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D.C. United past and present, Tori Huster named NWSL PA president, and more: Freedom Kicks for 4/21/2020

We’re all missing soccer and getting older, but there’s some good news out there too

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Kelley Piper / Black and Red United

What do you do when you turn 38? Well, if you’re me, you make plans to pick up some brownies (non-mind-altering variety), and you make plans to get some pizza for dinner, and you make plans for doing an episode of Filibuster with a pretty dang good guest. These isolation days aren’t the best, but we’re all trying to make the best of it, so I’m taking the stance that it’s good to have people making brownies, or to be able to afford a pizza, or to have people want to listen to your podcast.

I’m also grateful that for this whole year, I can think “I am 38” and be correct. I’ve been thinking that for like 8 months, like I was jumping ahead, but now I no longer have to correct my own mental math.

And with that out of the way, the soccer:

Ben Olsen and Tata Martino are decidedly different managers, explains Julian Gressel |
This is going to draw plenty of sarcasm, but Julian Gressel draws an important stylistic approach that has nothing to do with how high the team presses.

Stories From The Pitch episode 4 - Moses Nyeman | Stories From The Pitch
D.C. United fans as a whole haven’t gotten many chances to get to know Moses Nyeman, so here’s one such opportunity.

Armchair Analyst: The most important goals in MLS regular-season history |
United’s involved with a bunch of these, though I have to take some issue that none of Eddie Pope’s big three trophy-winning goals (1996 MLS Cup, 1998 CONCACAF Champions Cup, and the 1998 Copa Interamericana), all of which forged new ground for MLS writ large, made the list.

On the other hand, did I watch the entire highlights from Adam’s suggestion of the 2009 United loss to the Kansas City Wizards? Did I, a person who watched the game when it was played and has brought this game up a bunch of times in the ensuing years, react viscerally when Rodney Wallace’s shot from the top of the box hit the post and then bounced down just short of the goal line?

Reader, you know I did.

Robbie Russell, former MLS defender, describes his life as an ER intern in era of COVID-19 |
Robbie Russell took some time out of what I’m sure is a very busy schedule right now working as a doctor to talk about his experience as a first-year resident.

Turning to the Washington Spirit, the club’s longest-tenured player is now president of the NWSL Players Association:

I miss NWSL, but our community will get back together soon | All for XI
I was very bummed out over the weekend, as what was supposed to be the NWSL season opener at (a very likely sold-out) Audi Field instead was just another day at home. It was going to be what I’d argue was the biggest occasion in Spirit history. Yes, even more than the 2016 final, which was the biggest game, but not necessarily a game that was going to have a major, long-lasting impact in the region. The Spirit, on big CBS, in front of a full stadium and featuring the most famous soccer-playing woman on the was going to be a landmark event.

But, like Kim McCauley (the inventor of Freedom Kicks, btw), I also just really badly miss the community. I’m so lucky to be involved in two great communities on game days, and that’s what keeps me coming back more than anything else.

I think there are some good links in here today, but if you read one thing I shared, this is the one.

‘This is a guy I want to be like’: USMNT, MLS vets on their favorite teammates | The Athletic
Some of these, you’ll know the answer when you see what player is answering. But nonetheless, there were some surprises, and some good stories too.

U.S. Soccer Federation approved for government-backed loan due to COVID-19 crisis - sources | ESPN
Presented without comment.

An MLS-Liga MX super league is the future. Here’s how it could work | Yahoo Sports
As much as this idea sounds fanciful right now, there’s a logic to it that might be tough for MLS owners to turn down. Owners will never approve a traditional pyramid in American soccer, but if you can set up a situation where being in MLS doesn’t lose you anything financially (a huge if, to be fair), and there’s a more lucrative league above it to move up into, you might just be able to get them on board.

Alright, that’s it. Enjoy your Tuesday!