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D.C. United playoff scenarios, Ashley Hatch wins Golden Boot, and more: Freedom Kicks for 11/2/2021

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A stark split in terms of whether the news is good or bad with D.C.’s top-flight soccer concerns

Kelley Piper / Black and Red United

Good morning! I’m writing with a headache, so let’s get right to the D.C. United and Washington Spirit news.

Three things about D.C. United just not having the legs in their loss to the Columbus Crew | Black and Red United
The bad news? United lost on the weekend, and are looking like a major playoff doubt. The good news? There are still some ways to get in.

Looking to the future, two United homegrowns just got USA u20 call-ups:

That’ll happen when you’re a full-season starter at the USL Championship level at 18.

Washington Spirit’s Ashley Hatch wins 2021 NWSL Golden Boot | Black and Red United
Ashley Hatch brought the Golden Boot back to the District for the first time in six years, which is good and cool! I looked back at every goal she scored this year and found that the pattern was...pretty much no pattern, bar a guarantee that she’ll score on Orlando when they visit Audi Field.

Also good and cool: the local teams with prominent Japanese players are linking up:

You can see a live soccer game before the weekend without leaving the DMV. Just head to the Plex to see the Maryland Bobcats host the Los Angeles Force:

Karina LeBlanc named Thorns FC General Manager | Stumptown Footy
Former Canada goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc has taken over the Portland Thorns GM job, which seems good...

Statement on the Hiring of Karina LeBlanc as Thorns GM | 107ist.com
...but has left folks wondering if this is just laying the groundwork to retain Gavin Wilkinson (who was for some reason GM of both the Timbers and Thorns before the Paul Riley nightmare unfolded, but has since been suspended from his Thorns duties).

Sharing for no particular reason! Definitely not something that pertains to anything we talk about!

Mexico punished again for homophobic chant, will play more World Cup qualifiers without fans | Yahoo Sports
FIFA has, at least for now, hit El Tri with a two-game ban on fans after the continued homophobic chanting at Mexico World Cup qualifiers. Unless FIFA backs down — it’s FIFA, so not a lot of faith in them holding firm! — Mexico’s games against Costa Rica and Panama early next year will be in an empty stadium.

Alright folks, enjoy your Tuesday!