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D.C. United teases new kit amid Lucho Acosta talks with FC Cincinnati, Trinity Rodman, and more: Freedom Kicks for 2/12/2021

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Plenty going on in soccer in the DMV today

Washington Football Team / Courtesy of Washington Spirit

Good morning! It’s a day after the DMV got a little more snow, but not enough snow to have a really fun snow day. And while we get a break today, some of us are going to get iced in tomorrow, which means I need to get some beers today, and also means I need to worry about losing power. Anyway, D.C. United is supposed to do a kit reveal day, so let’s get into the latest hint:

Longtime readers know I’m no fan of the Cat in the Hat kit from the 90s. I remember it like my 90s haircut: kind of funny, but also a bad idea. However, I know that’s an unpopular opinion, and my guess from this blurry image — it looks like a portion of the badge to me — is that the fanbase’s years of demanding a return of American flag colors is going to be answered. I’m hoping I’m wrong, but that’s my guess.

D.C. United Appoint Mateus Manoel as Head of Performance | DCUnited.com
So I wasn’t big on the kit tease, but I do think this is a good move. Mateus Manoel got his degrees at Maryland and GW, then worked for the Mexican and U.S. men’s national teams before 10 years at Sporting KC (a team that pioneered taking this sort of hire seriously in MLS). He also happens to be team physical therapist Gabriel Manoel’s brother, which is cool.

It doesn’t sound all that much like Luciano Acosta is coming back to United, though I know plenty of folks reading this are holding out hope. Personally, I think the way the roster is built means that the move here is to get a hefty pile of GAM out of FC Cincinnati and add players in different areas of the field. But, you know, that’s the wet blanket take, and I won’t begrudge you if you’re thinking about backheel nutmegs and Lucho leaping into the Chico Stand. I get it.

Meanwhile, with the Washington Spirit, we’ve got a double dose of Trinity Rodman content:

I wrote this before the full episode was up, but this should be good.

With Trinity Rodman, the Washington Spirit have a chance to make up for past mistakes | Black and Red United
André Carlisle took this thoughtful angle on how the Spirit are changing their approach to make sure that this time, the youth national team star that came to the team as a teenager is in an environment where she can succeed.

Loudoun United add 4 to 2021 roster | Black and Red United
Rounding out the news from our teams, Loudoun United just doubled the size of their roster with one announcement. Good to see the team coming together, and don’t be surprised if some of these players get into preseason with D.C. as well.

The Maryland Bobcats weren’t left out as they build their squad for their first season in NISA:

NC Courage unveil 2021 kits with help from Naomi Osaka | Dirty South Soccer
The kits? Not too bad. The Courage have always been kind of staid, and that isn’t completely gone here, but adding some sublimated waves (to rep the coast) and multi-color mountains (to rep the western part of the state) is a step in the right direction. The cool factor goes up by a lot when your kit reveal is tennis superstar Naomi Osaka taking the court in your new colors.

Speaking of Osaka, here she is from late last night (I wrote this part of the post late last night, this was a multi-stage process) dealing gracefully with a butterfly that landed on her face during a match at the Australian Open:

Frankie Amaya requests trade from FC Cincinnati: MLS Notebook | The Athletic
I know there’s virtually no chance that this happens, but if United wants to turn the Lucho negotiations into a process by which they acquire Frankie Amaya...well, on one hand I think a very young #8 with Amaya’s skill set is kind of silly given that we want to make sure Moses Nyeman is an even better player than Amaya is when he reaches the age of 22, I also see United heading into the season really short-handed in central midfield, and I see a high-end MLS talent that wants out of a team that’s already in talks with United.

But like I said, we’re probably not the team that gets in on this, if Cincy even wants to make the move. Which, also, let’s talk about that: oof! Amaya is FCC’s one and only unmitigated success story, and after taking stock of what’s going on, he’s trying to get the hell out of there.

Observations from Bayern Munich’s 1-0 win over Tigres UANL in the Club World Cup Final | Bavarian Football Works
Despite Club WC Final loss, Tigres leave historic mark | FMF State of Mind
Let’s finish up with two angles on the Club World Cup final, where Bayern Munich ultimately defeated Tigres 1-0. Bayern were the better team, to be sure, but this was hardly the 40 shots, 90 minute of total dominance that most expected, and Tigres made a really strong impression as the first CONCACAF team to ever get to the CWC final.

Alright we’re pushing 900 words, so I’ll shut up. Stay safe out there this weekend!