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Paul Arriola injury update, USWNT roster announced, CCL returns, and more: Freedom Kicks for 2/18/2020

Things are starting to get busy as the MLS season approaches

SOCCER: JUL 27 MLS - DC United at Chicago Fire Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I dozed off very early last night, and so I’m having to do this first thing in the morning. We have a lot to talk about: on the D.C. United front, Paul Arriola’s status is the big news, while the USWNT called up 3 Washington Spirit players. The CCL makes its return tonight, with Atlanta United and LAFC playing, and probably some other stuff happened as well!

First up: Arriola gave the world an injury update:

I’ve seen at least one reputable site treat this as a clear declaration of a fully torn ACL...which it is not. However, “months” is the key word here, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we’re looking at most of the season without a key player. It’s bad news for sure, and we’re wishing Arriola a speedy recovery.

Paul Arriola’s injury is a reminder that D.C. United needs more players | Black and Red United
On a somewhat related note, it’s time for United to sign some more players.

Down in Florida, Pablo Maurer got this quote from Thierry Henry concerning Ben Olsen:

“Can’t be too old-school with it” points to Henry seeing some new wrinkles during the preseason. Let’s hope they work.

2020 Season Preview: D.C. United |
The projected finishes at the bottom of this are a touch more pessimistic than I expected, but it seems like most predictions generally see the Black-and-Red making the playoffs.

USWNT 2020 SheBelieves Cup roster includes Washington Spirit trio | Black and Red United
Rose Lavelle and Andi Sullivan were pretty much sure things to make the camp leading up to the SheBelieves Cup, but Jordan DiBiasi getting called up is a pleasant surprise.

SheBelieves training camp roster shows positions are still up for grabs | Stars and Stripes FC
Mal Pugh is on the same roster, looking to play her way back into the USWNT roster before the Olympics.

The Atlanta United-F.C. Motagua preview: Concacaf Champions League kicks off Season 4 | Dirty South Soccer
Atlanta will be far and away the more talented team on the field when they face Motagua tonight, but they’re missing enough players that I suspect they might have to win the 2nd leg to go through. They’ll probably manage that, but it might be a bumpy ride.

Also worth noting: both legs in this series are being played away from the home team’s actual home. Motagua’s stadium is being renovated, so they’re not even playing in their home city of Tegucigalpa. Atlanta, meanwhile, has scheduled their game for Fifth Third Bank Stadium to avoid having 60,000 empty seats at the Benz.

Preview: Club León vs. LAFC | Angels on Parade
I have a bad feeling for Los Angeles Football Club in this one. León is in 3rd place in Liga MX and is scoring over 2 goals per game so far this season, while as this piece mentions, LAFC has several question marks scattered throughout their lineup.

Armchair Analyst: MLS in the 2020 Concacaf Champions League — who is best-equipped to win it all? |
Matt Doyle’s taking Seattle as MLS’s best hope this year, and based on the bracket, it’s hard to argue with him.

After a solid USL season, Williamson is looking to take the next step in 2020 | Stumptown Footy
Is former United academy product Eryk Williamson going to break through with Portland? Given the make-up of their roster, I’m not convinced he’ll get his chance to prove himself, but I’m hoping to be wrong.

Let’s end by celebrating a legend, at least for those of us in our late 30s and older: