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RFK Stadium, D.C. United and Washington Spirit prep for Saturday games, Alex Morgan to Spurs, and more: Freedom Kicks for 9/11/2020

It’s still The Only Good Stadium

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Caitlin Buckley / Black and Red United

Well folks, I had a miserable night’s sleep, then my body made up for it by missing my alarm, and then some other stuff happened, and now it’s the afternoon. But nonetheless, the Kicks must be free, so here we go:

We all knew this day was coming, and the people of D.C. deserve something useful for everybody on the RFK campus (that is to say, not a football stadium for the most villainous football team). But am I dreading seeing RFK Stadium demolished? You’re damn right I am. It is still a landmark I instinctively look to every single time I go within sight of it, and it will always be capital-H Home.

I’m also going to loudly insist that D.C. United history there is not hand-waved away by the local media, who are surely going to focus on a football team that hasn’t played there since 1996 and a baseball team that stopped by for a couple of years and wrecked the place. United’s history counts too, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Speaking of the RFK era:

Ryan Nelsen will be doing color commentary for tomorrow’s game against the Red Bulls, which will increase the New Zealand accent count in my recent life up to two (I’ve been watching a Youtube Japan travelogue series run by a New Zealander during the last couple of months).

D.C. United hopeful Paul Arriola returns from ACL injury before MLS season ends | Washington Post
Paul Arriola is closing in on his return to the field for United to such an extent that he’s been able to join some parts of training with the group.

Armchair Analyst: 7 Homegrowns who could follow the trail blazed by Alphonso Davies & Tyler Adams |
Matt Doyle has Moses Nyeman on his list of elite MLS youth prospects.

“Audi Field, the home of Major League Soccer club, D.C. United, has partnered with New Columbia Solar, a D.C.-based solar energy company, to complete a 627.8 kW-sized solar system across the stadium’s canopies and rooftop.” | PoPville
Audi Field is now home to the fifth-largest solar panel set-up in the District. You can also get married there apparently?

The Washington Spirit are back in action tomorrow, and your eternally tardy author did do a podcast about it:

Lots of fun on that one with friends, but we do also cover some serious soccer ground.

Paige Nielsen steps into leadership role for Washington Spirit | Equalizer Soccer
The Spirit’s leadership situation has evolved of late, and Paige Nielsen is growing in confidence (as seen by the choice to come up and take that penalty last week).

Speaking of the Spirit, they’re gonna be short-handed tomorrow:

The official injury report has the same four absentees as last week, plus Ashley Hatch listed as questionable. It sounds like there’s at least one more not being mentioned here on top of that.

NWSL makes adjustments to week two matches of the NWSL Fall Series |
The ongoing hellish conditions on the west coast have resulted in the Portland Thorns vs. OL Reign game that was scheduled for CBS tomorrow being moved back to Tuesday. CBS will instead show the North Carolina Courage play the Houston Dash, which will be played at a different time to make the TV window work.

Linehan: Competition for players and viewers can be a positive for NWSL, FA WSL | The Athletic
Some vital context in the recent trend of USWNT players (and other internationals from around NWSL) signing short-term deals and loans in England and elsewhere. There’s a pandemic, and our winter is what it is, so NWSL can’t guarantee safe games in the next few months. Players want to be playing so they’re ready for the Olympics. They also have the chance to make more money while doing so. It’s not that players have collectively decided that the WSL is the better league (it pretty clearly isn’t).

Alex Morgan will join Tottenham Hotspur on short-term deal | The Athletic
Remember, the key here is “short-term.”

Utah Royals FC Acquires Forward Michele Vasconcelos from Chicago Red Stars |
One player that may have played a part for Chicago this weekend has been traded to Utah, who have doled out quite a bit of their allocation money.

Sale price for Real Salt Lake, Utah Soccer Holdings starts at $500 million | Sports Business Journal
Staying in Utah, Dell Loy Hansen is unfortunately going to make a good bit of money after being forced out.

It also sounds like he’s going to move quickly:

Yuki Nagasato Makes History with Loan to Hayabusa Eleven |
Red Stars attacker Yuki Nagasato is going to spend the next few months playing for a men’s team in Japan, which is pretty cool.

Play your kids: MLS’s Fred Lipka on the blossoming youth movement and MLS NEXT |
As much as we all cracked jokes on the MLS Next logo (side note: you don’t have to spell a brand name in all caps), it does seem like more teams around the league are figuring out that they can give minutes to their homegrowns without having their team completely fall apart.

Sporting KC teen Gianluca Busio is generating interest from these international clubs | Kansas City Star
Full credit to the Sporks, who appear to have positioned Gianluca Busio in such a way that they’ll get a transfer fee that eclipses what United got for Andy Najar and Chris Durkin combined, despite Busio not actually being a higher-level prospect than either of those two (though he does have an Italian passport, so that probably counts for something).

Alright, this post is getting to be too long, and it’s 2pm, so it’s time to publish.