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Hernán Losada is D.C. United’s new coach, Catarina Macario debuts for USWNT, and more: Freedom Kicks for 1/19/2021

We have a lot to discuss!

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Charleroi v Beerschot : Jupiler Pro League Photo by Philippe Crochet / Photonews via Getty Images

We have a bunch of things to talk about, what with D.C. United officially hiring Hernán Losada yesterday, the USWNT (including two new Washington Spirit players) rolling past Colombia, and that’s only a fraction of the news. It’s a lot!

D.C. United announces Hernán Losada as new head coach | Black and Red United
I’m excited! No way to know how this goes, and it could be a complete debacle, but on paper at least it seems like United is going to be more entertaining, and hopefully also more effective.

Here’s the new boss saying hello in two of the four languages he speaks:

D.C. United announces Hernán Losada as new head coach | Washington Post
I had to laugh when I saw that a headline I chose over the weekend ended up being exactly the same as Steve Goff’s choice at the Post. I promise I have not hacked into the WaPo servers.

More importantly, there are more notes in here about the hire, and a report that Bill Hamid has undergone sports hernia surgery (another indicator that the Black-and-Red don’t expect the season to start in March). If you’re keeping score at home, this points to an early-mid March return. Steven Birnbaum (ankle surgery) is 7-11 weeks from a return, which is to say somewhere between mid-March and mid-April.

With Hernan Losada, DC United take a worthwhile risk |
Great summation of the overall situation that Losada is walking into, and he’s right to call this move a risk. But I think one reason fans are excited about this choice is that the club has generally been risk-averse in a lot of ways, and it’s liberating to be the team that made the bold move for once.

Lukas Podolski vor Wechsel in die MLS? DC United und FC Cincinnati offenbar am Ex-Nationalspieler interessiert | Spox
Mesut Özil signed with Fenerbahçe and we barely even got a few hours before the rumor-mongers struck back with this even older rumor that never went anywhere. However, since this report cites a larger outlet (Bild), I’ll give it this brief consideration. On one hand, Lukas Podolski is 35, and has talked about finishing his career with Polish club Gornik Zabrze, so there’s probably not all that much time for him to also fit a tour of MLS in. On the other hand...I mean I guess D.C. does need one more forward?

2021 MLS Mock Draft: Version 1.0 | Top Drawer Soccer
If United could take Calvin Harris at #4, I’d say just do that and solve the forward problem on draft day, but it’s hard to imagine the GA striker falls to DCU. However, with a small Generation Adidas class due to have two late additions, we could see the Black-and-Red manage the rare combination of GA/best available/need if Harris or center back Ethan Bartlow are still available.

TDS is only going with confirmed draft-eligible players, and at the moment they think United will go for Josh Bauer, who is not a GA player but does make sense for a team that needs to add defenders.

The SBI 2021 MLS Draft Mock Draft (Version 2.0) | SBI Soccer
Ives Galarcep, meanwhile, is sticking with a prediction that would see United go for Virginia Tech central midfielder Daniel Pereira. He’s a GA, and a substantial talent, but one thing United has is a bunch of guys who can play the 8 or the 10. We’ll see how it shakes out on Thursday (yes, it’s that close).

Seattle to Swansea a surprise move for Jordan Morris – but may be perfect match | The Athletic
Much-discussed move, yes sure, but this is here mostly because of the United link. Weird how things actually work (Steve Kaplan, who has an ownership stake in the Black-and-Red and Swansea, recommending that his Championship club sign one of MLS’s best players) as opposed to how some Swansea fans seem to think things work (which would be, I guess, Swansea selling players so the Audi Field press box can afford all the caviar they serve us).

Washington Spirit to Host MLK Week of Service |
Before we get to the Spirit’s USWNT involvement, this is a really cool idea aimed at helping the DMV community. If you’re able to do so safely, check the links and consider volunteering for one of several good causes.

A call to service on MLK Day | Stars and Stripes FC
Speaking of service, B&RU’s own Donald Wine II wrote this on answering the call to serve in our communities, and even noted a really excellent cause coming to the District soon.

USA vs Colombia: match recap and reactions | Stars and Stripes FC
Catarina Macario made her much-awaited debut, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd both returned after long absences, but the star of the show ended up being the Mewii, with Sam Mewis scoring a hat trick before Kristie Mewis finished things off with a late volley.

From the Spirit, Kelley O’Hara started at right back and played 72 minutes, while Emily Sonnett came in at left back for the final 18+. Vlatko Andonovski opted not to put Aubrey Bledsoe or Andi Sullivan in uniform, which is rather less good news, but they play Colombia again in a few days.

However, let’s go out with one more piece of good news:

This could be a very fun Spirit season, is what I’m saying.

Alright, this piece is verging on Too Long, so I’m going to call it. Happy Tuesday!