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COVID-19, USWNT, and MLS: Freedom Kicks for 12 March 2020

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A hundred years worth of news happened yesterday

2020 SheBelieves Cup - United States v Japan Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

So many things happened yesterday that it seems like the fallout will be echoing for months (and it seemed like we lived a week in the span of 8 hours). At this point, I wish you and yours safety, peace, and hopefully a little bit of respite from the onslaught of news that is hitting is from all angles right now. We’ll try our best to give you some respite, but first, we’ve got to get to some of that news and how it has affected the world of soccer.

Two stories dominated the news yesterday: COVID-19 and USWNT’s continued embarrassment of US Soccer.

NBA suspends season until further notice after player tests positive for the coronavirus

The biggest news of yesterday was that the NBA, the biggest sports league in America right now, has suspended the league until further notice due to a player testing positive for COVID-19. The league will assess what it will do for the rest of the season in the coming days and weeks.

Earlier in the day, the NCAA declared the all of the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will go on, but without any fans in the stands, also in order to try and stop the spread of COVID-19. March Madness is one of the most popular sporting events of the year.

Mayor Bowser Declares Public Health Emergency | mayormb

Mayor Bowser and DC Health have recommended that all mass gatherings be canceled between now and March 31, a time span that does not include a D.C. United home game. She has pulled the permits for the Rock and Roll DC Marathon and Half Marathon, among other events.

COVID-19 will deliver financial blow to all levels of North American soccer – The Athletic

MLS is more loath to cancel games because, unlike many other leagues, they don’t have a big TV contract on which to rely to get them through the rest of the season.

This is short-sighted, and is likely to just get more people sick or to make employees of the teams and venues who can’t afford to take time off, such as the game-day operations and support staff, to take risks that no one else is.

MLS has mandated that every team take charters for the foreseeable future to get to games. In a little bit of MLS levity, these charters will apparently not count against the limit of charters that each time can take each year.

But MLS’s response is already not good enough, with the Seattle Sounders’ postponing their game against FC Dallas due to an executive order from Gov. Jay Inslee.

Coronavirus in Ohio: Gov. Mike DeWine to announce more prevention measures

Gov. DeWine of Ohio say he is going to announce more prevention measures to blunt the spread of COVID-19, and he has said that will include banning of mass gatherings. However, he has not yet stated what those measures are and whether or not they will affect outdoor gatherings, such as the match between D.C. United and FC Cincinnati.

I, personally, have to think that the game will be canceled, but we shall see as the days progress.

So, that is plenty of news to have happened yesterday, right? Nothing else could have possibly ha:

Oh, oh no.

U.S. Soccer Suffers Backlash After Comparing Skill Of Men, Women Players : NPR

The equal pay suit of the USWNT against US Soccer has long been a PR nightmare for the federation, and it has only gotten worse with the release of more transcripts from depositions.

Among many other things, lawyers for US Soccer said that “the job of MNT players carries more responsibility than the job of a WNT player,” which is just farcical on its face. When the men lose, people are disappointed or mad; if a men’s player has a failing in his personal life, people notice for a bit then move on.

The USWNT has the responsibility thrust upon them to be role models for all Americans, in particular young women and girls. If they have any personal failings, it becomes a referendum on women’s sports, not just what happens when people are constantly subjected to the spotlight. And if they lose any game, any game at all, it is a much bigger deal than if the men lose anything.

So don’t tell me this nonsense, US Soccer. Get to the table and settle this.

The USWNT players remain masters of controlling the narrative, showing that hey, US Soccer, it is the players that earned those four stars and the federation had almost nothing to do with it.

There has been solidarity throughout the entire suit, whereas US Soccer has started to flail and not know what to do with themselves or their arguments.

Foudy: USSF doesn’t realize the damage legal filing has done - ESPN Video

After the game, and only after being pressured by numerous sponsors into doing so, Carlos Cordeiro offered a mealymouth apology for the language used in their legal filings. Julie Foudy was listening, audibly sighed after hearing what Cordeiro had written, and then launched into telling US Soccer about the damage they are doing.

At the end of the day, the fans don’t particularly care about the federation; they care about the players, especially on the USWNT side. The federation may need to start realizing that it is replaceable.

USWNT: Carlos Cordeiro must resign as US Soccer president - Sports Illustrated

Yep, and take the whole board with him. Time to start over and refocus this on equality, not on money.

And now, that has to be it.

Wait, you’re telling me there was some actual soccer news yesterday?

Fine, let’s get to it.

An explainer for NWSL fans who don’t know what Twitch is - All For XI

The NWSL announced yesterday that the league will be carried on CBS, CBS All Access, and Twitch. If you’re not a fan of watching game streams and don’t know what Twitch is, here is a handy primer to get you going.

D.C. United in talks with Bobby Wood, former U.S. national team forward - The Washington Post

There were even D.C. United rumors yesterday, with it coming out that the club has a Discovery Claim on Bobby Wood, former USMNT striker. Wood was too expensive to be signed by FC Cincinnati earlier in the offseason, and so his price tag may seem to high for him to fit in with D.C. United.

However, he is currently languishing and not regularly playing in the 2.Bundesliga, so who knows if that price will continue to come down the longer he goes without playing.

Finally, let’s end on something happy. Oniel Fisher is continuing to come back from his brutal knee injury, and coming into the game this past weekend was a great step forward.

Stay safe and be well out there, friends.