go long, but it’s worth a try.

1 year after multiple sclerosis diagnosis, WTOP’s Dave Johnson looks back, forward | WTOP
We start with a look at D.C. United announcer Dave Johnson’s ongoing battle with MS, which hasn’t stopped him from maintaining his famously busy schedule being the voice for two local teams as well as shifts on the radio and the NBC4 sports desk.

Spirit Goalkeeping Coach Ian McCaldon Departs for FA WSL Side Everton FC |
Ian McCaldon is leaving Richie Burke’s staff to take a position with Everton, and given how highly everyone within the Washington Spirit organization rates him, it’s gotta be considered a blow. The Spirit have some time to fill this role (official training doesn’t start back up until February), but it wouldn’t shock me if we hear of a new hire well before then.

MLS lays off 20% of its staff as the financial impact of COVID-19 on sports continues | Yahoo Sports
MLS is going through major layoffs, which is a real bummer. It’s also not a surprise given the economic impact of the pandemic, which we’re a long way of being out of.

Play-off Countdown - Quioto: “We need to have heart, passion and desire.” | Mount Royal Soccer
The MLS playoffs start tonight, and if the Montreal Impact have any hope of shocking the New England Revolution in the early game (6:30pm), Romell Quioto is going to have to be just as dangerous as he’s been all year...and he’s gonna probably have to avoid two-hand shoves on unexpecting opposing players, because this time the referee might actually do something about it.

For the record, I think the Revs make it hard on themselves by giving up a set piece goal early, but ultimately the Impact defense has been dreadful all year (despite being a very low-block team often fielding five defenders), and eventually those mistakes give the Revs room to come back for a 2-1 win.

Sources: Five players to miss Inter Miami’s playoff match vs. Nashville SC due to COVID-19 | SBI Soccer
First of all, here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for all of these players. I figured Nashville would win this game 1-0 before this news, but for Miami to lose five players on top of existing’s going to take something truly wacky for the Music City boys to crash out at the first hurdle.

Here’s some positive news:

Kathryn Nesbitt is MLS’s AR of the Year, making it the first time in MLS history that an officiating award has gone to a woman.

The mastermind behind the Colorado Rapids’ set-piece brilliance | Denver Post
Some of this is just having good delivery, but if you’re not as diligent as the Rapids are on set piece design and training, you’re leaving goals on the table.

‘It’s just been such a grind:’ How TFC, Impact made the most of a second bubble | The Athletic
The details of life for MLS’s Canadian teams this year have been even tougher than what everyone else has had to go through. Really good story from Sam Stejskal here getting the details on how they’ve had to adapt to essentially living in US bubbles.

Angel City FC investor Cobi Jones says NWSL team should transcend MLS rivalry | LAG Confidential
It’s pretty easy to sort out the reasons Angel City chose Banc of California Stadium over Dignity Health Sports Park for their future home: it’s just better business due to the location, suites, age of the venue, and more. But this blew up, with fans in the region treating it as one more stage of the proxy war between the Galaxy and LAFC...even though Angel City is an independent entity. Galaxy legend Cobi Jones made the case for why this kerfuffle just doesn’t hold much water.

Wrexham FC: Rob McElhenney pays £6,000 to adapt fan’s home | BBC
Just days after taking over as part-owner of Wrexham, Rob McElhenney has covered the bill for remodeling the home of a supporter who suffers from cerebral palsy in order to make his life easier. Freedom Kicks might end up becoming a Rob McElhenney Update space, we’ll see.

And finally, it’s the weekend. Don’t be like this guy!