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MLS plans to return to playing in markets, plus details from the MLS is Back bubble and more: Freedom Kicks for 8/4/2020

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We’re all under water today thanks to Isaias

MLS: New York Red Bulls at D.C. United Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re in the DMV, today is probably all about Tropical Storm Isaias, which is currently producing hard enough rain that I can hear it even while playing music. Hope you all stay safe out there.

Loudoun United comes together for progress | Black and Red United
While I’ve got your attention, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up Ryan Keefer’s great piece on how Loudoun United is handling the Black Lives Matter movement by sticking together and really listening to one another.

MLS close to finalizing plans to resume season in home markets | Washington Post
I’m still really not sure how MLS plans to do this in a manner that protects players, coaches, and staff. How will testing results be consistent with the schedule of games? Even if teams travel via charter or private bus, they’re still possibly staying in hotels, still going through airports, etc.

In any case, D.C. United is close to having Edison Flores back from injury, which leaves time to get a few weeks of training in before whatever this is going to be starts to happen.

MLS is Back Tournament: What it’s really been like after one month inside the bubble | ESPN
Stefano Fusaro is ESPN’s one on-site reporter for MLS is Back, and his observations here include a first-person account of the strangeness of trying to cover the 9am United-TFC game that was postponed.

How Minnesota United landed Ligue 1 defender Bakaye Dibassy and nearly lost him to DC United | MLSsoccer.com
Remember when United were being linked with a Ligue 1 defender that could play two positions the club is kind of thin at? Well, he’s officially in MLS now...with Minnesota. This explains where things went wrong for DCU, including some good ol’ fashioned “another team in the league has MLS dibs” fun.

George Best in the U.S.: A reality more unbelievable than the myth | The Athletic
Have you ever gone to a game hoping that a given player gets a chance to do the thing you know they’re best at? You want to see Rose Lavelle turn out of pressure and lead a rush the other way, or Federico Higuain with an opportunity to lob a goalkeeper, right? That’s the good stuff.

Well, the soccer article version of that is Pablo Maurer getting to spend a lot of time on an NASL legend. This story is as good as advertised.

Atlanta United in Disguise | Dirty South Soccer
Yesterday was a great day for soccer reading, because J. Sam Jones delivered this really thoughtful piece about how things have gone awry in Atlanta. I think this piece will probably hit close to home for a lot of us DCU fans that remember the 90s or the mid-late aughts, even if the causes were quite different up here.

The Grind: NWSL Challenge Cup | Just Women’s Sports
Some really great photos from the Challenge Cup in here, including one of Christine Nairn from the Houston Dash’s locker room celebration that looks like a magic trick.

That’s all I have for you. I’m going to be chilling inside all day, playing FM (just started a save as Oldham Athletic) and hoping the neighbor’s old tree doesn’t fall over and crush my car. Hopefully the equivalent tree of Damocles in your life doesn’t fall thanks to there being a tropical storm during a pandemic!