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Oniel Fisher to LA Galaxy, D.C. United and Washington Spirit news, and more: Freedom Kicks for 2/16/2021

Adios, Oniel Fisher!

Columbus Crew v D.C. United Getty Images

We’ve got all your local teams covered today, particularly D.C. United and the Washington Spirit, but before we get into that, I want to complain about having thoroughly muddy surfaces all over the place due to the melting snow being followed up by a driving rain storm as I write this. I don’t know if it rained that hard all over the DMV, but it sounded like a summer February, with temperatures in the mid-30s.

I don’t like it!

LA Galaxy sign veteran defender Oniel Fisher | LAG Confidential
Oniel Fisher unsurprisingly found another MLS team that wanted him. I’m still not sure why United opted to cut bait. Even with Chris Odoi-Atsem and Joseph Mora ahead of him on either side, most teams would really like to have Fisher as depth and competition at those spots.

10 players who need a much improved 2021 |
Last year was bad, and when you’re bad sometimes your players get singled out as individuals that have to improve...and so we have this piece naming three United players (plus two more in the honorable mention category) out of ten in total as needing to do better.

While we’re here, I’ll throw in something I’ve been saying for months on Filibuster: how much of Ola Kamara’s woes last year were on him, and how much of it was United simply not creating the kind of service or circumstances that a player like him needs? Kamara has thrived on a team that stretched defenses out from touchline to touchline, and on a team where a huge name attracted all the defensive attention elsewhere. DCU didn’t do that last year, and fixing that is a huge factor for this coming season.

Black History Month: Tony the Tiger | Stars and Stripes FC
Modern United fans might not really remember Tony Sanneh, but he was a huge factor in the era where most of the club’s trophies were won, and then went on to be a major player in the USMNT’s best World Cup performance outside of 1930. You’ll hear from Donald tomorrow in this space, but you can hear from him right now and learn more about Sanneh.

Averie Collins Suffers Torn ACL, Will Miss the Start of the 2021 NWSL Season |
We reported this a little over a week ago, but the Washington Spirit have now confirmed Averie Collins has had successful surgery to repair her ACL. Note the verbiage chosen here: “will miss the start,” not “will miss the season.”

Richie Burke said early this month that the Spirit would be looking for a replacement for Collins up front, where she and Ashley Hatch are the only out-and-out strikers on the roster. Interestingly, though, they’re only about three months from being able to bring first round pick Tara McKeown — who opted to play for USC this spring — in. How’s McKeown doing, you might ask?

She scored their first goal of the season yesterday, and then struck again later from the spot in a wild 4-3 overtime win over Brigham Young. The Trojans have such a potent attack that if she stays healthy, she has a real chance to lead the NCAA in scoring.

Loudoun United re-signs 4 players for 2021 | Black and Red United
Staying local, Loudoun United continues to build out their roster, securing the return of four holdovers from last season and getting up to 12 players under contract.

And continuing to stay local, Maryland Bobcats FC released their 2021 home kit yesterday:

A strong sublimated pattern, and a rare instance where white and yellow are together in a way where the yellow (really goldenrod, and not gold) is bold enough to stand out from the white.

Knowing the Bobcats and Hummel, expect more than just an away in the near future.

Casey Stoney must unleash the Real Christen Press for Manchester United to hold onto a top-3 finish | All for XI
Christen Press is excellent, but at Manchester United there’s a stylistic mismatch in place here where they are almost entirely reliant on their high press to create chances, and that they want to play Press as a center forward rather than on the left, where she was in unstoppable form before her move. The result? Press hasn’t torn up the WSL in the way you would expect, and the Red Devils can’t seem to connect with her (the experience of watching them pass to Press and not offer her useful runs is, compared to watching most NWSL teams, frustrating).

Anyway that’s my brief take, but you’re gonna want to check out André getting much deeper into the data and stylistic issues at play here.

I think I’ve said enough, so let’s wrap it up. Here’s hoping today isn’t so gray and dreary!