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Paul Arriola to return for D.C. United, NWSL Expansion Draft protected lists, and more: Freedom Kicks for 11/6/2020

On a big news day for the world, we’ve got some significant news over here too

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at D.C. United Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning! I’m very hungry, and it seems like there is some other non-soccer stuff going on today that might be kind of a big deal, so let’s get through what we’ve got quickly. We’ll have more for you later today as D.C. United talks to the media ahead of Sunday’s Big Game.

You want some good news? Let’s start with the good news:

We talked about this a few days ago, but now the team is confirming it. Nearly 9 months from tearing his ACL in preseason, Paul Arriola is going to be in uniform for United. It’s excellent news.

It looks like the team is going to put out a video about Arriola’s path to this point later today. Here’s the teaser:

Here’s how D.C. United can make the playoffs | Black and Red United
I updated the playoff scenarios for United after Wednesday saw Chicago only get a tie against Minnesota. If you want to know what has to happen, this is the place to find out.

Washington Spirit protect 11 players ahead of NWSL Expansion Draft | Black and Red United
Unfortunately not all of the news is good. The Washington Spirit announced their protected player list ahead of Racing Louisville’s expansion draft (next Thursday evening), and there’s essentially no way the Spirit avoid losing two players.

NWSL Releases 2020 Expansion Draft Protected List |
Here’s the full set of protected lists (and unprotected lists) from around the league.

Utah Royals protect 11 players for upcoming expansion draft | Salt Lake Tribune
Christen Press is one of the big unprotected names available, which this piece discusses.

Let’s finish up with what appears to be a water park that has taken over for Villarreal’s field:

Believe it or not, they played after this! Villarreal beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 4-0.

Alright, that’s it. The weather’s nice, get outside for a few minutes!