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November USMNT roster, D.C. United Decision Day scenarios, and more: Freedom Kicks for 11/5/2021

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Sunday’s gonna be about as big of a day as we get around these parts

Caitlin Buckley / Black and Red United

Good morning! D.C. United has Decision Day looming, the Washington Spirit start their first playoff game in five years literally minutes after United learns their fate, there’s a USMNT roster to scream about, and we have a stunning development in Japanese baseball concerning a boss that is very big.

Let’s go!

First of all, reminder what United needs to get another game in 2021, which is all three of the following:

  • A win over Toronto FC
  • A Nashville win over the Red Bulls
  • Orlando getting a draw or beating CF Montréal

It’s a lot! I wish this list were shorter!

What’s at stake on Decision Day: Playoff places, seeding, Golden Boot & more | MLSsoccer.com
Here’s a look at the broader Decision Day picture, including a note that Ola Kamara needs to score at least twice against TFC to win the Golden Boot (and more than that if Valentín Castellanos scores at all, among other players). It’d be amazing for both American top-flight Golden Boot winners to hail from the District.

No matter how the weekend turns out, we have yet another international window coming up. We don’t have every United call-up officially in yet, but we have some of them:

Gregg Berhalter unveils USMNT roster for Mexico, Jamaica qualfiers | Stars and Stripes FC
Paul Arriola is in for the USMNT, which is no surprise.

Similarly, Junior Moreno has been called up by Venezuela:

Peru’s squad, announced a couple of days ago, didn’t include Edison Flores or Yordy Reyna, presumably due to their injuries. Honduras does not appear to have announced a squad yet, at least that I could find (there was a brief camp for domestic players last week, but that wasn’t the real deal), but it seems safe to expect Andy Najar called up today or tomorrow.

Moving on, yours truly did a brand-new episode of Plex Weather:

Ashley Hatch came on the show to talk over a pretty wide range of topics: her development as a player, NWSL PA issues, and of course Halloween costumes. Listen in, it’s good!

Buying tickets to join the Spirit Squadron in the Chico Stand is also good, and if enough people do, it’ll support a good cause:

We have more Spirit content coming out today...and then again tomorrow. The machine doesn’t stop.

The final NWSL Team of the Month results are out, and the Spirit are all over it:

Aubrey Bledsoe, Sam Staab, Ashley Hatch, and Trinity Rodman (who was runner-up for Player of the Month) all made the best 11 for October. That’s what happens when you go 4W-1D-0L in a month.

NWSL playoffs guide: Bracket, how to watch, and what to know about every team | The Athletic
Here’s a breakdown of what to expect out of the field in the NWSL playoffs.

Red Stars Iron Woman Sarah Gorden embodies the spirit of Chicago | Just Women’s Sports
Sarah Gorden has been arguably the least conventional center back in NWSL this season (with the dominance of back four formations, there aren’t a lot of center backs beyond Gorden and Emily Sonnett breaking lines on the dribble, and Gorden’s doing it more frequently), but she also played every second of this season.

After undershooting potential again, Pride can find answers with right coach, midfield makeover | Orlando Sentinel
Meanwhile in Orlando, the Pride are once again asking the question “how did this not work?” after missing the playoffs again.

The demise of the New England Revolution’s ‘crayon flag’ — the final remnant of original MLS design | The Athletic
Personally I think this is a better logo in a vacuum, but a) as someone who has read some history books, I wouldn’t want to associate my brand with the East India Tea Company, and b) we don’t live in a vacuum. MLS’s rebrands are inherently a reset button history-wise, and the crayon flag was both kind of ugly (as an MLS old, I can tell you that I thought it was always kind of ugly) and also an authentic MLS thing, packed with 26 seasons of meaning.

Rebrands will never hit like being good at soccer, and I feel like someone should present this information in various MLS boardrooms.

Houston Dynamo FC part ways with head coach Tab Ramos | HoustonDynamo.com
Case in point, the Dynamo chose to add an FC (good on the Revs for not falling for that bit of foolishness) and a new, clunky, baseball-ish badge, and no one cared because they were a bad soccer team.

Anyway, here’s the promised Big Boss:

Big Boss! Now this is an idea MLS should shamelessly copy.

Alright y’all, we have a lot to get into this weekend. Here’s hoping it involves two wins.