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Positive Covid-19 tests in MLS & NWSL, Washington Spirit tease new jersey, and more: Freedom Kicks for 6/19/2020

Good news, bad news, and kits on Juneteenth

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Hannah Wagner / Bernie Koelsch / Courtesy of Washington Spirit

Good morning folks! It’s Juneteenth, which should be a day we know all about as a country, but a lot of people are just learning about it now. Despite trying to pay close attention to the real history of the U.S. in school, in college, and on my own as an adult, I didn’t learn about it until after I turned 30.

With that in mind, the NWSL Players Association put together a list of Black-owned restaurants in each of the league’s nine cities. Here’s the D.C. list:

The list in our region is a lot longer than this, so don’t feel bound to just these options if you order some takeout tonight. And it’s probably good to order early.

Let’s stick with the local NWSL concern:

Washington Spirit toy with our emotions by teasing their new kit, add sleeve sponsor | Black and Red United
Our newest addition André Carlisle is maybe more excited to see the new Washington Spirit jersey than I am, so yesterday’s combination of a jersey tease (see below) and news of a new sleeve sponsor was both big news, and also a form of torture.

We want to see the jersey! Next week is too far away!

Toronto FC fully healthy as team resumes training ahead of MLS is Back Tournament | Waking the Red
There wasn’t a lot of D.C. United news yesterday, but we’re inching closer to the MLS is Back Tournament, and that means we’re talking about injury reports. Toronto FC, the clear favorites in Group C, appear to be at full strength.

Unnamed Atlanta United player tests positive for COVID-19 | Dirty South Soccer
Inter Miami player tests positive for COVID-19. Here are the details | Miami Herald
Yesterday was a very bad day of news as far as coronavirus positive test results across MLS. United was the last team to test positive, but in the span of a couple of hours, we jumped from three to five after Atlanta United and Inter Miami both confirmed some bad news. Hopefully the players are alright, hopefully no one else gets sick, and in the context of Florida’s skyrocketing rates of infection, I think MLS has some serious consideration to do about whether this tournament is actually a good idea.

LAFC sign defender Andy Najar | Angels on Parade
I hope Andy Najar’s career gets back on track...but it hurts that he’s gonna be wearing someone else’s jersey.

Local broadcasts to stream for free on |
Okay, since I gave you two pieces of bad news, let’s have a laugh. FC Cincinnati has apparently kicked FloSports to the curb.

In abrupt parting with CEO, Whitecaps spoil a rare bit of momentum | The Athletic
The Vancouver Whitecaps are arguably the MLS team that gets talked about the least, but fans have been deeply unhappy with the club for years now. It seemed like VWFC were making progress...but now they’ve stunned everyone by firing a CEO who they just hired, whose father recently passed away, and as yet, they’re not citing a specific reason. Not great!

Whitecaps fans ‘revolt’ in aftermath of team firing CEO Mark Pannes | The Province
“Revolt” is a bad word to have associated with a fanbase! Fans who have tickets for 30 years are wiping their hands of the Whitecaps. It’s that bad.

NWSL player tests positive for COVID-19 |
More bad news, as the NWSL has its first positive test. We don’t know what team the player is on, but according to the league, so far the tests of everyone on the contact tracing list are negative. Again, here’s hoping the player makes a speedy recovery.

NWSL Mini-Previews: OL Reign, Portland Thorns, and Utah Royals FC | American Soccer Analysis
ASA getting into NWSL is huge for the league, which has almost no reliable data available. For example, I was motivated to compile set piece goals last year in part because Opta was making clear mistakes in their tabulations (e.g. saying there were only 3 set piece goals of any kind all year in 2019). The woso world has been dying for serious data analysis that doesn’t come with a five-figure subscription fee.

And on top of that, all three teams in this preview are on the Spirit’s schedule.

Regulations, precautions for USL restart outlined in internal documents | The Athletic
Great reporting from Jeff Rueter here, getting deep into the details of how the USL plans to come back without clustering in one place. It’s an ambitious plan to say the least.

Behind the scenes of the process helping USL create instant highlights | Indomitable City Soccer
What I learned here is that highlights are assembled by magic. Or computers, but honestly, what’s really the difference?

Would you be surprised if I told you if Forward Madison has released another spectacular jersey? It’s just what they do:

Alright that’s enough. Get out there and do something cool today!