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Rory Dames accused of abuse, D.C. United adds Gaoussou Samaké, and more: Freedom Kicks for 11/23/2021

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The Spirit are still champs, and the MLS playoffs are back tonight

Nikita Taparia

Happy Tuesday! D.C. United added a player and scheduled some games, the Washington Spirit are still NWSL champions!!!, and we have some really unpleasant reading to do relating to now-former Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames. Let’s get right into it:

D.C. United acquires wingback Gaoussou Samaké from ASEC Mimosas | Black and Red United
After spending 2021 with Loudoun United, Gaoussou Samaké is the newest United player, with DCU acquiring the Ivorian wingback on a permanent transfer. Looked into a little USL Championship data for this piece adding some context.

D.C. United to open 2022 MLS Regular Season against Charlotte FC at Audi Field on February 26 | DCUnited.com
It’s so early in the offseason, but we’re already getting dates for United games. They’ll open the season as Charlotte FC’s first-ever competitive opponent on February 26 — the earliest an MLS season has ever kicked off — and then travel to take on FC Cincinnati a week later. That’s a recipe for six points, if you ask me.

Celebrate the Washington Spirit’s NWSL championship with new Breaking T shirts and hoodies! | Black and Red United
We’re still in party mode when it comes to the Spirit, and now you can dress appropriately for said party. This article includes a link where your purchase cuts in both the NWSLPA and B&RU.

Speaking of parties:

It’s a bit of a bummer to have to wait, but also understandable. The ownership dispute likely has to be settled in order for someone to foot the bill for a suitable celebration, and plenty of players are departing (or have literally already departed) for international duty. Four Spirit starters are with the USWNT in Australia, while Mariana Speckmaier, Karina Rodríguez, and Saori Takarada have joined their national teams abroad as well. If you’re gonna do a parade, those players deserve to be there, and they deserve a serious party.

Before we go on, huge congratulations to Kumi Yokoyama and their partner Nami on getting married!

Lots of Spirit weddings coming, we are in the best of times.

Trinity Rodman Displayed Her Greatness in NWSL Title Game Win | Washington City Paper
Seth Vertelney on the player that changed the trajectory of the Spirit’s championship win, including Kelley O’Hara just effusively praising Trinity Rodman.

‘Nobody cares’: NWSL players say U.S. Soccer failed to act on abuse claims against Red Stars coach | Washington Post
It unfortunately wouldn’t be NWSL in 2021 if we didn’t have to mix some good news with some very, very bad stuff. Some essential reporting here on the abuse numerous Chicago Red Stars players allege they suffered at the hands of Rory Dames, whose resignation was dubiously announced at 11:54 Central time on Sunday night. There’s some real cruelty in the remarks multiple players witnessed or were subject to. On top of that, the situation includes Christen Press going to US Soccer, who did investigate, and apparently did not do anything beyond that.

The NWSLPA released a statement on the reports:

A Statement from the Chicago Red Stars | ChicagoRedStars.com
Hours later, and well after the NWSLPA, Chicago offered this all-too-brief statement. You’ll notice I’m not calling this an apology, because no attempt to apologize was made.

San Diego Wave FC announce Abby Dahlkemper as first signing | LAG Confidential
Yesterday also included a huge NWSL trade, with Abby Dahlkemper becoming San Diego Wave’s first player. This one was complicated, because she went to the Dash briefly on a team that was described awkwardly (and differently) by several parties, but in the end, North Carolina got $190,000 in allocation money and a 2023 first round pick.

Toronto FC, GM Ali Curtis mutually part ways after 3-year tenure: Sources | The Athletic
Ali Curtis appears to be leaving TFC for MLS’s lower-division league.

2021 Match 35 Story Stream: Orlando City vs. Nashville SC | The Mane Land
It’s playoffs time in Tennessee! | Pharmaceutical Soccer
MLS has playoff games tonight. I know, it’s Tuesday. The games are still happening. Get yourself ready for Nashville-Orlando, which could be fun, or could be two teams parking their buses and staring across at each other for 120 minutes. But hopefully, fun.

Five things we’d like see when Sounders host RSL in the MLS Cup Playoffs | Sounder at Heart
RSL vs. Seattle: Six questions with Sounder at Heart | RSL Soapbox
Of the two games tonight, I am more sure that Seattle-RSL will be wacky in the MLS tradition.

OK this post is long enough. Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday!