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Chris Durkin departs D.C. United, MLS weighs options to return to play, & more: Freedom Kicks for 5/8/2020

Transfers, history, and two heroic Olds who are still playing pro soccer

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SOCCER: JUL 21 MLS - DC United at Atlanta United FC Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

None of our teams, nor the leagues they play in, have started playing yet. But maybe there’s been some progress?

Sure, playing quarantine games in central Florida during the summer probably means some extremely ragged, sweaty soccer, but you can’t blame MLS for looking into any even moderately viable angle.

Chris Durkin transfer from D.C. United to Sint-Truiden official | Black and Red United
We’ve been expecting this news for quite a while, and yesterday Chris Durkin’s move from D.C. United to Belgium went officially official.

DC United finalize transfer of Chris Durkin; GM Dave Kasper explains the deal |
Some interesting thoughts on the move from Dave Kasper, including more on the idea of United possibly seeing more academy products end up in Europe.

Chris Durkin puts D.C. United in past with transfer to Belgium’s Sint-Truiden done | Washington Post
Steve Goff has Durkin’s thoughts on the transfer and live with STVV direct from the man himself.

Interview: Ashley Hatch | Just Women’s Sports
Washington Spirit striker Ashley Hatch discusses her career and life in the DMV.

NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird spoke to Julie Foudy and Sebastian Salazar, pointing out both some long-term good news (like the chance to generate momentum with the 2026 men’s World Cup here being followed by the 2027 women’s World Cup) and the short-term difficulties of trying to get things going during a pandemic.

The rise and fall of MLS’s 35-yard shootout — and why it should be brought back | The Athletic
I hate to side with IFAB and FIFA, but speaking as a fan who was very much into the league during the shootout era: The shootout was not good, and MLS should have ditched it sooner. I think the recent push for shootout nostalgia means forgetting what it was actually like, which was preposterous in a forced, astroturf sort of way rather than the fun sort of preposterous MLS should embrace.

That said, Pablo Maurer’s history of the shootout (going back to the NASL) is still worth your time, and I don’t rate a standard round of penalty kicks over a 35-yard shootout as a tiebreaker for playoff games. I could live with that change, as long as I get to be the person who brings the old shootout clock from RFK over to Audi Field.

42-year-old Formiga still rules and isn’t quitting anytime soon | All For XI
Do you remember last summer, when Formiga was as indispensible for Brazil as Marta? She was 41, and they couldn’t survive without her in their midfield. Well, PSG just gave her a new contract that runs through 2021, meaning that she’ll be playing for one of the world’s best 15-20 teams as a 43 year old. That would be an incredible achievement by itself, but think about what goes into keeping your body intact with the sort of support women’s pro soccer (e.g. For the most part, teams were not hiring dedicated trainers, masseuses, or nutritionists until very, very recently) has gotten over the years.

On a somewhat related note that I will take any opportunity to bring up, 53-year-old Kazu Miura is still on the books as a player for Yokohama FC. He came off the bench in their last game, late in November last year, and once the J2 League returns to play, he’ll probably be in uniform. At 53.

Armchair Analyst: The what-ifs of Torsten Frings’ handball in 2002 |
We’re all doing some “what if” thinking these days (in fact, we’re working on something in the genre for this very site next week), and Matt Doyle’s looking back on a pretty infamous one for the USMNT. To add a bit of context for the folks that weren’t doing soccer back in 2002, remember that if you were watching this game in the US, you were about 3 weeks in on living nocturnally to watch the World Cup take place in Japan and South Korea, and everything felt vaguely like a hallucination.

In details of new academy competition, USL prioritizes flexibility for clubs | The Athletic
American youth soccer is never not complicated, but hopefully the USL’s approach pays off.

Y’all like soccer, right? Well, friends, I have some new soccer for you:

This game is going on right when this post goes up, so if you’re reading this right after it publishes at 7:30am, tune in for the final half-hour or so.

In the meantime, I’m writing this in what is the past for you, so I’m off to bed. Remember to stretch, and have a good weekend!