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MLS—and D.C. United—home games in August?: Wednesday Freedom Kicks

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And, hey, big ups to Fulham for winning the richest game in England.

Fulham v Brentford - Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final - Wembley Stadium
Fulham hero Joe Bryan exhibiting proper social distancing. And holding a trophy.
Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images

Happy Wednesday, friends. I hope you all were able to ride out Isaias comfortably and without any real damage to life and limb. I myself was lucky enough slept quite soundly through the rain pounding at my window all night and was gratefully underwhelmed by the lack of destructive wind gusts once the sun came up in my neck of the woods.

Let’s start the day with a breaking report on the Post-MLS Is Back World:

I won’t lie to you, reader: I don’t love it. We’ve seen NWSL and MLS do very well (albeit after a false start or two) in bubbles. The WNBA, NBA, and NHL are all currently having early successes in bubbles. Meanwhile Major League Baseball and the USL are playing in teams’ home markets, and canceling games left and right because of Covid outbreaks. Truly, I do not love it.

Related: These tweets right here about how MLS Is Back should be an annual thing, a sentiment I’ve been expressing (mostly on Filibuster) since before we were sure this one would even actually happen. Give me a World Cup-style dose of unadulterated Major League Chaos every February until forever!

And, hey, there’s soccer tonight! If you’re up for watching teams that advanced where our beloved D.C. United emphatically did not, you can see the Portland Timbers and Philadelphia Union face off for a berth in the MLS Is Back Final. It’ll go down on FS1 and TUDN at 8:00 eastern. The other semifinal, between TRADITIONAL POWERHOUSES Minnesota United and Orlando City, happens tomorrow night.

On the subject of Team Doop, and how they’ve frustratingly become a model franchise in MLS, here’s Charlie Boehm writing good things that you should read.

Joe Bryan’s moment of magic enough to book Fulham’s Premier League return | ESPN

Fulham FC—along with their obligatory American Tim Ream—will be in the Premier League next season (which I think starts, like, week after next? It’s soon) thanks to two goals from their left back in the promotion playoff against Brentford. You know, exactly what you expect. The first goal will go down in the Goalkeeper Hall of Shame; credit to Bryan and the coaching staff, who apparently worked on exactly this thing in training, but oh man did David Raya make a fool of himself on that one.

It still counts, though! Enjoy it, Fulham fans. We know this week’s Filibuster guest host Nate Scott (of USA Today and FTW fame) is.

P.S. Look for the new episode of the podcast very soon!

Black Lives Matter shirts designed by Philadelphia Union’s Warren Creavalle on sale at MLS Store | MLSsoccer

You can now buy the Black Lives Matter shirts players and coaches are wearing on the sidelines at MLS Is Back. The league has worked with Black Players for Change and will be donating all profits from the shirts to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, 100 Black Men of America, and Player’s Coalition. My opinion of this is that it is good.

LAFC becomes first MLS club to unveil fully custom adidas shoe | MLSsoccer

I’m a sucker for Sambas. And, as a Purdue grad (Boiler up!) I will always be here for black and actual gold. If these shoes didn’t literally say LOS ANGELES on them, my wallet would be even lighter still.

Audi Field Strengthens Fitness Industry’s Shift to Outdoor Workouts | Front Office Sports

Back closer to home, it seems unlikely there will be a significant fan presence at whatever home games do happen. But! You can still go do yoga in front of the (empty) Chico Stand. Good on United for giving local small fitness businesses access to the field gratis during the pandemic.

Elsewhere in MLS stadium news...

FC Cincinnati stadium work stopped because of ‘racist incidents’ | Cincinnati Business Courier

ISTG if they try to excuse this by saying they were just singing the lyrics of a rap song... In all seriousness, firing the people involved in the incidents and idling a construction site for several days to ensure everyone is properly trained in not doing terrible racist things aren’t always easy for a company, even if it’s clearly and obviously the right thing to do, so credit to the contractor for taking the step.

NWSL Challenge Cup supporters survey results: A sharp uptick in confidence | The Athletic ($)

Things NWSL fans love: NWSL, NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird, NWSL sponsors, the NWSL Challenge Cup. Probably the funnest fans in sports, too: If NWSL fans love you, you’re in for a good time.

How Carson Pickett teamed up with Nike to create one of the world’s most accessible soccer cleats | CBS Sports

And now, from NWSL’s media partner, an extremely cool story about a new soccer cleat with a fold-down heel and wrap-around enclosure that Nike developed with the Orlando Pride’s Carson Pickett, who was born without a left forearm. It might get a little dusty in your room while you read this.

On that note, go out there and have a good day. Be kind. Wear a mask. Do something silly and fun.