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Kevin Durant buys stake in Philadelphia Union, D.C. United & Washington Spirit discuss tournaments, and more: Freedom Kicks for 6/16/2020

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DMV-based players are speaking out about the upcoming tournaments, while a former Spirit player gets some bad news

Xavi Dussaq / Courtesy of D.C. United

Good morning! But actually, good evening, I’m writing this last night while eating spicy Doritos. Rather than belabor you with further details, let’s talk about soccer instead.

D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid has some pretty clear reservations about the upcoming MLS is Back Tournament, and they’re not about the event’s clumsy name:

Right now, this is an under-covered aspect of the whole thing, and we might hear more about it as we get closer to the actual tournament.

Speaking of which, still no schedule! MLS could have had those ducks in a row, but instead it’s four days since the draw, and we only know what day one game is being played on.

Sam Staab always stays cool, calm, and collected | Beautiful Game Network
Washington Spirit center back Sam Staab is a future USWNT player with a skill set that no one in the player pool has, and so much of it is down to the composure and ability on the ball that this piece centers on.

Staying with the Spirit, I summed up some quotes the team made available yesterday afternoon in this Twitter thread:

Reports: Fabian Johnson in discussions with multiple MLS teams | MLSsoccer.com
Regardless of what you may think of his USMNT play, Johnson is probably a pretty damn good MLS fullback at this point, especially when the price point is TAM rather than DP. I don’t think United is in the hunt here, for multiple reasons. On the other hand, we saw last year with Leo Jara that they’re willing to give up some serious cap space on a fullback that can attack. We’ll see where FabJo ends up.

NBA star Kevin Durant announced as new Philadelphia Union minority owner/community partner | Brotherly Game
After not being able to make a deal with United, Kevin Durant is now a part-owner of the Philadelphia Union. On one hand, it would have been very cool for a super-famous DMV local to put money into DCU. Remember when United’s ownership group was majority-minority? The club should be looking to add people of color in important positions, and that definitely includes ownership.

On the other hand, a bunch of MLS teams have had owners that are famous in other sports, and it hasn’t really done all that much for them. Would he be present? Would he be lending his star power towards the club? Right now, it’s impossible to say.

Why NBA star Kevin Durant invested in MLS team Philadelphia Union: ‘It just made sense’ | ESPN
More on this topic, including a rare concession from Union majority owner Jay Sugarman on the team’s failure to really do much of anything for the people of Chester.

Armchair Analyst: How to win a tournament? Take lessons from the World Cup | MLSsoccer.com
I think I’ve cited a couple of these ideas before, and I know Matt Doyle has brought them up, but here we go again: set piece execution at both ends of the field, and being willing to sub early rather than being reactive are going to be huge in these weird summer tournaments.

Speaking of summer tournaments, future Spirit opponent OL Reign made a huge move yesterday:

Alana Cook is one of Staab’s competitors for a long-term center back role with the USWNT. She’s good. Like, good good.

Please continue to harass media companies about women’s soccer | All For XI
ESPN was going to completely ignore the NWSL on their “Return of Sports” special, but a social media outcry and a push from within the organization changed it up, resulting in Crystal Dunn getting a (still too short!) segment as part of the show. The powers that be are still way behind, but they’re starting to listen when the voices get loud enough.

Speaking of the Courage, they dropped new kits yesterday:

It’s...fine I guess. The pinstripes would be better if there were more of them, but as is they just kind of disappear. And that’s still a lot better than their away kit:

All white, with a monochrome badge (which is to say, not the actual team badge). NWSL kits set a high bar for 2020, and the champs dug a tunnel.

A No Go: ACL sidelines Sky Blue’s Dydasco from Challenge Cup | Front Row Sports
This is a real bummer. Former Spirit fullback Caprice Dydasco, who tore her ACL in the 2016 NWSL Championship game, is done for the year after suffering the same injury in training with Sky Blue FC.

“A different world”: NBC Sports broadcasters talk Premier League return, coronavirus, and Black Lives Matter | Cartilage Free Captain
NBC’s broadcasting team isn’t going to shy away from some important topics right now. That’s not a given

‘They analysed his soul’ - Alien abduction blamed for ex-Boca star missing training | Goal.com
There’s nothing I can say that sells this more than the headline.

Let’s wrap up with a video game that people of a certain age are definitely going to want to play. Just promise me you’ll only choose Power Drive.