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D.C. United, Gonzalo Pineda talks fall through, Donovan Pines to US U-23s, and more: Freedom Kicks for 1/9/2021

A real mixed bag of news for your local men’s soccer concern this weekend

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Montreal Impact v DC United Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Well it’s Saturday afternoon, and I missed Friday Freedom Kicks trying to take care of a few other things (mostly other soccer content-making), so let’s take what I had for Friday, and what I’ve read this morning, and do a Saturday Freedom Kicks. Nothing’s normal anymore, up is down, cats lying with dogs, etc.

D.C. United’s coaching search continues after talks with Gonzalo Pineda break down | Washington Post
I’m writing this Saturday, like I said, and this feels like news from a week ago. It’s not though! It’s barely 24 hours old. D.C. United and Gonzalo Pineda are done talking, and the outcome is no deal. Not great!

Let me just quote Steve Goff’s piece real quick:

Teams typically have coaching staffs in place by now.

They do! Meanwhile, Pablo Maurer added a wrinkle on why this has come to pass:

On one hand, this could be about something important, like qualifications or personal history. On the other hand, right now the perception with United means fans aren’t exactly giving the benefit of the doubt.

D.C. United acquires goalkeeper Jon Kempin in trade with Columbus Crew | Black and Red United
On the other hand, United’s goalkeeping corps is once again among the deepest in MLS. It’s a smart piece of roster-building, as Jon Kempin is far more likely to make an impact with the team than anyone they might have grabbed in the third round.

Let’s check on the team’s eMLS results:

Look, I know our readership isn’t very invested in the eMLS program, but someone with the club won seven games out of eight. After 2020, let’s accept a positive where we find one.

Matt Freese, Donovan Pines added to U-23 roster | Stars and Stripes FC
More good news! Donovan Pines was a curious exclusion on the u23 roster, so I’m glad he’s getting a chance after all. After losing most of last year’s preseason due to injuries, training against USMNT players heading into United’s preseason could be very good for him.

MLS 2021 offseason snapshots: Transfer news, latest moves and projected lineups for every club |
I think the DCU lineup here is definitely not going to be the opening day lineup, but we’re talking about a team with no coach, so who knows?

Anyway if you want to check in on everyone around MLS, this is a solid Cliffs Notes guide for how things are going.

Sources: Sacramento Republic missed MLS expansion agreement, payment deadlines | The Athletic
The eternal issue with the Sacramento expansion bid has been money, and that appears to have come up in a pretty real way last month. I hope they figure out how to get it together, but I can’t say I’m optimistic.

Another bit of bad news: North Carolina FC will apparently not be taking the field in 2021:

Apparently this is just a men’s side issue, with the Courage (who have already made signings and other expenditures) “unimpacted” by the news. But it’s still not great news.

The SBI 2021 MLS Draft Big Board (Version 1.0) | Soccer By Ives
We’re at MLS Draft prognostication time already. This is just a listing of prospects, rather than a mock draft, but with the Black-and-Red picking fourth, the job of sorting out what names to keep in mind is a bit easier than in years past.

Speaking of looming drafts, the NWSL’s is on Wednesday, and things are...chaotic:

Catarina Macario is probably not going to end up in NWSL (I’ve heard similar things as what Jeff Kassouf is reporting above), and it’s very bad news indeed. We’re talking about a player with so much talent that she might end up on the Olympic roster before she plays a professional game.

Nothing’s official yet, but...

New NWSL 2021 college draft rule is bad for player rights | All for XI
...this was a terrible year for a virus to cause pure chaos when it comes to structuring a college draft. The league’s rule change to adjust to the new reality appears to have only caused more confusion, and it’s likely that players are the ones that will pay the price in the form of lost freedom of movement.

MLS Allowing Clubs To Sell Left Sleeve Sponsorships To Recoup Revenue | Sports Business Journal
Given that teams are suffering major losses, I think I’m prepared to reluctantly accept another Brand Incursion.

USWNT January camp roster: What to expect in friendlies vs. Colombia | The Athletic
Hear from Vlatko Andonovski on what the USWNT camp that started literally today has in store.

Speaking of hearing and USWNT camp...

Why not hear from Kelley O’Hara, USWNT and now Washington Spirit player, talking about women’s sports writ large?

Marine FC formally announces sponsorship by Cartilage Free Captain for Sunday’s match | Cartilage Free Captain
This is pretty great.

Alright this post is probably long enough. What are y’all getting up to this weekend?