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D.C. United departs for MLS is Back amid increasing positive Covid-19 tests league-wide, and more: Freedom Kicks for 7/3/2020

Should we be doing this?

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MLS: Inter Miami CF at D.C. United Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s late Freedom Kicks are brought to you by getting a little too comfortable while reading, and then waking up and it’s the next morning.

Armchair Analyst: MLS is Back Tournament contenders ranked by tier |
I do not agree with everything here, and quite in fact I disagree pretty strongly with a couple things (the Revs and Timbers aren’t even good, much less contenders), but you’re gonna have a hard time finding a better capsule preview of MLS is Back* than this. Matt Doyle’s got D.C. United near the top of his “anything can happen” tier, which I think is a pretty spot-on assessment.

*assuming it happens, which we’ll get into in a minute

United is, to the best of our knowledge, leaving this morning as planned.

On the Road Again | Rose City Review
This piece on MLS clubs beginning new eras with long road trips includes Dave Johnson talking about United’s start to 2018.

Washington Spirit rookie Kaiya McCullough has partnered up with Athlete Ally:

The Breakaway: A Republic FC Podcast - Drew Skundrich and Andi Sullivan from the Washington Spirit and US Women’s National Team | The Breakaway
Spirit captain Andi Sullivan and her husband, Sacramento Republic midfielder Drew Skundrich, joined the Republic’s club podcast.

Loudoun United head coach Ryan Martin sat down for a chat with former United striker (and current Loudoun assistant) Luciano Emilio:

Speaking of Loudoun, they have a schedule for USL’s return to play, and a new app:

Federal Loan Saved a Soccer Season Nearly Lost to the Pandemic | New York Times
NWSL used the Paycheck Protection Program to keep paying players, and per commissioner Lisa Baird, it was an absolute must.

And now, a collection of links on what was a bad day for the MLS is Back Tournament as a concept:

Inside MLS is Back: Food pics go viral, how teams are adjusting to 95-degree heat | ESPN
It’s really hot in Florida, on top the whole “players are testing positive after being allowed to travel” thing.

Worry rising in MLS bubble amid positive tests: ‘It could be a serious issue’ | The Athletic
Is this whole enterprise a reckless idea? Well it hard to say.

OK jokes aside, I think it is actually reckless.

Crew player tests positive for COVID-19 | Massive Report
And this is why: MLS’s testing regime pre-bubble doesn’t isolate players long enough to account for the 5-7 day period between infection and positive tests, so people are testing negative, flying down, and then exposing people in the bubble.

FC Dallas has nine new positive cases of COVID-19 | Big D Soccer
Nine. Nine!

Why MLS, USL, and other leagues are taking such risks to get back on the field |
(cues up Wu Tang’s “C.R.E.A.M.”)

Positive tests, isolation, uncertainty: MLS’ mess shows what other U.S. leagues are in for | Yahoo Sports
Things are chaotic right now for MLS, and that shows in multiple people in the bubble talking about how mentally taxing it is not knowing whether you’ve contracted coronavirus, or whether a teammate has it, or whether the tournament itself might have to shut down.

Moving on, this seems like a wildly optimistic idea:

It would be nice, but I’m not making any plans!

Rio Tinto Stadium to open for fans with reduced capacity for Real Monarchs match | RSL Soapbox
USL teams are just going to fly around their regions, and now the ones in states that will allow it are talking about having thousands of fans in the building. Seems like a bad idea!

The USWNT’s equal pay suit now includes a new face:

And I think that’s all I’ve got. Enjoy your weekend, please stay safe!